A number of the clients I see will come in for their first therapy session and will share their previous therapy experiences with me. Experiences in which they felt uncomfortable and unwilling to open up to their therapist, so they felt wary of trying therapy again. Today I want to take the time to talk about signs of effective treatment. More specifically, what is most important for people in their therapeutic journey.

What are some signs of effective treatment?

The most important quality is the Therapeutic Alliance. The relationship between therapist and Client. In order for treatment to be effective, the client must be able to feel as if they are ‘heard’, ‘gotten’ and ‘seen’. They must feel that their therapist is competent in displaying empathy and takes the time to really make sure they are understanding of their client’s experience. 

Another very important factor is trust. The client needs to feel as if she or he can fully trust their therapist. We need to feel as if we can share openly with our therapist and not feel the need to hold back in fear of our innermost pain being shunned in any way.

Effective treatment is also elevated when our therapist has done “their own work”. Have they engaged in their own therapy in order to work through their own personal traumas and biases? It is very easy to be triggered by our client’s stories and experiences if we have not done our own healing around those topics.  Does the therapist continue with their own therapy either regularly or occasionally at least?

This is helpful all around for the Therapeutic Alliance and for the overall success of the client’s healing.

As therapists, if we are able to keep our own triggers at bay, we can be “more present” with our client’s and they will feel that.

Frequency of Appointments is Important!

Another important factor in effective treatment is that at least at the beginning of therapy, the client maintains their frequency with their appointments. If they can attend at least 6-8 weeks in a row at first when they are experiencing increased states of anxiety or depression, this is beneficial for them. We need to build on the growth and momentum that we have begun to develop in the first few sessions. If they attend every 3-4 weeks at that point, it is difficult to begin the strong momentum of healing.

This could be a very lengthy discussion if we wanted to go deeper but I feel that if somebody were to be curious about, “What are the signs of effective treatment?”, the above points would be the most significant, in my opinion.

If you feel that you would benefit from a therapist such as I have described above, please contact me for your complimentary consultation at Psychotherapy with Sehlley.