Psychology can be alluring.
Its insights can help explain and make sense of people’s problems and provide structure to what can feel like chaos (to both clients and therapists). It can provide a sense of hope that there’s something ‘out there’ that could help people overcome their difficulties, achieve their goals and make changes.
So why then, as disparate as many therapies are, does it work?
The answer: the client.
Clients are the common factor across all theories. In fact, studies have suggested that up to 86% of change is attributable to you, the client….86%!
That is…your hopes…your relationships…your cultural resources…your expectancy of change…your views on the relationship with your therapist…your belief that the therapist can help you…your own resources…strengths…and resilience….and so on, all of this is what provides the fuel to make therapy work.
It’s not to do with the ‘expert’ therapist…as much as both parties may like to think it is!
I listen out for their resourcefulness as they continue to get through difficult situations, even if they cannot see it for themselves…yet.
I listen out for the strength of character that all clients are challenged to draw upon as they go through the dark night of the soul, even if they cannot see it for themselves…yet.
I tailor my approach to hear the stories of heroes. I get curious about their experience of every session, wanting to know what was helpful and what would be meaningfully better next time. I work with their theory of change – what they think needs to happen in each session, so they can move towards their goals. And I listen intently for any sign of change they make in their life that nudges them, even just a little, towards what they want most from our work together.
Clients are the heroes of their stories. My job is to help them take centre stage.