The relationship between a therapist and client is a professional and unequal relationship. It is highly personal for the client and not so for the therapist.
The client reveals secrets and highly personal and private details of their life experience and childhood; the therapist maintains boundaries and self-discloses carefully if at all. The client needs re-parenting; the therapist is the parental surrogate. The client needs to be emotionally held as children do; the therapist does the holding. The client needs to be seen, heard and witnessed; the therapist sees, hears and witnesses. The client presents issues; the therapist assesses these issues and offers interpretations of them that often connect to childhood history and trauma. The client is the student; the therapist is the teacher and can confront and guide the client into a deeper understanding of self. The client works to a deeper insight into self and behavior; the therapist facilitates this growth. The client grows, stays stuck or quits; the therapist lives separately from the client and though saddened if a client is stuck or quits realizes this is a choice of the client. The therapist may be influenced by the client’s issues and growth, but ideally remains detached from them. The therapist realizes as much as they root for the client, it is up to the client to do the work and grow. The therapist has a separate life that should be of more interest to the therapist than the life of the client. The therapist continues to work on his/her issues to be of value to the client.
What makes a good therapist?
Good therapists have healed their own childhood issues and have evolved into enlightened adulthood. They have done the most profound inner work of all—they have healed their ancient childhood wounds. They have evolved into their true selves and work to manifest their gifts. They are universal beings and belong to life, nature and truth—not the limits of their upbringing or culture. Living out of their true selves allows them to interact with the client in a genuine and generous manner, since they understand human dynamics and defenses from a healed and universal perspective. They also empathize with the client since they have suffered similar traumas but have healed them which offers the client hope. These enlightened therapists are living examples of what a healed and manifested life is, since they practice what they preach. They know the theories and sound practices established in the conventional canon of human psychology and spirituality, but their greatest strength is the living example of their healed lives and the gifts and joy in living these enlightened therapists embody and manifest. Good therapists teach their clients self-therapy and work to get the client out of treatment and on their own. Good therapists will not abandon their clients, but be there as long as needed, but overall want their clients to grow up, leave treatment and be on their own.
What makes a bad therapist?
Bad therapists have not healed their childhood wounds. They practice from learned theories and not from healed and enlightened living. Bad therapists are like bad parents and exploit their client for their own needs, enjoying the power they hold over the client. Bad therapists withhold love and understanding and manipulate the client to fulfill their own unmet needs from childhood. Bad therapists induce dependency relationships in the client and misuse the power they hold over the client as their own parents misused their power over them. These bad therapists cannot teach or lead by example because they are not genuine, enlightened people themselves. Often they resent the growth in the client because it points out how stuck and emotional dead they are themselves. They keep the client infantilized, withholding approval and endorsement of the clients strengths so that the client will remain a dependent “child” and not abandon the “adult” therapist. Also, with a dependent client, the therapist insures an income flow no matter how unethical this may be.