Living Through Some Positive Experiences of Psychotherapy

in Journal of Phenomenological Psychology
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Abstract

In this article three clients were asked to describe some alleviation of symptoms that they may have experienced in psychotherapy. The descriptions were broad enough so that they were able to be characterized as positive experiences. Positive experiences were easy to come by but they took place within a context of ongoing therapy that included as well negative experiences and lack of progress. Instrumental for the existence of the positive experiences was a high quality relationship with the therapist that was safe, trusting, caring and non-judgmental. Phenomenological reflections on the empirical findings indicated 1) that focused symptom relief was not necessarily the best strategy for outcome evaluation of therapy, 2) threw doubt on termination of therapy as a good criterion for the experience of therapy and 3) concluded that the relationship between therapist and client is complex but unified in a way that needs further clarification.

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