Relationships are challenging. In this article from the New York Times, one person looks back on how his relationship to himself and to others changed over the course of his work in therapy. He began treatment when he was 19 years old and continued to see that therapist for the next 45 years. Although such long lasting therapies are unusual, the author illustrates how this therapy relationship supported him in many situations as he moved through life. Most patients will not be in therapy for 45 years, but the relationship a person has with his or her therapist, even if it lasts 6 months, can be crucial in making life-changing decisions that shift how they are relationships with others. For example, one can learn to be more understanding, compassionate and assertive.
Across various types of therapies, research shows that the alliance (or collaboration) a person has with their therapist is one of the best predictors of having a positive therapy experience. This article highlights the importance of feeling connected in treatment in order to collaborate towards your goals.