Do therapists pretend to care about their clients?

Some people don’t want to try therapy because they believe they are paying someone to pretend to care about them. They think therapy is a fake relationship. I disagree.

The therapist is paid for her skill, experience and knowledge, not to pretend they care..You can’t pay him/her to actually care about you. As a therapist, if I really don’t find something to like about a person, I won’t work with them; people can tell if feelings are sincere.

Frankly, I don’t know any therapists who pretend to care and I’ve been doing this for over 40 years. Therapists usually do care about their clients. They got into the profession to be of use to people, because they want to help others. With that as their motivation, they are for the most part caring people. If you’ve not experienced this then either you have met the wrong therapist(s), or you are convinced that people, when they get to know you, won’t care about you.

Another way to look at the therapeutic relationship is that it is a special relationship, i.e. unusual for many reasons and different from relationships you make outside of therapy for those same reasons: You hire a therapist for their skills at working with people to guide you to a more fulfilling life. You only see these therapists when they are at work, at their best, and entirely focused on you. The good ones don’t see clients when they are tired or sick, so they can be at their best and be entirely focused on the client. When do you ever get that from other relationships? Friends, family and lovers all have their ups and downs that the therapist also has, but the therapist doesn’t bring that to the session with you. She/he takes care of all their personal stuff away from the session, and are therefore able to focus entirely on you. That takes work, and professionalism.

If you are in therapy and are reading this because you think your therapist is pretending to care about you, I suggest you bring it up and have a frank discussion with your therapist. The relationship itself is the most important part of your therapy’s success.

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