The relationship you have with your therapist is paramount: research shows over and again that the critical active ingredient in the success of talking cures is the relationship between patient and therapist.
First and foremost, your therapist should offer a confidential, comfortable, private setting where you can feel secure. A place which facilitates the development of trust.
It’s perhaps not that well known, but the title of Psychotherapist is not protected. So, for your peace of mind, your Psychotherapist should be registered with a regulatory body, such as the UK Council for Psychotherapy, which is accredited by the Professional Standards Authority for Health and Social Care. This ensures that your Psychotherapist has undergone a comprehensive clinical training (of a minimum of four years, to at least postgraduate level) and that they are appropriately monitored, insured and supervised. It means that they subscribe to a recognized Code of Ethics as well, and keep their training up-to-date.
Furthermore, it means that should you have a problem with your Psychotherapist at any time, there is a regulatory body with whom you can raise your concerns, and who will find a way forward with you.
Some questions you may want to ask yourself:
- Are you being offered regular sessions, in the same room, and is it private?
- Are you clear what your contract is with your therapist?
- Are you treated with respect?
- Does your therapist maintain boundaries?
- Are you listened to carefully and responded to constructively?
It is likely to be to your benefit to meet with at least a couple of Psychotherapists before making a decision. A reputable Psychotherapist will usually offer an initial exploratory session with no further obligation, so you can get your questions answered, and get a sense of whether the relationship will work for you.