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  • Writer's picturePaul Olander

Exploring the Connection: The First Step in Therapy

When embarking on a therapeutic journey, a crucial first step is creating an open mutual connection. In this post, I want to delve more deeply into what this means and why it is vital to the process of healing and growth. The connection between a therapist and client can be a unique bond, built upon trust, respect, and mutual understanding. It is more than just a professional relationship; it's a safe space where you can expose your most profound vulnerabilities and fears without judgment or criticism. The safety and openness of this connection is what allows us to explore those parts of our inner subconscious selves that are often too complicated, painful or cloudy to navigate alone.

Establishing this kind of connection is not about being "friends" with your therapist or having someone who merely listens to or highlights your problems. Instead, it's about having a trusted guide by your side, someone who can assist you in compassionately understanding your thoughts and feelings, recognizing ineffective behavior patterns, and developing effective change strategies. It's about knowing you are in the presence of someone who is not only hearing your words but also actively listening to and understanding what you are communicating.

Creating an open connection in therapy involves active engagement from both sides. As your therapist, my role is to provide a welcoming, safe and caring environment where you can express your feelings freely. I am here to listen with empathy and respond with validation, understanding, and insight and I will check in with you as we progress to make sure I am hearing you accurately and that what we are doing is providing you with value. Your role is to participate as openly and honestly as you can. It may feel challenging to talk about some of your experiences, especially if you've spent a lifetime learning to avoid painful, troubling or confusing thoughts and emotions. At the same time, progress in therapy can only be as effective as the honesty and courage you can bring into the room. Your authenticity is not just appreciated…it's necessary.

The open connection described above forms the foundation for our work together. It is the bedrock upon which all subsequent therapeutic progress stands, from establishing clear values and intentions to integrating various clinical perspectives to move toward our targeted goals. It's important to remember that forming this connection takes time. While it may not happen in the first session, or even the second it's worth whatever time and effort is needed. Once established, our open connection becomes a transformational energy, enabling us to explore the contours of your emotional landscape safely and effectively.

Therapy is a journey on a path that leads towards compassionate understanding and effective action that aligns with true identity and values. Many wise minds have said “every great journey begins with a single step” and as we embark on our journey together, this first step will guide our progress and illuminate the path toward healing and growth.

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Telephone: 404 - 276 - 0034


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