When clinical trials compare the effectiveness of different therapeutic schools and approaches, the results are very interesting.
Many studies have concluded that the difference in effectiveness between psychological therapies is minimal, however, when you examine the data* it’s clear that this result is produced by the mean and that there are clear differences in effectiveness between different therapists, regardless of which therapy they practice. The way an individual therapist practices is more important than the approach to therapy they were trained in so, if you are seeking an effective therapist, it’s crucial to understand what to look out for.
This checklist, drawn up by ETSI, will help you and people you know protect yourselves from potentially harmful types of therapy and counselling.
An effective counsellor or therapist
— knows how to build rapport quickly with distressed people
— understands depression and how to lift it
— helps immediately with anxiety problems including trauma or fear related symptoms
— is prepared to give advice if needed or asked for
— will not use jargon or ‘psychobabble’ or tell you that counselling or psychotherapy has to be ‘painful’
— will not dwell unduly on the past
— will be supportive when difficult feelings emerge, but will not encourage people to get emotional beyond the normal need to ‘let go’ of any bottled up feelings
— may assist you to develop your social skills so that your needs for affection, friendship, pleasure, intimacy, connection to the wider community etc. can be better fulfilled
— will help you to draw and build on your own resources (which may prove greater than you thought)
— will be considerate of the effects of counselling on the people close to you
— may teach you to relax deeply
— may help you think about your problems in new and more empowering ways
— uses a wide range of techniques as appropriate
— may ask you to do things between sessions
— will take as few sessions as possible
— will increase your self confidence and independence and make sure you feel better after every consultation.
(* see Okiishi, J. Lambert, M. Neilsen, S. and Ogles, B (2003) Waiting for Supershrink: an empirical analysis of therapist effects. Journal of Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy. 10 361-373. for abstract click here)
Posted by – Eleanor