The therapist-client counseling relationship is vital in achieving the objectives for client-centered therapy. Collaborative efforts between the client and the therapist help to create a framework upon which the therapeutic process can effectively achieve its objectives. The framework will help the client to tackle his problems and strengthen the client-therapist relationship. The client may extend the experience gained through various therapy sessions in other aspects of his life. This relationship typically goes through a break-and-make process as the client and the therapist try to understand each other. This process is recommended as it bonds and makes the client-therapist relationship stronger, leading to the conformity of the client. The role of self-disclosure is to create a mutual understanding between the client and the therapist on what to expect at the end of the session, how to achieve the results, and the creation of a good rapport between the therapist and the client (Prochaska & Norcross, 2007). The therapist relates to the client his personal experiences regarding a similar problem and the appropriate way to solve the problem. Self-disclosure establishes an agreement between the client and the therapist regarding the appropriate procedure that will facilitate the realization of desired results when the therapeutic process ends. The client presents the issues that he wants addressed.
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The trust and confidence that develops through self-disclosure creates a bond between the two parties and introduces enthusiasm regarding the attainment of the objectives of the therapeutic process. Maintaining boundaries in the therapist-client counseling is important. This fosters trust and confidence between the client and the therapist. The client will appreciate the kindness and understanding by the therapist, who does not look down upon the client despite his status. The willingness by the therapist to listen to the client without challenging his emotions, acts and behavior will have the effect of restraining the therapist from interrupting the client as he speaks, avoid passing judgment on the client and avoid providing unnecessary pieces of advice to the client. Maintaining professional boundaries also makes the relationship between the client and the therapist more relaxed and free. The therapist can use his personal experience during a therapy session to aid in the finding of the solution to a problem that the client is facing (Prochaska & Norcross, 2007). The therapist will also be able to accept the client despite his mental and physical status and seek to understand more about the client throughout the session.
A clients resistance may result from misunderstandings between him and the therapist during the therapeutic process. The client may feel that the therapist does not understand his state and that the therapist is hostile. This could cause the client to resist active participation in the activities that the therapist organizes during a therapy session and fail to concentrate on what the therapist is saying. This scenario prompts the therapist to go back to the drawing board and reevaluate the rules concerning the client-therapist relationship as established at the onset of the therapeutic process. The role of the party, the therapist’s acknowledgment of the clients concerns, and the creation of a consensus that fosters the continuity of the client’s therapy will eventually rebuild the trust and confidence required in the achievement of the set goals. The client’s resistance can also help the therapist to remodel questions concerning the client so that he can ask them in the best way possible to encourage the client to share his emotions and thoughts. This eventually makes the client open up and share his experience.
Transference in the therapist-client counseling relationship involves the client redirecting his resentment against other people. These could be a parent, spouse, relative, or friend from the client’s childhood. The therapist could also be a victim of such resentments. The client’s attitude during the therapy session should serve as a guiding tool for the therapist in designing and implementing appropriate strategies for the therapeutic process. This will boost the therapist’s efforts in revealing the unresolved issues concerning the client. The therapist is able to give meaning and interpretation to the transference that, in turn will aid the client in understanding their psychological problem. On the other hand, countertransference involves the therapist redirecting his emotions towards the client. This approach gives the therapist on overview of the client’s thoughts and the therapist will gauge his emotions and control such feelings through the therapist-client counseling relationship. The therapist will also know the difficulties the client faces in his attempts to relate with other people. When all the ground rules are set and there is a consensus regarding tasks, procedures and objectives of the therapy, the session commences and the client progressively begins to appreciate the effects of the therapy (Prochaska & Norcross, 2007). The only negative context that may inhibit growth and progress in the therapist-client counseling relationship could be the inability of the therapist to be modest with the client and as a result provoke or attempt to arouse the feelings of the client intensely. The client may develop emotions that can disrupt the rapport already created during the past therapy sessions.
The client can compound this negativity further if the therapist responds angrily towards the client’s response regarding the therapeutic process. This can inhibit growth and progress in the counseling session by the client refusing to participate in the tasks suggested by the therapist. Thus, trust and unity diminishes as each of the parties attempts to take control of the process. The client inwardly doubts the interest of the therapist in restoring his mental and physical wellbeing. He may think that the therapist does not want to help him and that the therapist’s main concern is to know more about the client’s problems. As a result, the client may resolve not to follow the therapeutic guidelines laid down by the therapist. Consequently, the therapist will be unable to assess their impact on the client and could respond harshly and further worsen the negative context. To address such a problem, both the client and the therapist should reach a consensus and revise, restructure and understand their roles in the therapeutic process (Prochaska & Norcross, 2007). Once they have eliminated the stalemate in the therapy process, each party can undertake its role in a more acceptable way that will not compromise the relationship between the therapist and the client, but instead rebuild their trust, confidence and respect for each other. The perception by the therapist regarding the client as a person who has failed in life, can cause interfere with the therapeutic process and inhibit the growth and progress of the therapy. The therapist should consider such sentiments as part the problem and focus on helping the client to overcome the challenges facing him.
Prochaska, J.O & Norcross, J.C. (2007). Systems of Psychotherapy: A Trans-Theoretical Analysis. Thompson Books/Cole: New York.