What to Look for in a Therapeutic Relationship

As a therapist and consumer of therapy services I would argue the most important aspect of therapy is the therapeutic relationship. This is the connection and trust you have with the therapist and the respect and positive regard the therapist gives in return. Therapy cannot due its true magic without that trust and respect between both parties. You can’t always know based on a profile if that therapist is going to work for you, so ask yourself a few questions while searching:

1. What type of approach am I looking for?

The approach of a therapist adds to that relationship. Many therapists have an indirect approach that focuses on you answering your own questions. These therapists are non-judging but may not challenge as much. They may seem softer, and more curious, but there may not be as much dialoguing. 

A direct approach is inherently the opposite. Therapists aren’t advice givers, but someone with a direct approach may have more input and may beat around the bush less. They may challenge more (of course in a warmer but firm way) and may do more calling out on patterns rather than ask rhetorical questions. 

The approach you will benefit from is also directly related to how ready you are to look inward. Someone who is not ready to be challenged or who may lack awareness of their behavior patterns, may find a direct approach off-putting. This is important to try to also assess before you schedule that consultation call. 

2. Do I care about Age or Gender?

This may seem superficial but it tends to matter to most people. Ageism is pretty ripe in this profession, where the age of a therapist “equates” to knowledge or skill level, which is not true but that’s how it is perceived. Certainly if you work with someone fresh out of school they are still growing as a clinician but part of the therapeutic relationship sometimes involves growing together and challenging each other. 

Gender plays a role due to past trauma for some or level of comfortability due to positive experiences in confiding in a male or female. This is a female dominated profession, however male therapists bring a unique perspective to the table. 

3. How much do I want to practice healthy relationship dynamics with my therapist?

People often don’t realize that the therapeutic relationship is a safe space to practice healthy relationship dynamics. This includes sharing or setting boundaries, asking for what you need or working on needing constant positive feedback. 

At the end of the day, your relationship with your therapist is a working one. As such, it is important to get a sense of if it is a good fit within at least 6-10 sessions, however this relationship, much like others, can take years to grow and create a sense of gratitude and care rather than one based on transaction. 

At Boshardy Counseling and Consulting we are committed to making sure you find the right fit in one of us. If you are interested in therapy or joining our team, please email 

Contact Us Today at 217.622.7983