As psychotherapy and counselling gradually lose their stigmas and the public begins to accept the benefits they can bring to a wide range of people, the number of people utilizing the services continues to rise.
Although qualified psychotherapists are treating more and more patients, they never lose sight of the fact that each one is different and has their own needs or goals. However, while the treatment is always tailored to the individual in question, there is a foundation of habits that good psychotherapists should form.
Giving a solid base from which to help each patient receive the best treatment for their own particular issues, anyone providing counselling services should already have cultivated these habits. And, like all habits, the ones that help your psychotherapist to help you should happen without being thought about.
If a psychotherapist is to help a patient achieve their goals, they have to know exactly how to put them at ease. The main component of this is nurturing trust, although this can be broken down into two further components.
For a patient to trust their psychotherapist, they have to know that everything said is done so in complete confidence. Nobody who has sought the help of a counsellor will open up if they fear their issues will be discussed elsewhere.
On top of the confidentiality aspect, anyone providing psychotherapy has to think about the patient’s psychological security. Past events may have shaped internal safety mechanisms that prevent the patient from opening up. By ascertaining if this is true of a patient and being careful not to trigger it, a psychotherapist can help minimize the chance of any progress being lost.
To help themselves to help their patients overcome their issues, the habits of complete confidentiality and a constant awareness of any negative triggers should be formed by those providing psychotherapy.
A major aspect of successful psychotherapy treatment is the real feelings of support a patient gets from their counsellor. In layman’s terms, another habit a psychotherapist should develop is of becoming an emotional rock for their clients.
One part of this is an unflinching robustness. For a patient to feel their psychotherapist can provide the support they need, they have to believe they can throw anything at them. Clients who are unsure how a counsellor may react to certain issues may not wish to bring them up. Understanding that they will remain emotionally solid, even in the face of highly negative scenarios, will help a client feel at ease discussing even their darkest issues.
Another habit that a counsellor should form to help their clients feel supported is to display the courage to stand beside them in their moments of turmoil. Understanding their patients is one thing, but those offering counselling services should make it clear they are on their patients’ side, no matter what the issue is.
Being an immovable emotional punchbag is a habit every psychotherapist should develop, but they do also need to become an ally at the same time.
Of course, while trust and emotional solidity are key parts of good psychotherapy practice, the major aspect of any counselling services is the words spoken. For the psychotherapist, there are two verbal habits that should be formed.
The first is concerned with wisdom. For the client to take as much as possible from the sessions, seeing the counsellor as something akin to a mentor can help greatly.
To this end, the wisdom gained through experience of both life and of psychotherapy sessions is always welcomed. Aside from nurturing the levels of trust, imparting wise words on life in general can help the patient to improve theirs. However, psychotherapists must be careful not to allow personal opinions to creep into the habit of giving worldly advice.
Aside from words of wisdom, those providing psychotherapy services can also develop the habit of using humor in their sessions where appropriate. As humans, we all use humor in different ways. However, as respite from the darkness of emotional issues, it can be a powerful tool, even if only temporarily.
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