In the past couple of years of doing therapy and coaching and assisting clients to overcome their challenges, it started to become more and more apparent to me that, like many, I have fallen into the trap of believing that the type of therapy I was using to assist my clients was THE best therapy out there and that no other therapeutic intervention could assist my clients as well as the methods I were using.
This uneasy feeling drove me to do research into the many different types of therapeutic and healing methodologies available. The following is what I have found…
Please keep in mind that these findings are my own opinion and based on information that I gained from the research that I did. Under no circumstance am I “trash talking” any school of thought or demoting any technique or theory.
With that said, here are my findings and my understanding of those findings:
The reason why people seek assistance from therapists (and with “therapists” I mean coaches, psychologists, psychiatrists, and all forms of healers) is because they as the client seek psychotherapeutic help because they feel they have lost control of themselves, their thinking and their situation.
If this was not the case, then the client might just as well do some retrospection and dissolve the issue themselves.
As it turns out, the mere belief that going to a “specialist” for some form or the other of psychotherapy for assistance, already begins the healing process and gives hope and alleviation to the client.
I mean, most of us have had a painful toothache sometime in our lives and were in need of dentistry. So think back to that time and remember how, while you were waiting for your turn at the dentist’s office, “knowing without a doubt” that he / she will alleviate that pain, how the toothache seemed to not be so severe.
The same rings true for any other type of therapy…
It doesn’t matter whether it’s faith healing, Freudian therapy, gestalt therapy, Reiki, hypnotherapy, aura cleansing or any other methodology; people engage in their own expectations about being healed.
In his book “Persuasion and Healing”, Jerome Frank explains that there are four (4) things that all therapies have in common:
1) A special relationship between sufferer and healer.
This means that there is much more to the therapist’s role than what it seems due to the way the client interprets the roles between him/herself and the therapist and how that is different than, say having a “good friend” listen to their problems.
2) Special locale
During a therapy session personal things are exposed. Deep seated emotions come to the surface and creates a feeling of vulnerability within the client. Because of this the client needs to feel safe and when they do they enter a state of “suspended reality” where they can “detach” from their challenges and gain deeper insight into their situation and potentially resolve the challenges they are facing.
Hence why the locale / venue where the therapy takes place takes on a special relevance to a client. This is also why it’s difficult for a client to run into their therapist at, say the grocery store for example, outside of the special locale.
3) Explanatory system
To a client, the theory of an ailment doesn’t matter, as long as there is an explanation for the ailment. In other words, the “how did it happen” is not as important as the “why” and the “how to solve it”. The client wants to believe and hear that the therapist has come across similar situations before and knows the steps to take and advice to give to assist the client in resolving the issue.
4) Special procedure for relief
The client wants to feel security and trust in the therapist’s experience and knowledge that the steps, procedures, methods, advice and/or diagnosis will alleviate and cure the ailment/s in question.
So if we are to look at these mentioned criteria that is apparent and present in most, if not all, therapeutic environments, it becomes clear that psychotherapeutic intervention is mainly a matter of psychosomatic involvement and that the client’s belief systems plays the most crucial role towards the treatment of the challenges they are facing.
This is why NO therapy is superior to another and why all therapists then are mere facilitators of change – guiding a client towards the healing they’ve had within themselves all along and assisting a client to activate that healing through a change in their belief system.