Negative Therapist Characteristics
Have you ever wondered why you didn’t connect with your counselor? Or, maybe you did connect but something went wrong and therapy didn’t work? Every therapist/client relationship with have disagreements or ‘breaks’. After all, it is a relationship, subject to all the same stuff as every relationship, but some factors on the part of the therapist have been shown to be problematic. Here are some reasons why therapists fail to maintain a strong therapeutic alliance with their clients:
1. Intrusive behaviors – the therapist imposes his/her own views, makes irrelevant comments, uses inappropriate techniques (Hartley and Strupp 1983).
2. Personality characteristics – the therapist is very rigid, self-focused, critical, or uninvolved (Marmer et al 1989)
3. Attributes that make it hard to connect – the therapist is exploitative, critical, moralistic, defensive, or lacking warmth or respect. (Eaton et al 1993).
4. General problems – the therapist is not confident, is bored, tired, blaming or unsupportive.
In more than 25 years of teaching new therapists, I can safely say that these are not common characteristics to find in your therapist. In the hundreds and hundreds of students with whom I worked, maybe there were a few who belonged in some other field. Generally, you will find that people who go into the counseling, field are warm, interested, supportive, involved, not blaming and on your side. They are invested in your well-being and have no personal stake in the outcome of your situation (other than mental health) so you have the opportunity to forge a somewhat unusual, but rewarding relationship.
There’s a good therapist in this mystery...