People have struggled with mental health concerns forever and only in the recent past has talk therapy, or counseling, been a formalized practice of support. Whether or not you have engaged in counseling before, you might have asked yourself at some point: how does it work?
Dr. Carl Rogers theorized that the relationship between an individual and their counselor, called therapeutic alliance, is one of the most important factors in affecting positive psychological change.
The therapeutic alliance made with a counselor establishes a trusting relationship, helping people stay engaged on the road to recovery.
Three factors in establishing a therapeutic alliance
An effective counseling relationship is built on being able to work together to achieve the desired outcomes. This comes from people being the experts in their own life circumstances and experiences, alongside the counselor’s expertise on the factors that impact mental health and tools to create positive change.
2. Relational Bond.
Counseling relationships are built on mutual respect and understanding. Both the counselor and individual should feel they each have what is in the best interest of his or her well-being in mind. If the individual perceives that a counselor is not supporting their overall well-being they may feel frustration with the entire process.
3. Goals and Task Agreement
An individual and their counselor must agree on the goals for their counseling sessions. Every counselor will utilize their assessment of the individual’s specific situation to help establish appropriate goals and associated tasks to achieve those goals. If they cannot agree on the goals and tasks, the ability to achieve positive counseling outcomes is diminished.
Don't Wait to Create the Connection
The counselor-client relationship is undoubtedly complex. Counselors have years of training and experience that help them navigate these complexities, but there isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution for creating an effective therapeutic alliance. Reaching your therapeutic goals can be a difficult and complex process and finding the right counselor is an essential part of the process. If you are hesitating because you are concerned a counselor might not be a good fit, our intake process takes great care to match individuals with the right counselor. If you find that your counselor is not a good fit for you and your situation, we will work with you to find another option that meets your needs.
We Can Help
Contact us online, at 800.383.1908 (for EAP Members) or 877.731.3949 (Physician Well-Being Members), to get started with counseling today. As a part of your VITAL WorkLife resources, you have access to counseling anytime—day or night. VITAL WorkLife is also here to support you in whatever stressors may be impacting you at home or work.