First, they let you know that they are interested in you and in what is troubling you. Think about the last time you were seated next to someone you didn't know at a dinner party. Did that person ask you questions about yourself or did they talk about him or herself? A person who is genuinely interested in you makes you want to talk to them and makes you feel that they care about what you are saying. Therapists do this in many ways: by being attentive (not answering the phone, pagers, or checking email), by asking relevant questions (not just "name, age, serial number" type questions), by demonstrating that they're listening (following up on things that were said a few minutes ago, remembering details) and by making eye contact.
• Second, they let you know that they have a sense of how difficult or sad or painful your problem is to you. People who enter therapy are usually in some sort of pain. They're depressed, getting divorced, recently unemployed, worried, and their therapists have to let them know that they understand this. Sometimes, therapists show this in their facial expressions, but actively making empathic remarks is essential to building the therapeutic alliance. Therapists shouldn't be afraid to show some feelings -- wooden statues are for tobacco stores, not therapy offices.
• Finally, they give you a good sense that they understand something about the trouble that brought you to therapy. You may ask, "How can a therapist understand my problems when it's the beginning of the treatment? We've just met!" This is true, but good therapists should be able to understand something -- even from the get-go. They may not yet fully understand why you have the difficulties you have, but they should be able to understand things like the nature of the problem and the issues involved, and they should be able to communicate that understanding to you.
How do you know if you and your therapist have a good therapeutic alliance? Ask yourself, do I feel comfortable talking to my therapist? Am I able to talk freely in sessions? Do I feel relieved after I've been there? Do I want to go back? You don't have to feel that your therapist has all the answers, but you should have a sense that he or she is trying to understand and is on your side. If you have a good coach, the feeling that you have at the end of a practice is that you'd worked hard and that you will continue that work the next time -- together. If you have a good alliance with your therapist, you'll have that same feeling at the end of your sessions -- perhaps with a little less sweat and a little more hope.hope it helps :) best my answer :)
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