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Cognizance Therapeutic Principle

Cognizance in Therapy

When applied to the implementation in therapy, cognizance refers to the process of becoming aware of one’s thoughts, feelings, and behaviors in order to better understand and manage them. This can involve exploring past experiences, current patterns of thinking and behavior, and identifying areas where change may be needed. The goal of increasing cognizance in therapy is to help clients develop greater self-awareness, which can lead to improved emotional regulation, healthier relationships, and greater overall well-being. Techniques such as mindfulness, cognitive-behavioral therapy, and psychodynamic therapy are often used to help clients develop greater cognizance in therapy.

Understanding, Incorporating, and Improving the Therapist-Client Relationship

As a therapist, the relationship between you and your client is one of the most critical components of the therapy process. A strong and trusting therapeutic alliance can provide a foundation for change and growth, while a weak relationship can undermine the effectiveness of treatment. Therefore, it is essential to understand and improve the relationship between the therapist and the client.

Cognizance Therapeutic Principle

As a professional full-time online therapist, I have for a number of years worked with clients in a way that I believe is founded on empathy, equality and respect, I now call this the cognizance therapeutic principle.
When I am working as a therapist, I do my best to create a harmonious and equal relationship between therapist and client. Although there is always going to be a natural inequality between therapist and client, I found a way of working that partly redresses the balance in a few important areas.

The Cognizance way of working


The Cognizance Therapeutic principle is about helping the therapist to be mindful of the importance and value of the client. It expects that the therapist will treat the client as a person of equal value and of equal importance, to recognise the importance of respecting upholding and protecting the client’s autonomy and self-determination. As a therapist I believe in working in a mindful way that aims to enhance the importance of the client within the therapeutic alliance, in a way that I believe is founded on equality and respect that I call the cognizance therapeutic principle.


The principle is founded on the belief that all humans are equal and treated on an equal standing, whatever their race religion sex or sexual orientation. This way of working attempts to prioritise the focus of the relationship between therapist and client in a way that prioritises enhances the clients experience, helps build trust and rapport, while confirming the client’s importance, self-determination and independence.

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Understanding the Therapist-Client Relationship

The therapeutic relationship is not just about the exchange of information or the application of techniques, but it is about the connection between two individuals. It is about creating a safe, non-judgmental, and supportive environment where clients can explore their thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. To understand the therapist-client relationship, we must first understand the role of the therapist.

The role of the therapist is to facilitate the client’s self-exploration and growth. The therapist’s role is not to judge, diagnose, or prescribe. Instead, they should provide an empathetic and supportive environment where clients can process their experiences and gain new insights. The therapist should also create a safe and non-threatening atmosphere, where clients can feel comfortable sharing their thoughts and feelings.

Incorporating Cognizance in Therapy

The therapist-client relationship is not just about the client’s internal process but also about the therapeutic process itself. Therefore, it is important to be cognizant of the relationship and the impact it has on the therapy process. To incorporate cognizance in therapy, the therapist should be mindful of the following aspects:

Therapist Awareness

The therapist should be aware of their own thoughts, feelings, and attitudes towards the client and the therapeutic process. They should also be mindful of their own biases and limitations and work to minimize the impact they may have on the therapeutic relationship.

Active Listening

Active listening is an essential component of the therapeutic relationship. The therapist should be fully present and engaged with the client, giving their full attention to what the client is saying. The therapist should also provide non-judgmental and empathetic responses, helping the client to feel heard and understood.

Empathy

Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of another person. Empathy is a critical component of the therapeutic relationship, and it can help to build trust and rapport between the therapist and the client. The therapist should work to understand the client’s perspective and experiences, providing a supportive and non-judgmental environment where the client can feel heard and understood.

Improving the Therapist-Client Relationship

To improve the therapeutic relationship, the therapist should continually strive to understand and incorporate cognizance into their practice. The following steps can help the therapist to improve the therapeutic relationship:

Self-Reflection

The therapist should engage in self-reflection, regularly examining their thoughts, feelings, and attitudes towards the therapeutic relationship. Self-reflection can help the therapist to identify areas of improvement and work to minimize the impact of their own biases and limitations on the therapeutic relationship.

Continuous Education

Continuous education is an essential component of professional development. The therapist should continually strive to improve their skills and knowledge, regularly attending workshops, conferences, and training opportunities. This can help to maintain the therapist’s competency and improve the therapeutic relationship.

Feedback

The therapist should also seek feedback from their clients, regularly inquiring about their experiences and perceptions of the therapeutic relationship. This feedback can help the therapist to identify areas of improvement and work to strengthen the

Actualising cognizance.

The therapeutic alliance between therapist and client is inherently unequal, as the client is always being seen as needing support, the therapist is seen as inheriting the supporting role.
As there will always be an imbalance of influence between therapist and client in the therapeutic relationship, the relationship can still be directed by the therapist to show, that both therapist and client are both recognised as being equally important, by introducing the principle at the start of therapy. I achieve that by informing the client of four working practices I use that are based on the principle.

Working practices

There is no charge for the first session.

All therapists need to do risk assessments and check to see if the client is suitable before taking them on as prospective clients. (especially working online) As successful therapy is frequently dependant on the strength of the therapeutic relationship, the client needs to be able to spend some time to see if they feel able to connect with the therapist, before any financial commitment. Not every therapist is suitable for every client, so the client should not have to pay for the ability to discover such a basic necessity.

No charges for missed appointments

This in some cases both disrespects and punishes the client, the therapist because of the natural imbalance between therapist and client is able to impose the rules with impunity and even in effect blame the client, doing so not only disrespects the client but confirms that the therapist is superior.

No payments required until after the therapy session

The invoice is sent after the therapy session has ended to allow the client time to evaluate the session and their commitment to therapy, without any pressure to continue from the therapist, this gives power to the client to make a choice on their terms and enhances their independence.

No advanced payments required.

No payments are requested in advance, or booking deposits, a therapist demanding a payment in advance of the therapy session is both disrespecting the client and also bringing the clients trust into question, not a good start to a therapist client supposedly built on mutual trust and respect.

The exceptions

As therapy is complex there need to be a set of exceptions to protect the therapist from abusive or unusual conditions.

Client insists on paying
If the client has requested or insists on making a payment for missing an appointment, the therapist can send the invoice and request payment. Insisting on not charging could disrespect the clients wishes and personal ethics, so graciously excepting the reimbursement would be beneficial by recognising the importance of the clients wishes, this may also confirm the client’s ability to make personal choices and further confirm their independence.

Client responsibility
Constantly missing sessions can be seen as the client creating an advantage over the therapist and being disrespectful, there could be mitigating circumstances that a therapist can judge as reasonable, such as the client is terminally ill and suffering from unpredictable consequences of the illness, under such conditions therapist may modify their arrangements.

The client and therapist each have an equal responsibility to attend any therapy sessions, if the client has missed a number of sessions, the therapist may renegotiate the relationship, this could include a condition that the client will pay for any further missed appointments without 48 hours prior notice, or even insisting on payment in advance before any more appointments can be booked. This is allowing the therapist to protect themselves for being abused.

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