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The Importance of a Therapeutic Relationship

by | May 8, 2024

There is something so powerful and healing about a therapy room.

It’s a space where we learn to heal our wounds, a space where our stories are told and explored, and a space where we truly show up for ourselves amongst life’s turbulence.

As a mental health therapist, I’ve had the privilege of engaging in the therapeutic rhythm that is the therapeutic relationship between counselor and client. This relationship has a transformative power in the healing process, which I have witnessed many times. Just like any typical relationship the growth begins with rapport, which is crucial to the therapeutic alliance. Rapport is more than just a “therapy term” tossed around within the room, it’s the essential foundation on which the therapeutic alliance is built. It is a foundation guided by empathy, trust, and mutual understanding. You may be wondering how rapport is even built, and why it seems to be crucial in the realm of therapy. Well today, we are going to explore that together. 

Establishing Therapeutic Rapport

Rapport is all about meeting each other half way, providing a safe space where client and therapist come together as their pure authentic selves.

It is a space where vulnerability can take center stage.

This allows clients to feel as if they’re confiding in, talking to, and processing feelings with a confidant and not a complete stranger. Your therapist can be your biggest cheerleader and will hold space to be a compassionate lister of your deepest truths without condemnation or judgement.

Rapport building begins with listening. As a therapist we will tune into our client’s worlds – their emotions, words, body language, and stories no matter how messy or complex they may feel or be. A therapist wants nothing more than to truly hear and validate a client’s experience. 

While listening sets the foundation of rapport building between a therapist and client, it isn’t the end all be all. Rapport at its core is focused on creating mutual respect and an authentic connection. How does one do that? By truly showing up as themselves and normalizing the difficulty of life. A therapist is also a soul walking alongside their clients through life, they understand human emotion and experiences – so through shared tears to shared laughter, those moments of human connection create that irreplaceable bond. 

The reasons the therapeutic alliance is so successful and empowering is because as a therapist we ensure that we are showing up as our authentic selves. We show up genuine, with our flaws and all because we expect the same from our clients. A therapist doesn’t assume you’ll let your guard down and open up if they aren’t also showing up truly in that same space. With this comes clear and healthy communication, this open dialog allows for transparency and trust to flourish. There will always be bumps along the road, whether that is cultural differences or personal boundaries, if the rapport is built then with open communication that will not hinder the work done in the room. 

Again, rapport is at the core of healing. It is one of the single most important factors of a client’s journey in therapy. With this, know that if you choose to start your therapy journey, you are walking into a room with a therapist who wants to meet you where you are. They want to learn the mess of life and the stories that make you, you. They want to build that incomparable connection with you. If you’re nervous about how to build rapport or what it even looks like, just know it is fueled by authenticity, empathy, and the magic of human connection. That alone can be empowering. Don’t hesitate to start your healing journey  

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About Brooke | View Profile

Brooke is a psychotherapist who specializes in helping clients dealing with difficult life transitions, symptoms of anxiety or depression, and LGBTQ+-related issues. She practices a collective and modern approach to mental health counseling, which is rooted in genuineness and vulnerability.

We offer in-person and virtual services – contact us today to learn more!

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