Creating a Healthy Patient-Therapist Relationship

June 4, 2015 Tracey Lloyd

Creating a healthy patient-therapist relationship is critical to managing your recovery and wellness. If the patient-therapist relationship is healthy, a patient will feel comfortable sharing her thoughts and accepting advice. If it is lacking, a patient can feel alone and misunderstood, at best, mistreated, at worst. There are, however, ways to make sure your patient-therapist relationship is as healthy as possible.

The 3 Ingredients of Healthy Patient-Therapist Relationships

Honesty is Important

It almost goes without saying that therapy is not useful if you cannot be honest with your therapist . After all, if you do not share what bothers you, there is little chance of making it better. When preparing for therapy sessions, think about the aspects of your life and your disease that need the most outside help. Gather a picture of what you and your symptoms are like on a daily basis and share that with your therapist so that he or she understands your life. Tell him or her your true thoughts and feelings -- don't hold anything back. Remember that therapy sessions are your time to be selfish about getting help without providing anything in return.

Where you do have to provide your therapist something in return is feedback. If your patient-therapist relationship causes you concern or makes you anxious, talk about it. The key to any healthy relationship is to talk about the relationship itself. Tell your therapist if he or she makes you uncomfortable, be specific about when you feel that way. A good psychologist or social worker will help you explore why he or she triggers your feelings and will help you work through the difficulty.

Always Respect the Relationship

Mutual respect is another area of importance for the patient-therapist relationship. Although therapists are compensated for their services, and their job is to help us get and stay well, they are still people. Respect their time by showing up to appointments and by showing up on time. I am guilty of not following my own rules and of missing sessions without calling my therapist. I know that it is wrong, and my symptomology makes me shut down and shut out things that make me uncomfortable. As a result, I've missed opportunities to do good work, which has both aggravated my therapists and delayed my mental health recovery.

Since respect is a two-way street, make sure that your therapist respects you -- your boundaries, your preferences and your personal space. You have the right and responsibility to speak up to your therapist about things he or she does or says that make you uncomfortable. And you have the right to have your therapist amend his or her ways in order to accommodate you.

Communication is The Best Tool

The key to having a therapist that understands you is providing them with enough information to learn what makes you tick. And that means communicating, whether you're talking about your childhood or about how your therapist never looks at you directly. The therapeutic process is about feedback as much as diagnosis, so it's also important to hear what your therapist communicates to you. At the end of the day, everything that happens in your therapist's office is for your benefit. So make sure that you and your therapist are aligned on every part of your treatment plan.

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APA Reference
Lloyd, T. (2015, June 4). Creating a Healthy Patient-Therapist Relationship, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 18 from

Author: Tracey Lloyd

March, 31 2016 at 8:53 am

This is great information. Building a relationship with your therapist is needed to get to a point of being healthy mentally. But how to build a healthy relationship can be the tough part. This gives a really good idea of what to do. Thanks for sharing this information!

Dorcas Nduati
June, 9 2015 at 11:50 pm

Yes communication is vital for you and the therapist period. Talking our of experience.

joseph muita
June, 7 2015 at 8:23 pm

There are several types of therapists who should be avoided from the outset, because their own nature itself inhibits healing connection with clients. Beware of therapists who are interested more in their own insights than in helping clients, who offer intellectual insights only, have a major life problem as yet unresolved, are drained of energy by their own unresolved depression, try to hold onto clients forever, or are themselves immature and take everything personally.

June, 4 2015 at 4:50 am

How did you come up with this advice?

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