How Is Psychotherapy Adapted To The Patient?

How is Psychotherapy adapted to the patient?

Starting psychotherapy sessions can be an exciting and complex process. It’s not about sitting in front of someone and randomly chatting about your life. It is a methodical journey that the patient and the psychologist embark on to build a safe space of support, towards their growth.

Patient accommodation in psychotherapy involves recognizing and responding to each person’s individual needs, preferences, and unique circumstances to provide effective, client-centered treatment.

Regardless of your methodology, approach or branch in which you specialize, There are always ways to adjust your way of working to different client profiles.

The importance of the therapeutic alliance

Each patient comes to psychotherapy for different reasons, but with one purpose: to find professional help and appropriate support for their emotional process.

That is why Becoming your patient’s ally is essential so that you feel confident. But how can you achieve this? Here we will give you some recommendations.

How psychotherapy is adapted to the patient, step by step

From the first contact until discharging your patient, psychotherapy requires constant adaptation. This is because the process is not linear, it has several stages and the individual responds differently in each of them. Even time could dilate, shorten or “stagnate” until it finds a better direction. Now, what could be a good step by step to get your patient to adapt to psychotherapy? Take note!

1. The initial interview

To get to know your patient, their situation and what they want in psychotherapy, you should do an interview as a first approach. In this first interview you should ask simple questions. There you will know what your patient’s objectives are, what the environment is like and what the starting point of psychotherapy is.

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At this point it is very important to create a connection with the patient, generate trust and be empathetic, this will allow you to open a door of cordiality and comfort to later enter therapy. In addition, with this interview you will also be able to obtain relevant information to define a diagnosis later.

2. Establishment of a personalized hypothesis about the problem to be treated

After the initial interview you will have the necessary tools and information to raise a hypothesis and devise a work plan around it. Remember that This hypothesis could vary over time, so you must be quite flexible when approaching it and consider different angles of approach. Each individual has specific needs and problems and this may involve using different techniques, modalities or theoretical approaches depending on what is most suitable for the particular patient.

3. Design of the therapeutic intervention plan

With the information obtained in the initial interview and based on the hypothesis stated, you will be able to design an efficient therapeutic intervention plan. Here the goals and possible duration of treatment are established. In this phase it is advisable to invite the patient to actively participate in the formulation of therapeutic goals, because this can increase their commitment and motivation for change.

4. Task assignments to be carried out between sessions: the “homework”

Psychotherapy is a continuous work that requires the commitment of the psychologist but also of the patient, and it is precisely the latter that will determine the success of the process. Consider not only the patient’s needs but also how they feel most comfortable addressing their problems.. For example, there are people who prefer to write them down and not talk about them, so therapeutic writing could be a good tool in the process. Other people, instead of reading extensive books, prefer to watch audiovisual material, so videos and audiobooks could be your great allies in this regard.

Although the activities are “duties”, the patient should not feel like a complicated obligation to work on their therapeutic process. It is important that homework assignments are specific, achievable, and relevant to the patient’s therapeutic goals. Additionally, the therapist and patient should collaborate to set clear expectations and review progress on tasks between sessions.

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5. If possible, collaboration with family members with the patient’s permission

Some situations have their roots or are related in some way to the patients’ families, so their participation in the process could be of great help. Of course, it is not about doing group therapies or allowing the intervention of family members in an individual process, but, if necessary and if the patient allows it, a good support network of loved ones or relatives could be created.

Throughout the psychotherapy process the patient requires accompaniment and support, not only from your therapist, but also from family and friends. This provides a safe environment in which the patient can function more easily and comfortably without feeling judged or pressured, but rather understood and validated.

6. Monitoring of results

Outcome monitoring in psychotherapy is a systematic evaluation process that involves tracking and measuring the patient’s progress over time. This practice is essential to ensure the effectiveness of the treatment and make adjustments as necessary to improve results.

You must analyze the patient’s progress session after session, so you will know if it is really appropriate to try new methods, assign different tasks to those you had contemplated at the beginning, extend or shorten the treatment, etc.

7. If necessary, correction of the initial hypothesis

The non-linearity of therapeutic processes allows for changes on the fly in order to have efficient treatment. Many problems or situations could have deeper roots than you were able to initially observe. Other difficulties may also arise during the therapeutic process that require a change of focus or the correction of the initial hypothesis. Don’t worry, it is normal for this to happen!

Strategies used by the psychologist to reinforce rapport

Rapport is the connection of trust and harmony that is established between the therapist and the patient in psychotherapy. This strong and comfortable relationship facilitates open and effective communication, which contributes to treatment success. It is built through empathy, authenticity, unconditional acceptance and clear communication. These are some strategies that could help you reinforce rapport:

1. Active listening

Here you must demonstrate genuine interest and full attention to the patient through active listening. This involves paying full attention to what the patient is communicating, asking clarifying questions, and validating her experiences and emotions. Take note of everything you consider important while the patient speaks, this will allow you to be attentive without overlooking any details.

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2. Non-judgmental attitude

Psychologists are allies and companions, not patients’ judges. This is one of the main reasons why a person seeks a psychotherapist instead of entrusting all their problems to a family member or close friend. The objective and non-judgmental view increases patient-therapist trust and consolidates a safe environment. Expressing empathy can help the patient feel understood and accepted, and this strengthens the emotional connection.

3. Coherence between verbal language and non-verbal language

Emotional intelligence and coherence are essential in therapeutic processes. Make sure your verbal and non-verbal language matches what you want to express to the patient during psychotherapy. Avoid using inappropriate terms, language and confusing attitudes that repress the patient or make him doubt her communicative and emotional abilities.

4. Subtly express common opinions or experiences

Psychotherapy should be based on the process and experiences of the patient, not the therapist. However, your own experiences and subtly expressed opinions could be of great help in exemplifying common situations. This could give the patient an outside look or another perspective that will help them deal with their process in a different way. Here you must be very careful and not advising the patient about what you would do in a certain situation; offer more perspectives and examples beyond your own.

5. Help you ask yourself the important questions

Psychotherapy often enters uncomfortable places or confronts the patient with their greatest fears or insecurities, this is even necessary. However, It is possible to make this confrontation non-traumatic if the patient is kept in a safe environment and feels your support and accompaniment at all times..

Uncomfortable questions are necessary, as are other perspectives. This will help open the patient’s mind and understand the different possibilities he has during the process. Help him see himself with a compassionate but assertive gaze. This way you will develop the self-knowledge and analysis skills necessary to obtain successful results.

Do you want to train in psychotherapy?

The Master in Integrative Psychotherapy offered by Instituto Mensalus is one of the most complete post-university specialization courses in Spain.

It has an online or in-person modality at the Mensalus facilities, a leading psychological assistance center in Barcelona, ​​and has 60 ECTS credits certified by the Nebrija University. In it, you will be able to experience real therapy sessions with real patients, as well as theoretical-practical knowledge from an integrative approach, given by a teaching team that dedicates most of its work to patient care.