What is Therapeutic Relationship?

  • 01 Jan 2023
  • General

Psychotherapy is a process that proceeds within the framework of the principles of psychology. It is done in order to change or transform the behaviors, thoughts, feelings and some personal characteristics of the clients at the desired level. However, this change and transformation is not always as easy as it seems. For this reason, it is necessary to establish a therapeutic relationship between the client and the counselor.

What is Therapeutic Relationship?

The therapeutic relationship describes the relationship between the therapist and the client. It is a tool that helps the client to distinguish and define their problems and to be actively involved in the therapy process. However, the client should be able to do these procedures without a question mark in mind. For this reason, within the framework of ethical rules, the therapeutic relationship is protected with certain limits.

What are the Limits of the Therapeutic Relationship?

The therapeutic relationship limits are as follows:

  • Except for the possibility of harming the person or another person during the therapy process and the request from the legal authorities, everything that is spoken must be kept confidential between the client and the therapist. In cases where the confidentiality principle will be violated, the client must first be informed and verbal / written consent must be obtained.
  • The therapist is obliged to give clear information to the client on topics such as therapy duration, start and end times, pricing, therapy approaches and techniques used, and confidentiality principles. It should also clarify points that are not understood. If both parties agree to the conditions, the sessions should be started. In addition, the parties are expected to comply with these conditions during the process.
  • The relationship between the client and the therapist is different from the relationships in social life. Therefore, it should remain confined to the therapy room. Giving therapy to close friends, family members, and people with whom you have business relationships is not an appropriate approach, as it increases the possibility of harming the process and breaking the confidentiality principle. Therefore, the therapist should avoid establishing social relations with clients during or at the end of the session.

What are the Requirements of the Therapeutic Relationship?

There are some elements necessary for a positive therapist-client relationship. The therapeutic relationship requirements are as follows:

The Therapeutic Alliance

It means that the client and the therapist agree on the goals and methods for the course of therapy and cooperate with the therapist to solve the client's problems.

Therapeutic Communication

It is the process of interacting between the therapist and the client through verbal and nonverbal methods. The aim is to get to know the client in mutual trust and to enable them to express their feelings and thoughts clearly. In addition, it is among the goals to reveal his needs and help him cope with his problems.


Therapeutic relationship, the therapist; It is to respect the client's life, personality traits, needs, wishes, values and beliefs under all circumstances.


He states that the client and the therapist need to be themselves in order to establish a real relationship in the session room.


It refers to the therapist's ability to view events from the client's perspective and to make sense of their emotions and motivation. In addition, the counselor should be able to convey this to the client.

Unconditional Acceptance

Therapeutic relationship, the therapist accepts the client as a separate individual with all its characteristics without judgment.

Transparency / Openness Principle

It requires the therapist to be sincere and honest in order to create an environment in which the client can express himself openly.

Being Here and Now

It is the clear handling of the feelings and thoughts that occur as a result of the interaction between the therapist and the client during the session and associating them with the client's life outside of therapy.


It means to highlight the capacity and internal resources of the client under all circumstances and to encourage them to be put into practice.

Is Online Therapy an Obstacle to Therapeutic Relationship?

In a study on the effectiveness of online therapy, it was concluded that online therapy and psychological interventions are not much different from face-to-face therapy in terms of therapeutic relationship. In other words, after the therapeutic relationship is established, whether the therapy is online or face-to-face makes no difference in terms of effectiveness.

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