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Hand in hand

I recently spoke with a very seasoned therapist about the role of the therapist in the therapeutic process- is it to witness and contain, to observe and accompany or to help facilitate change?
Should transformation come only as a result of the individual reaching insight on their own, or can the therapist take a more active role?
There are recent peer-reviewed studies showing that the outcome of therapy is very closely tied to therapists' characteristics, much more than to the type of therapeutic modality (like CBT, DBT, etc.). "Interestingly, more effective psychiatrists, meeting regularly with patients, achieve better outcomes administering a placebo than do less effective psychiatrists administering antidepressant medication (McKay, Imel, & Wampold, 2006)!"1
Among the qualities found to be necessary for effective therapists is creating an alliance that is steeped in empathy, collaboration, optimism and hope. Beyond the research, I believe that most individuals seeking help are interested in having an involved therapist who takes an active part in their journey, rather than one who is mostly accompanying the process.
My approach is based on following the individual's stated purpose, offering empathetic listening, suggesting strategies, and embarking on in-depth explorations- to the client's comfort level. I believe that asking permission to walk down a specific path, checking in, and asking for feedback on the process are respectful ways of offering support. Hopefully, my clients benefit and grow from our therapeutic relationship. 









1 Wampold, B. E. [N.D.] Qualities and Actions of  Effective Therapists: Research Suggests That Certain Psychotherapist Characteristics are Key to Successful Treatment, American Psychological Association. Retrieved from https://www.apa.org/education/ce/effective-therapists.pdf

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