If your client has unresolved emotional needs and wants to talk to you about them What should you do?

Most states and other municipalities require that therapists or counselors meet specific education and training requirements. Though these vary from location to location, all therapists must be educated, trained, and must follow basic professional codes of ethics and guidelines. The foundation for good therapy exists when:

  1. Your therapist is trained appropriately and meets all local and/or state guidelines for providing therapy.

  2. Your counselor seems competent and experienced enough to help you with your issues and does not appear overwhelmed by them. While it is possible that you may see a counselor that does not have the training or experience to help you with your problems, he or she should always let you know if that is the case.

  3. Your therapist explains the therapeutic process and how you can benefit from it, without guaranteeing your success or promising that “everything will be okay.” The bottom line is that no one can make such guarantees—neither the therapist, nor you.

  4. Your counselor always maintains professional business practices by keeping the focus on you. She prepares ahead of time for your sessions by reviewing notes or action items from previous sessions, keeps your appointments, is generally on time, demonstrates that she is paying attention, and doesn’t answer the phone, check email, or become distracted during your sessions.

  1. Your therapist provides a diagnosis if necessary, but remains steadfastly focused on helping you to manage any such diagnosis and get better. The diagnosis remains the backdrop for therapy, not the focus of it.

  2. Your counselor understands and communicates to you that there are many effective approaches to therapy, and no one approach can meet the needs of every client. He or she models open-mindedness about other approaches to therapy.

  3. Your counselor explains what psychotherapeutic technique he or she plans to use, welcomes and answers any questions you may have about a specific technique, and requests your comments for any technique that may be new or different for you.

  4. Your counselor is active in the therapy community and regularly interacts with other professionals. It is this regular collaboration with other professionals that keeps your therapist current and able to provide the best therapy for you.

  5. Your counselor provides insight and knowledge that you otherwise might not have seen. This insight clearly comes from experience and training.

  6. Your therapist maintains a good balance between your thoughts and your feelings without neglecting or diminishing either one.