3 qualities of a Good Therapist

Counselling is a form of talk therapy that aims at empowering an individual. There are different types of therapies that a counsellor can apply. In our sessions, we follow the Rogerian approach founded by the eminent Psychologist Carl Rogers. This is also known as Person-centered therapy which states that if an individual is provided with a safe, empathetic environment to share his problems, healing becomes conducive.

Qualities that a therapist needs to have:

  1. Empathetic : Counsellor should have the ability to look at things from another person’s perspective. This is at times challenging. If I have to see things from the perspective of an elderly person I might not have the experience of being at that age. If I have to think like a guy, it’s difficult given that I have been a girl all my life.
Despite these challenges, the focus of a therapist needs to be on entering the person’s world and trying to see things from his/her perspective.

2. Non-judgemental : Sometimes, the client might have done something that strongly goes against the belief system of the therapist. Despite that, the therapist can not judge the client as it will result in the client feeling threatened. When a person is judged for what he has done, the energy is quite easily picked up by the person under the radar. He will most probably stop sharing information. That will defeat the purpose of therapy.

A person who comes in for counselling is already being judged in the outside world. He doesn’t need the same from a therapist.

3. Congruent (or Genuine) : It’s important for the therapist to be genuine and not say things he does not mean. That will be sensed by the client and will affect the rapport they share. This is like hearing knowledge that sounds bookish and not what the person really means. For example, I had a friend who said that her therapist always had a fake smile on her face. I can imagine that other thoughts around the the person will follow the same lead. It’s hard to look up to a non-genuine person for help.

Congruency is required in what the therapist thinks, feels, says and does.

The Therapist needs to maintain confidentiality of session details at all times (except in case of suspected harm to self or others)

Points mentioned above affect the very foundation of a relationship between a client and a therapist. The foundation is called rapport. It is the basis of any healing that can possibly take place in a session.

Resistance on part of a client is a lack of rapport.

If rapport is established between you and your therapist, in all probability the qualities described so far are not being violated. Stay tuned with your counsellor as rapport is something rare and not worth losing. Some focus is required though to ensure that the therapist is not being too suggestive of what you should do and is helping you evaluate your options for yourself. After all, nobody understands your world better than you.