One of the most common responses I get when I tell people that I’m a therapist is, “so are you analyzing me right now?!” This idea of a therapist who sits back, removed, writing cryptic notes while the client dives deep into seemingly irrelevant details about their childhood is largely driven by the portrayal of therapists in the media—though it’s true that this type of therapist certainly exists. Just as there are many different types of massage (that all share the same goal), there are also many different types of therapy, and this is just one very specific type.

The original concept of a therapist being this kind of anonymous character is rooted in Freud’s early formulations about psychoanalysis. He believed it was the role of the therapist to remain as much of a “blank slate” as possible as to elicit projections or transference from the client toward the therapist, and that these dynamics were the grist for the psychotherapy mill. In other words, Freud, and soon following psychodynamic therapists, wanted to try to recreate your typical ways of interacting with people in the relationships of your daily and intimate life, and to use those recreations to either deliver the client to some new insight, uncover unconscious material, or to provide them with a different (or, corrective) emotional experience.

Again, this is just one type of therapy that works for some and doesn’t work for others. For some clients, working with a therapist who remains stoic and privately analytical can actually increase a client’s anxiety or feelings of insecurity. Ultimately, these experiences also shape client’s views of therapy, which may later get in the way of them receiving the type of therapy that will work best for them.

Part of your therapist’s vibe is coming from their theoretical or clinical approach, and part of it is coming from their personality. Certain personalities naturally lend themselves to certain theoretical approaches.

There is a veil between clients and therapists that I believe is slowly lifting, and part of my personal philosophy on therapy is that I aim to have as few tricks up my sleeve as possible, and to maintain a degree of transparency regarding who I am and why I’m leading therapy in a certain way.

If you're interested in learning more about working together, contact Charlotte Counseling and Wellness.

CCW offers innovative and evidence-based options for busy professionals. Charlotte is a bustling and fast-paced city where it’s easy to become stressed, overwhelmed, and anxious. By using the most cutting-edge therapies available, we help people improve the way they deal with everyday stressors and more complicated issues.

John Clarke