Do you find it necessary to believe that your therapist likes you?

Huxley

Learning
Do you find that knowing that your therapist likes you is important to how well the therapy works for you?

And by like I guess I mean basically that he/she is open-minded about what you say, isn’t bothered too much by how you say things that are difficult to speak of, and will be generally likely to hear you without judgment and to react fairly and kindly.
 

LeiaFlower

Confident
Well like you and being non judgmental are two different things. For me, I question how annoying I appear to my therapist. This comes out more when I make mistakes or my SI returns. However, I’ve realized these were just stuff I was taught was annoying by other people. It’s just were projections, and most people don’t mind those things. Therapist included.

As for the second part, all of those things are essential in order for the therapeutic relationship to work. If a therapist is bothered that much by how you say things; if they’re close minded; and is rude and unfair then it’s better to find another therapist. No one deserves to be treated that way, especially not from someone we’re supposed to trust.
 

StillPen

MyPTSD Pro
I believe to be a therapist of any value whatsoever, one would have to like all people, generally, as they will get every walk of life communicating in every manner of way.

However, if my therapist were rude to me, short with me, showed signs of being easily frustrated by the way I came across or tried to communicate (even if that didn't equate to not liking me, but just rather flippant or indifferent about me), I would have to move on and look elsewhere for help. Being understood, respected, and handled "with care" are at the top of my criteria. I'm too vulnerable not to be, with what I share with my therapist.
 
What an interesting question. You might like to read this link: https://web.cortland.edu/andersmd/ROGERS/char-a.html

Not all therapists are person-centered therapists like Carl Rogers was. But basically if you do person-centered therapy, you are pretty much required to find something you like about all of your clients!

EDIT: There's no way I could work with a therapist who I thought didn't really like me. I've tried that before and it totally did not work out. On the flip side, I also really have to like my therapist as a person in order to work with them.
 
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Huxley

Learning
This is all helpful.

how do I know it’s not me?

I can be pretty unlikeable in therapy. I have early life issues and some of what I express involves anger and resentment and the sadness/shame and pain of loss/never having, and the reality of being different. It’s ugly sometimes.

i have asked him directly, but only once and not recently. He gave an acceptablely vague sort of answer. There’s a bit more history but his actions seem to consistently support the idea that he finds value in our therapeutic relationship.

would I like to be liked, or more specifically to hear in clear terms that yes, he does like me? Of course. It would make it easier, I think. But is it necessary for successful therapy, and by asking would I be forcing him to prevaricate for valid professional reasons, and would I then feel more uncertain about the situation and undermine my own progress?
 
I don't think your therapist would lie if you asked them straight up about whether they liked you. They might tell you that it didn't matter, though. Everyone comes from a different school of thought about therapy.

I don't think a person would become a therapist if they didn't want to see people from all sides - and that includes our so-called negative or ugly sides. Sometimes, though, showing those sides is actually us doing our best work as clients.

My first trauma therapist noted right away that when I told her the story of my trauma that I was very robotic. It took me more than a year and a half with her to get to the point where I could express any emotion around it. And when I did ... whew. So many tears. But I have no doubt that my therapist preferred seeing the tears to seeing the robot.

Another edit: in the interest of full disclosure, I should tell you that I am currently going to school in order to become a therapist myself.
 

hithere

MyPTSD Pro
Do you find that knowing that your therapist likes you is important to how well the therapy works for you?

And by like I guess I mean basically that he/she is open-minded about what you say, isn’t bothered too much by how you say things that are difficult to speak of, and will be generally likely to hear you without judgment and to react fairly and kindly.
Yes, very much so. From my experience, working with a therapist that for some reason didn't like me; either I reminded him of someone he hated, or somehow he looked at my social media and saw I had differing politics.... whatever, it was devastating to me, and the therapy went horrible. I kept reenacting my trauma trying to get someone who had an extreme dislike for me to like me; ultimately it was horrible. I can't believe I survived that when I look back at it.
 

barefoot

Sponsor
Hmm…I’ve never really thought about the importance (or not!) of being liked by a therapist before…

Maybe because I think my T and I do like each other, so it’s not really been something I’ve needed to consider… We’re not ‘friends’, but we both have a friendly way of communicating and being with each other.

I think it’s important that you both ‘get on with each other’ to some degree - so that you can talk openly, share difficult stuff, be understanding of each other when there are blips and misunderstandings etc.

And I guess the thought of working with a therapist who actively really didn’t like me…yeah, that would feel difficult (if I was aware of it) and I think it would hinder things.

I guess a key thing for more client-centred approaches is the concept of unconditional positive regard for the client.

If a therapist really despised a client, I would think it’s probably best all round if they referred them to someone else as being not a good fit (and by that I don’t mean that anyone who has referred elsewhere for not being the right fit - I’m not saying that meant your therapist didn’t like you!)

It is crucial, for me personally, to feel acceptance, empathy, no judgement, compassion, some warmth from a therapist. Otherwise, I don’t think I’d really open up about anything. I also need to be able to have some laughs with my therapist and to enjoy some banter. I know that wouldn’t be important for everyone, but it’s really important to me. So, having a laugh with someone who feels negatively towards me…that would feel off, I think. And so all of the therapy space/therapeutic alliance would feel off.

I remember once, T and I were in the middle of a bumpy time…I think we’d had a bit of a rupture…and things were just feeling a bit rocky and sessions were stalling as a result, and I was feeling stressed and probably a bit defensive (!) with her… I don’t think I was worried that she didn’t like me, as such…I think (I’m trying to remember - it was a long time ago!) I was becoming increasingly concerned and worried that she was angry with me because I was being difficult. I can’t really remember what the exact situation was or what I said about it now, but I really remember her reply: ‘I think only good things about you.’ Which felt very overwhelming at the time, and blew my mind a bit.
 
Idk but I wouldn't want to get my hair cut or a car repair from someone who despised me, let alone share intimate details or trust.

I fear more being despised, or being an annoyance. I already feel like a burden anyway.

I kept reenacting my trauma trying to get someone who had an extreme dislike for me to like me;
I did this (not a T) with someone who was abusive. Didn't personally want their concern or love any more, just somewhere in my mind if they cared or stopped being abusive it felt others wouldn't be in the future. Fractured logic and surprise I survived it too.

I can’t really remember what the exact situation was or what I said about it now, but I really remember her reply: ‘I think only good things about you.’ Which felt very overwhelming at the time, and blew my mind a bit.
I've felt like this about many things, but especially SI. Shocking to me, really.

Hard to work on the same team if there isn't mutual positive regard I would think. Or at least to be open/ honest, and make better progress.
 

Charbella

Confident
To answer the question there’s no way I would work with someone who didn’t like me or acted like they didn’t. For me that means me being able to read them as well. I had a T that just had no warmth that was a short lived relationship.

Now to ask you a question, where your at with your current T is it scarier than normal? How long have you worked with them? I only ask because I know for me I tend to pull away from situations where I am getting what I need because safety is not something I’m used to, I tend to sabotage good relationships.
 

Huxley

Learning
I first met this T six years ago. worked together for three years before he moved and he referred me to someone local he’d worked with. Learning he was moving was awful, as things had seemed to be progressing, but I felt okay about trying a different T.

Met with her a few times then covid sent everything online, which wasn’t good for either of us. She was disorganized and probably professionally overwhelmed with it all. My first group attempt was with her and online and it was a disaster, for a lot of reasons, and most of the people complained and/or dropped out. She could not manage it all, including her own reactions to current events which she would bring up from time to time, and ultimately said some harmful things to me. The rupture wasn’t fixable. I quit seeing her. I posted about a couple incidents with her here, I think.

About a year later, since zoom was the new norm and I was both still the original mess and was now coping with her reaction, I contacted my original T, told him what was going on, and explicitly asked him if he wanted to restart our work, given that he now knows my issues and what working with me was like. He said yes, and agreed to see me at our original reduced rate just once a month, since that’s all I can afford.

I realize that my emotions don’t work as they should. And things in my life are not great, but I wouldn’t say they’re any worse or harder than in the past. He does openly acknowledge that he too doesn't know how to help me, sometimes.
 
ETA, I should say that was only a relationship in my 20's, nothing to do with trying to get better (that I was doing on my own). I only mentioned it because re-enactments can be insidious; I somehow (don't know how, or why?, though probably primed by some, but not all, of my familial relationships) felt that if the person who I could not please I could please, then no one (ever) later would pose a problem.

Everyone seems to mention 'a good fit'. But that could look very different for different people. Some of the things that turn people off put me at ease; other things people expect or need are not really my thing (or even drive me nuts).

I think there might be something to the safety thing being uncomfortable or hard to believe.

Good luck to you @Huxley !

I would add @Huxley , honesty and good will. Plus wisdom. Those would be basics.
 
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