A collaborative therapy is one in which:

  • The expertise of clients is given at least as much weight as the expertise of therapists.
  • Clients are regularly part of the treatment planning process:
Clients are consulted about goals, directions and responses to the process and methods of therapy
Diagnostic procedures, conclusions and case notes are available, transparent and understandable to clients (no jargon or theoretical or technical terms which aren,t explained in plain, simple language).
  • The therapist asks questions and makes speculations in a non-authoritarian way, giving the client ample room and permission to disagree or correct the therapist. Therapists give clients many options and let them coach the therapist on the next step or the right direction. If the therapist has an idea and is keeping it as a hidden agenda, he or she makes it public, putting it out in the conversation not as the truth or the right direction, but as an idea, a personal perception or an impression.
  • The therapist is wary of "theory countertransference. Theory countertransference is evident when the therapist continues to "discover the same kinds of problems in client after client (e.g. "unresolved losses, or Multiple Personality Disorder). This also means not imposing one,s beliefs and therapeutic values on clients, lives. The therapist claims no special knowledge about the best way for the client to live after resolving his or her therapeutic concerns (e.g., that it is best for clients to use "I messages or always express their feelings).
  • Other helpers are given respect and no attributions of bad intentions or wrong approaches are implied regarding their treatment. They are invited into cooperative relationships by inquiring about what their views of the situation are and what the outcomes they expect from treatment are. If they are willing to say, you can ask them about how you might help with or at least not interfere with their treatment. This does not mean that one has to accept or support everything other helpers do. The first loyalty is to the client(s). So, as usual, stories of impossibility, blame, invalidation and determinism are gently and subtly challenged by acknowledging their possible validity and introducing alternate possibilities.
  • Clients (consumers) are given the opportunity to comment on the process of helping (critiquing, appreciating or coaching) and to share their expertise with others, thereby elevating their status from passive needy recipients to active expert contributors.


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