Possible To Save Therapeutic Relationship?

By Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW

Is it ever a positive healing experience to return to therapy with a past long term alliance to resolve feelings of complicated grief and obtain closure? Is it not possible that BOTH therapist and client (i am presently still in treatment w/ another therapist after this devastating rupture, dealing primarily with the dissonance and heartbreak associated w/ this past treatment of 4 and one half years) have grown and changed through the impasse and dissolution? Is repair and further relationship growth and maturity possible if the unmanaged issues are readdressed?

A. I’m not certain that I understand your question. Are you asking whether a therapeutic relationship that has been disrupted because of transference issues can be corrected? The answer is that it depends on both the therapist and the client. How much did the incident damage the relationship? How interested are the parties in returning to the therapeutic relationship? How invested are the individuals involved in repairing the relationship? These are general questions that would need to be answered so that I might better understand your question. I also would be interested in knowing the opinion of your past therapist about resuming your therapy with him or her.

If you would like to write back and further explain your question or answer the questions that I posed I may be able to give you a more specific and complete response. Thank you for your question and I look forward to a followup response.

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 22 Apr 2010

APA Reference
Randle, K. (2010). Possible To Save Therapeutic Relationship?. Psych Central. Retrieved on December 22, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2010/04/22/possible-to-save-therapeutic-relationship/