"How can I get back my connection and trust with my therapist? She made a mistake in our last session and I feel really let down and disconnected from her very suddenly."
As a mental health therapist I appreciate questions like this, thank you for asking! This question reveals a lot about you as the client and your willingness to engage in the therapeutic process. The desire to work through this issue with your therapist demonstrates an outstanding commitment to your recovery. As a therapist I encourage the opportunity to process this type of experience with my clients.
During the course of our training as mental health professionals we are taught that 70% of therapy's effectiveness is the result of the therapeutic relationship.
The relationships with your therapist determines 70% of treatment success!
This means that the style, orientation, approach, and interventions that the therapist uses are less important than how you feel toward your therapist while working with them. In as such it is important to feel “safe” enough in the therapeutic relationship to address your concerns with your therapist.
As a therapist I can assure you that I have made several mistakes in session with my clients including forgetting relevant details, scheduling errors, making off colored jokes or statements, misunderstanding my clients, talking too much about myself, or being situationally or culturally insensitive. With that being said, in situations like this and when appropriate I apologize to my clients!
Addressing your concerns with your therapist is a good opportunity to build self-confidence and self-esteem. In sharing your feelings of disappointment and disconnection you are given the opportunity to practice healthy relationship skills, learn more about yourself, and determine whether your therapist is a good fit for you.
In psychoanalytic and psychodynamic therapies the therapeutic relationship is often used as a surrogate relationship for the client to confront aspects of trauma that they were once unable to. As an Object Relations Therapist (eclectically) I recognize that the therapeutic relationship is the most important part of the therapeutic process and the relationship with your therapist is somehow symbolic of your experience in other close or intimate relationships.
I truly believe, if you were hurt in the context of relationships then that is where you are going to find healing.
In Object Relations Therapy, the therapeutic relationship is used as the mechanism for change with the goal of building a healthier, more adaptive relationships. Authenticity and assertiveness is essential in object relations work and clients are encouraged to share their thoughts, feelings, beliefs, and attitudes about the therapist, the therapeutic relationship, and their personal experience in the relationship.
The primary goal of Object Relations Therapy is to improve interpersonal functioning and explore ways to engage with others that lead to healthier, more successful relationships. Object Relations therapists are aware that the absence of secure and trusting relationships lead to patterns of unhealthy behavior.
If there is limited or an absence of trust in the therapeutic relationship the client will not experience meaningful change.
If you are a client who has experienced this type of situation it is imperative that you share your feelings with your treatment provider. Not only will you get the opportunity to assess the therapist’s willingness to accept responsibility but you will also be able to advocate for yourself and your needs. Ultimately, it is necessary to disclose your feelings with your therapist in order to regain trust or repair the relationship.
Raquel Buchanan is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in Palm Springs, Ca. Raquel specializes in building self confidence and self esteem in people who have experienced childhood abuse. Raquel offers client-centered therapy and values authentic human connection, her therapy style is a reflection of that. Raquel is a content creator on quora.com and is a featured writer in the Quora Daily Digest. This featured blog post was originally published in November 2020 as a part of Raquel’s participation on quora.com.
Raquel Buchanan is a mental health profession in southern California who blogs about life and relationships. Raquel is on a mission to spread awareness about the impact of violence, abuse, and trauma. The information contained on this site is for entertainment purposes only and should not be used as a substitute for professional assistance. Contents contained in these blogs are based on true stories or the experiences of several several people and are fictional. Identifying information has been changed to protect the anonymity and confidentiality of therapy patients.