A good therapist (psychologist, psychiatrist, social worker) is first and foremost one… who is not a bad therapist! 😊
So, what is a bad therapist? There are several types:
One who looks at you from above, who does not speak to you at eye level, who does not speak to you as a human being to a human being. Of course, such bad therapists would argue that this is not true, but the patient feels it well.
Another type is one that has learned, applied and adhered to all kinds of theories, and is willing to act solely on them.
For example, I had a psychiatrist when I was a child, one whose almost single sentence he uttered as part of treatment was the following instruction: "Tell me everything that goes through your mind!". He probably internalized Freud's words (and we will not enter here into the question of whether Freud was right), that one should give expression to the patient's free associations. In the first two sessions I had with this therapist, the exercise seemed amusing to me and I uttered all sorts of nonsense. I quickly became bored, felt that my head was empty, that I had nothing to say and that the psychiatrist was not helping me at all. In front of me sat a man who was silent all the time. All this until the doctor was so bored himself that he was the one who requested to stop the treatment, and he had the audacity to write to my parents "that I do not cooperate in treatment "!!!And treatment was discontinued.
Needless to say, but let's say it anyway: a bad therapist, is one who for self-interested reasons, tries to pull the treatment in time.
If so, what is a good therapist?
A good therapist (preferably one who has studied the subject) is one who restores the patient's self-confidence, and destroys myths to which he has fallen victim), I, for example, thought I was a person who was inherently different from the rest; I did not realize that the feelings of others were not different from mine) .A good therapist does this without telling the patient what to do, but brings him to find his own inner truth (and this of course does not have to be that of the therapist).
If in the long run, the patient is his own best doctor, then without the help of the good therapist, he may be the opposite: his own worst doctor. For example, when he sees reality in a distorted way, he invents for himself reasons-not-reasons for his condition, and is desperate to find a solution for it. At worst, he is even tempted to take what he sees as "solutions" like drugs and alcohol, and worst of all: suicide.
As an example of a method where a good caregiver works, I will bring up a conversation with Hila, my caregiver: I told her one day that I feel better now: active, not sleeping all the time, not tired all the time. And when I was like that, I saw myself as lazy. My beloved therapist (although I have had and will also have sharp arguments with her) replied to me: "All this is true except for one thing: you were not lazy, you were depressed."
And what is a good patient?
I try to be like that, having sinned for many years in being what I call a "bad patient." A bad patient is one who attributes to his illness all the problems he has had, that he has and will have. One who does not believe there is light at the end of the tunnel; Who has forgotten that he is a human being with all his rights (including the right to be respected) and all his duties.
I remember in pain my beloved cousin Florence, who was intelligent and kind-hearted, but did not believe there could be an improvement to her illness. In my opinion, many of her caregivers, whom I described earlier as bad caregivers, convinced her of these wrong thoughts. It ended tragically: she put an end to her life.
So, I would say that a good patient is one who fights with all his might against his illness. A good patient says to himself: So, all the problems that remain unresolved, if there are any, can be attributed to the disease. And if not, it does not mean you have to give up! Even when all my psychiatrists explained to me that they had to come to terms with it and attribute it to the disease. One must learn to live with them, as a physically disabled person uses a cane to walk almost like a normal human being.
For example: I live in my bubble. How to explain it to you, when I cannot explain it to myself and my therapists? When I'm in the company of other people, it's as if I was in the company of animals, or people who speak a foreign language. I have been dragging this since childhood, and have suffered from it to this day! This of course made me behave eccentrically in the past. But over the years, I have learned to adapt to behavior patterns so that I will not look different (or almost not) to a mentally healthy person. All the tricks I have found for myself, with the help of experiment and will, have become the "stick" with which I behave in society.
In conclusion, I will say that a good therapist, behaves humanely to his patient: with empathy, without feelings of superiority. He knows that drugs and therapeutic methods like Cognitive therapy and psychoanalysis are just tools, expressing what science knows today. And he remembers that the solution is ultimately in the hands of the patient himself.
A good patient, he is one who knows himself, copes and does not give up.
And finally, I would love to hear from you:
To the therapists among you:
1) Have you ever felt: "Oh! To this person, I have helped?
2) What did you learn from your clinical experience that you were not taught in academia, and what do you currently define as a good therapist?
3) Do you think a mental illness is an "imaginary" illness (existing only in the patient's head), or an illness as any other disease like a physical illness?
For patients among you:
1) Have you had a therapist/s who really helped you?
2) How do you define a good patient?
3) How do you deal with your disease?