NYC Psychotherapist Blog

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Tuesday, May 12, 2015

The Psychotherapy Session: A Unique Intersubjective Experience

Over time, people who are in therapy come to appreciate the uniquely private space of the therapy room.

The Therapy Session: A Unique Intersubjective Experience

Considering how busy most people are these days, other than their therapy sessions, many people don't take the time to reflect on what's going on in their lives and to get objective feedback.

For many people, the psychological insights that they have about themselves occurs in their therapy sessions.

The Privacy of the Therapy Session
In recent times, privacy has been eroded to such an extent that there are few (if any) other places where someone can come in and say whatever is on his or her mind in an accepting, objective, nonjudgmental private place.

Making Connections Between the Present and the Past in Therapy 
It's also a unique environment where an experienced therapist is trained to help clients to make possible connections between what is going on now and the past, and to begin to understand the many different aspects of themselves.

Most people don't feel immediately comfortable divulging a lot of private information about themselves at first.  It takes time to build a relationship with a therapist and to establish a rapport.

The Therapeutic "Holding Environment"
The attuned therapist creates a comfortable, secure environment for the client where the client feels heard and cared about (see my article:  The Attuned Therapist Creates a Therapeutic Holding Environment).

During the initial therapy sessions, it's important for the client and the therapist to each assess if they are a good "match" to continue to work together.  There aren't any specific steps for the client to determine this.  Mostly, I recommend that clients trust their intuition.

The Therapy Session: A Unique Intersubjective Experience

For the therapist, it's important that she work within the scope of her knowledge and skills.  So, if a client is looking for a therapist with a particular specialty, it's important for the therapist to reveal whether or not this is one of her specialties.

When it's a good match, over time, clients develop a comfort level where they feel they can talk about anything with their therapist.

Of course, there will be times when clients will feel ashamed to talk about certain topics, but it's important to remember that most experienced therapist have heard just about everything and, most likely, won't be shocked by what clients say.

Having a compassionate, skilled therapist and the time and place to talk about whatever is on a person's mind is a very freeing experience that is rare.

Many people, who are in therapy, look forward to attending their therapy sessions because it's such a unique experience where they have their therapists undivided attention and the time is dedicated to them.

Unconscious Communication:  The Intersubjective Space Between Therapist and Client
Clients and therapists often talk about getting into a particular intersubjective space that is unique to their particular therapeutic relationship (see my article:  The Psychotherapist's Empathic Attunement).

Within this intersubjective space, there is a form of unconscious communication between client and therapist that is particular to that client-therapist dyad.

As a result, there is more being communicated than the words that are being spoken.

There is also a latent communication that therapists, who are trained to work with unconscious communication, experience on a felt sense level.

Many clients will often talk about how they also sense this unconscious communication that is part of the intersubjective space between client and therapist.

Although there is always unconscious communication between people who are together, the unconscious communication between therapist and client is more focused than it would be between two other people and it usually develops over time.

When there is a good match between a therapist and client, it's not unusual for a therapist to intuitively sense what a client is about to say or for a client to sense what a therapist is about to say.

This is because this unconscious communication is "in the air" between them.

Choosing a Therapist
Thinking of the first session as a consultation is a good way to approach that first session.

Not only are you talking about your problems in a broad way, you're also getting a sense for whether you feel comfortable with the therapist.

You might not be able to tell in the first session, but after the a few sessions, you usually get a sense as to whether it's a good match.

For more information about how to choose a therapist, see my article:  How to Choose a Psychotherapist.

About Me
I am a licensed NYC psychotherapist, hypnotherapist, EMDR and Somatic Experiencing therapist who works with individual adults and couples.

To find out more about me, see my website:  Josephine Ferraro, LCSW - NYC Psychotherapist.

To set up a consultation, call me at (917) 742-2624 during business hours or email me.