While it’s true that therapy can be an effective treatment for many different mental health problems, it’s also true that in order for someone to reap the full benefits of therapy, collaboration between the therapist and the patient is necessary. An article posted on Medical News Today titled “Getting the most out of your therapy: How to collaborate with your therapist”, touched on a few key steps to take in order to establish a collaborative relationship with your therapist.
1) If you feel as though your therapist is “off-course” with his/her approach or treatment suggestions, be direct; discuss your concerns with your therapist right away. Therapists are human and therefore subject to make errors in judgment just like the rest of us.
2) If your therapist makes a suggestion you don’t like, such as a medication or treatment you don’t agree with, make sure to get all the information about the suggestion before completely discounting it.
3) Once your therapist’s suggestions have been completely laid out, if you still don’t agree, you may have the option to invite a second therapist into the sessions to act as a consultant. This consultant would work with the primary therapist and yourself in order to establish a more collaborative relationship. Once the conflict is resolved, the consultant would discontinue coming to the sessions and you and your therapist will continue working together.
This article points out that while leaving one therapist for another is always an option, it may be discouraging to have to start over with a new therapist, especially if a significant amount of time has been put in to establish the patient/therapist relationship, so it’s best to try and reconcile the communication problems rather than start all over with another therapist.