Characteristic’s of a Supportive Therapist

Mental health practitioners often possess a desire to help people in need of emotional and psychological support. We work with people to build systems within and outside of themselves that encourage their autonomy and growth. To be an effective mental health professional we must continue to build personal characteristic strengths that aid in our development as practitioners and aid in the development of our clients. The approach we use to support clients will be rooted in our educational and professional experiences. There are personal characteristics that practitioners must work to possess. There are also professional elements that practitioners can implement to better serve their clients. 

Personal Characteristics:

  1. Empathetic
  2. Patient
  3. Supportive
  4. Good listener
  5. Compassionate 
  6. Self-less

These personal characteristics combined build a more effective practitioner. The aim of treatment should align with the goal of therapeutic improvement. To implement therapeutic improvements, practitioners must conduct their behaviors and responses in a fashion that supports a model of unconditional positive regard. These characteristics determine how practitioners will respond to clients. Practitioners serve as a means of building a strong therapeutic alliance with their clients. By using these characteristic traits, they are laying the foundation and bases of how the relationship will develop. Each of these traits could be the difference in a client deciding whether or not to open up, continue treatment, change maladaptive behaviors, and support their journey. These characteristics allow practitioners to notice the client as more than just their pain. Practitioners serve as a representative for the client, and the attributes they possess are highly influential to clients. We are not always able to control the extraneous values that may come up, but we can control how we act and think. 

Professional Elements:

  1. Desire to learn 
  2. Problem Solving Abilities
  3. Boundaries 
  4. Ability to build Trustworthiness 
  5. Multicultural Competence
  6. Moral and Ethical Compass 

Similar to personal characteristics, professional elements serve as pillars within all domains of psychology. As practitioners develop their autonomy in the field, they can choose whether or not to align their professional elements with personal characteristics. However, combining both facets creates an overall competent clinician. These considerations are an excellent basis to help the majority of people seeking treatment. However, it is essential to note that not all clients will be receptive to these skills, and they will need to be adapted to each individual. A psychologist will always have to continue building upon these elements to stay relevant and on par with the changes of life.

With Intention.