a therapeutic alliance

It is four weeks into 2011, and I have yet to settle into some sort of a routine. It’s not that I’m so busy as much as the fact that I’m just unorganized about activities, cleanliness—well, life in general. So, it’s probably no surprise that it took me until this week to actually call my psychotherapist, Dr. L, to make an appointment. (Why did it take me less of a time to schedule ECT? That, I do not know…)

It was my first time to see Dr. L for the year. I had not met with her in well over a month, so there was much that needed catching up. It was near the end of our session when she brought up that it’s almost been a year since I first started seeing Dr. L. Originally a referral from my psychiatrist Dr. A, I only expected to meet with Dr. L for just a few sessions of EMDR. But since that initial meeting, I felt like I ‘clicked’ with her, unlike with other therapists that I’ve seen while I was in college. And somehow, what was really supposed to be a short-term deal has turned into a relationship. And it’s a good thing, because according to a new study,  a good relationship between a patient and therapist is likely to improve the patient’s recovery from depression. Researchers from the University of Ghent in Belgium looked at the outcomes of 567 people with major depression who received six months of combined treatment with therapy and antidepressants. Sure, there were other factors that affected the rate of patient improvement, which included the initial severity of depression, a history of psychiatric disorders, job status and early improvement of depressive symptoms. But overall, a strong patient-therapist alliance meant a better progress in one’s condition. And I think I have an ally in Dr. L.

I scheduled a session for next week, of what will probably become one of many that I will schedule throughout this year. As I drive away from her office, I realize how lucky I am to her as part of my treatment team.


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