The Nature of the Therapeutic Relationship

What are the elements of a relationship that intends to be therapeutic, or that inadvertently turns into something therapeutic? We will be intentional in this course about breaking down such encounters, such relationships, into their essential component parts—in part, so we can demonstrate how they can be learned, even by those who do not consider themselves to be innately “therapeutic”. But the component parts do not constitute the whole. There is something else, something more, and we hope to capture that, as well—through storytelling and examples from the bedside, from psychotherapy, even from parenting. We will examine how it is possible to be in such a relationship even when the person is not easy to care for, or when the person is in-our-face ungrateful or even overtly rejecting. We will examine how it is possible to be in such a relationship when we don’t feel like it or when the institution for which we work fails to uphold it as a value. 

Readings: See Me as a Person, Koloroutis and Trout (2012)

     pages ix-xiii – Forward by Martin Helldorfer

                  pages xv-xx -- Preface by Marcus Engel

                  pages 25-57 – The Nature of the Therapeutic Relationship