The Therapeutic Relationship...
Contacting a counsellor and going along to that first session can be quite an anxiety-provoking experience; opening up and talking about the things that are on your mind and worrying you to a complete stranger is daunting. You may be feeling quite vulnerable and hold a belief that the therapist is more powerful in some way.
I meet a lot of people who have experienced counselling in the past and they often comment that it was not helpful. One of the biggest reasons for this is a lack of connection between the therapist and client, with the client perhaps feeling misunderstood, uncomfortable and just not able to be themselves. This feeling of unease can be interpreted as evidence that it is counselling that is not effective rather than the relationship.
The therapeutic relationship is considered to be one of the main tools for achieving positive change. Although many counsellors will have received similar training, their personality and unique way of being will need to fit with you. This has been studied by counsellors, psychologists and psychotherapists over many years concluding that there are a few fundamental components in the establishment of a trusting, supportive relationship. If the relationship is strong, and likely to be effective, you will feel supported and understood, you will experience the counsellor as genuine and you will feel valued as a person.