I was in a Facebook group earlier today, that is all about psychotherapists, and in this particular Facebook group people ask questions like, “How do you handle this situation or that situation.” I was scrolling through this group, and it’s a group I’ve been a member of for about a decade. Most of the questions start with, “I have a client with X, Y or Z problem. What approach should I use to deal with this client problem?”

I get so frustrated when I hear questions like that, because it’s actually not the therapy that makes a difference, it’s the therapist. It’s actually not which approach you use that makes a difference, it’s your clinical skill, your clinical confidence, and your ability to believe in a client that makes the difference.

I wish so badly that people would stop asking these questions, because they’re asking the wrong question. If you want to make a difference in a client’s life, you have to understand the impact and power of the relationship you have on that client. It has nothing to do with a therapeutic approach, other than that’s the vehicle we use to maintain a relationship.

It’s not like one problem deserves one approach, or one situation is best handled by one therapy model. That’s not the way this works.

You are a gifted clinician, because you have a heart for connection, because you have an ability to connect on a higher level than most people, because you have a high level of empathy, because you connect well with complete and total strangers, and make them feel safe in order to tell you what’s going on in their lives, in order to tell you the things that they’re not comfortable telling anybody else, in order to talk to you in a way that leads towards healing. That’s why you make a difference.

Now, for me, the way I do that, the way I facilitate connection in my sessions, is with Solution Focused Brief Therapy. But, that’s certainly not the only way to do it. We got to move away from this thinking where we’re trying to match client problems with some sort of clinical approach. That negates your special ability. Remember, it’s not the therapy that makes a difference, it’s you.