The perfect match - ‘connection’ between client and counsellor

What is it that makes talking therapy work? Is it the therapist’s qualifications? Their experience, perchance? Or might the manner of which the therapy itself is delivered be that all important factor. Perhaps the environment in which the meetings take place, the amount of sessions had, or how the client themselves make use of those sessions is key.


What do we mean by ‘connection’? 

The truth is that all of the above are of varying degrees important. However, the one thing that the therapeutic relationship cannot be without is connection. And the presence of this is not something that can be established unless you first have met your therapist. It needn’t be as face-to-face; it can often be recognised through a computer screen or via a phone call. I use the word ‘recognised’ because that is exactly how it feels when a connection is established. It feels almost familiar. It feels safe. It feels right.

There are many reasons why we connect with some people and not others, and this can be an interesting subject to explore in therapy. However, the instant connection one has with one’s therapist is an indicator of an already solid foundation to commence the work. That instantaneous feeling that someone gets you paves the way for that all important element of any effective therapy: trust.

Do you ‘get’ me?

We’ve all been there. Sitting across someone with that feeling that says, ‘I don’t think you understand me.’ It is often coupled with the sensation of loneliness. For some it can even add to a pre-existing notion of being different. This is hard in any context or situation. In therapy, it can create a barrier that is detrimental as well as merely slowing down the process of establishing trust.

Sitting across a therapist that you don’t instantly develop a rapport with is by no means a reflection of said therapist’s professional abilities. This person whom you perhaps feel either no connection with or even unease in their company, could quite possibly be another person’s ideal therapist. Furthermore, said therapist might on paper have the exact qualities you believe are needed in order to work together. So why doesn’t it feel right?


Human connection, or indeed any connection between sentiment beings, is hard to capture in words. I believe most of us can agree that it is an abstract experience rather than an exact chain-of-events that can be summarised as a process. In short; it’s a gut feeling.

Choosing the therapist that is right for you is as important as wearing the right size shoes. Too small/you feel unease in the presence of your therapist, and the journey will be unnecessarily uncomfortable. Too big/you feel no connection to your therapist, and the journey will take longer as you will repeatedly trip. The right fit doesn’t change the direction or the end goal, but you are better equipped for the journey itself.

A therapist you feel gets you from the moment you meet is a very good indication of the working relationship that is to come. However, this can only be established by arranging that first meeting. For some that will mean a phone call or a video call. For others it can take the form of an initial assessment in person.

These appointments are often 15-30 minutes long and can sometimes be free of charge or at a reduced rate, depending on the individual therapist. Arranging ‘taster sessions’ or ‘initial assessments’ are for the benefit of both therapist and prospective client, giving both parties the chance to assess whether a working relationship is appropriate. Don’t be concerned about offending the therapist should you decide not to come back. If it doesn’t feel right for you, it most likely did not feel right for the therapist either.

Unapologetically you – the only way to be

Regardless of your reasons for reaching out to a therapist, know you will be heard, seen, and believed as long as you bring you to the sessions. A professional therapist will not judge you for your actions, behaviour, feelings, or thoughts but instead practice their skill of being as unbiased as possible. But therapists are also humans. And you will undoubtedly get a feeling whether the person in front of you is someone you instinctively feel you can trust, feel at ease with, and who will make you feel safe.

As in any relationship, this connection is best established as early on as possible. But to enter a relationship that will quite possibly be the most intense you have ever experienced, it takes bravery to bring you in its raw, vulnerable form to a complete stranger. It also takes perseverance; continuing to search for your therapist should you not be so lucky to have found them instantaneously.

Your journey through therapy may be brief or long. Make sure you invest in the right therapist for you.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author. All articles published on Counselling Directory are reviewed by our editorial team.

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Devizes, Wiltshire, SN10 1JG
Written by Linda C. Nordlund, (BScHonsPsych)
Devizes, Wiltshire, SN10 1JG

Linda C. Nordlund is an integrated counsellor working from her private practice in Devizes, Wiltshire. An advocate for 'therapy for all' she is passionate about removing both the stigmatic label - and presumptions surrounding 'mental health', welcoming instead the notion of 'reactions to life' as opposed to 'state of mind'.

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