By Dr. Joseph Lancaster
What is psychotherapy? Some say that “psychotherapy”, often known as “therapy”, refers to the treatment of illness or serving another. Typically, this treatment entails a psychologist or therapist being present and listening to a patient’s mental health issues (e.g., symptoms of depression, anxiety, etc.) that get in the way of their daily normal functioning at home, school, or work.
By the therapist being a professionally trained person who is a good listener, present, reliable, non-judgmental, and shares their wisdom for the patient’s benefit, warm relations develop. These warm, and therefore, helpful relations are known as rapport. To have emotionally good rapport during talk time is important because it’s what some call an opportunity for the patient to be re-parented—due to need. Other professional schools of thought may call the rapport, a therapeutic alliance or collaborative relationship.
For example, to be in a therapeutic alliance or collaborative relationship means that the thoughts, feelings, and desires of the patient-doctor relationship are equal in nature. It’s a mutually respectful and working together type of relationship.
However, to be re-parented means that the therapist is like a mother or father figure—psychologically / emotionally—in a way that the needy patient, for example, finally gets the non-judgmental acceptance they have always needed in life. Also, this therapeutic concept of being re-parented means that whatever the patient’s parents did give them, such as angry responses, is undone by the therapist per their peaceful responses to whatever is said during therapy. This experience brings inner healing to the patient because words are not just words, but there are powerful emotions which underly the words that people use. Therefore, the peaceful responses by the therapist—toward the patient—brings inner stability.
Lastly, no matter what term for rapport is used, all of them relate to the talk therapy technique working well because the therapist provides a safe and understanding environment where the patient can freely relieve their dark energy or tension from their soul. This happens in a confidential atmosphere where the professional therapist accepts the patient’s pain and guides them through it. Based on this healing experience, the patient may react by saying something like, “Whew! I now can be free to be me. That feels good compared to before. What a relief!”