People often underestimate the importance of the connection they have with their clinician. Instead, they focus on finding a convenient appointment time or they don’t give the relationship enough time to develop. But studies have demonstrated that it is the quality of the therapeutic alliance that can really drive outcomes and enhance the quality of the feedback your clinician is able to provide to you.
In simpler terms, it’s about how well you connect with your clinician. In order to achieve that success, we take a long-term approach to therapy at Happier Living.
Think of it as the difference between a friend who has been in your life for 20-plus years and another who is more of an acquaintance, somebody you’ve only recently met. If you want to share a story and are looking for feedback, who would you choose? Your friend who has known you for 20 years or the one you have only known for two months? They may both have useful insights and can provide helpful responses or feedback. But the person who has known you for decades is going to provide you much more tangible feedback. It is based on really knowing you and therefore probably more valuable than the feedback from the person who has only known you for a couple of months.
Now imagine this in the context of therapy. If you have a really solid connection and relationship with the person with whom you are working, you are much more likely to feel comfortable disclosing personal information and to be more open to receiving critical feedback.
But to get to that point takes time – and it also takes time to find the right person. It is important to remember that you are not going to connect with everyone, and there is nothing unusual about that. Sometimes the first person you see will not be the right fit. (The good news is that Happier Living makes it easy to switch. You simply contact client support and they can arrange for you to try someone else.)
Eventually, you will find the person who is right for you. Everyone has unique requirements for their clinician. Some people might connect better with a clinician who tends to be vocal and provides a lot of feedback. For others, it might be someone whose approach tends to be more reticent. Demographics can even play a role. Maybe you feel most comfortable with someone who looks and sounds similar to you or you could want a totally different perspective. There are many options and many clinicians, and eventually, you will find the one who is right for you.
Just give it some time, the same way you would if you were going off to college or starting a new job. Just because the first person you meet isn’t someone you would be friends with, it doesn’t mean you give up. Instead, you continue to make the effort to establish relationships until you find people with whom you click.
You’ll know the connection is there if you feel like the feedback that the person gives you demonstrates that they understand your goals and can help develop a plan of action. You should also feel like they have an understanding of what your priorities are, what your goals are, the issues that you care about. You also want to feel like what they are saying resonates with what you shared.
Ready to get started? You can see our clinicians here.