Choosing the right therapist

The Effective Therapist:

  • Is well trained and skilled and thus capable of understanding the dynamics of the patient’s difficulties
  • Is sufficiently sensitive to perceive what is happening in the therapeutic relationship
  • Is aware of his/her own feelings and capable of remaining objective irrespective of the attitudes and behavior of the patient
  • Is flexible in his/her approach to the patient
  • Has the capacity for empathy toward the patient and is emotionally connected with him/her
  • Displays appropriate respect, patience, and a collaborative spirit
  • Is capable of being firm when needed
  • Is psychologically well-adjusted and capable of gaining satisfaction for his/her own basic needs
  • Is capable of tolerating the expression of various impulses by the patient and not threatened by behavior reflecting assertiveness and self-determination
  • Is able to tolerate the inevitable failures and frustration inherent in the therapeutic process
  • Feels personally secure
  • Is capable of giving the patient support in accordance with his/her needs without being overprotecting or over-domineering

The Ineffective Therapist:

  • Is confused about the existing dynamics of the patient’s illness
  • Is not well-trained and lacks skills therefore may go “fishing” for information without a clear theory to support his questions
  • Is insensitive to what is going on within the patient and within the therapeutic relationship
  • Is incapable of maintaining adequate objectivity
  • Is inflexible in his/her approach to the patient and needs to follow his own agenda
  • Lacks empathy toward the patient and is emotionally detached
  • Is anxious and domineering
  • Is passive and submissive
  • Tends to utilize the patient and the therapy hour for his/her own emotional gratification
  • Is not capable of tolerating the expression of various impulses by the patient, such as sexuality or hostility, and is threatened by the patient’s assertive behavior
  • Is unable to tolerate blows to his/her self-esteem or failures and frustrations during the therapeutic hour
  • Has a high need to be liked and a strong tendency toward perfectionism. Lacks creativity and humor, and is unable to take criticism or to acknowledge self-limitations
  • Is unable to extend support or unconditional positive regard to the patient