How Therapists Reparent

I think therapists are re-parenting all the time they are in session with a client, and being keenly aware of that is part of using transference. Recognizing that transference is going on all the time in therapy allows the better therapists to be most effective. This is what is meant by “ It’s the relationship that heals,” not the particular therapeutic approach utilized.

It’s the therapists respect, interest, affection, and effort put out to help; all of this and more is apparent to the client consciously or unconsciously. All of this is saying “you are worthy, you are of great value as a person. Your thoughts are interesting, your feelings matter, ” etc. etc. These messages are the ones the person should have gotten as a child and are now being expressed by the therapist, overtly and not so overtly, verbally and non-verbally. That’s re- parenting, and is the most important job of the therapist.

When I am meeting a client for the first time, I look to see what I label to myself as the beauty of this person. If I don’t see it right away, I consciously wait, because I know I will see it soon. If I can tell I am never going to like a person, for whatever reason, I don’t work with them. It happens very rarely. I know that every person who comes to therapy deserves to be liked and cared about by their therapist.

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