Therapeutic Ambience & Goals
Moving to Adlerian therapy per se,Â a prominentÂ feature of the therapeutic ambience is the equal relationship between client and therapist. Indeed, the therapeutic allianceÂ mayÂ be the client’s first experience of a truly democratic and co-operative partnership. This is manifest, for example, in the seating arrangements, client and therapist facing each other in chairs of equal height and size, with no desks or other intervening “barriers”.
The Adlerian therapist also strives to create an atmosphere of lighthearted education and seeks to encourage and empower. This may be achieved by demonstrating faith in the client, acting as ifÂ clients have full responsibility for their decisions and actions, focusing on strengths and abilities, and displaying warmth and genuine interest. Several counterproductive therapeutic strategies are thereby avoided, most notably blaming, judging, moralising, criticising, interrupting and “rescuing”. It is evident that many subsequent forms of psychotherapy have followed suit in observing these Adlerian guidelines.
Achievement of therapeutic goals is proposed to be determined as much by the quality of the therapeutic relationship as by techniques employed.Â Objectives are mutually agreed between client and therapist and, in additionÂ to resolution of the presenting issue, will generally include many of the following: fostering social interest; orienting to commonsense goals; cultivating the courage to be imperfect; decreasing sense of inferiority; encouraging a sense of confidence, optimism and security; and approaching and taking responsibility for fulfilling the obligations of the three life tasks.