In this chapter, three essential characteristics of an effective therapeutic relationship were identified: empathy, unconditional positive regard, and congruence or genuineness. Therapists also instill hope in their clients. List each of these characteristics on a piece of paper. Then select at least one (but no more than three) that you believe is already a strength for you. For each, write out your rationale for believing you would be successful in transmitting that quality to a client. For example, you might perceive yourself as very empathic because you can easily engage people in conversations and are a good listener who is not judgmental. For each of the items you did not select, write down one change you might make to maximize your ability to transmit that characteristic to clients. For example, you might try to communicate more unconditional positive regard to others by deliberately acknowledging positive statements they have made about themselves. To improve your ability to communicate hope, you might focus on making fewer judgmental statements and instead look for new possibilities.
List some of the important perspectives or viewpoints you would bring with you if you were a client. Write briefly about how you would like a therapist to adapt counseling to meet your needs. What can you learn from this about your own work as a therapist?