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Rapport in the Therapeutic Relationship

So what is rapport? Therapeutic rapport involves an emotional connection between therapist and client characterized by empathy and mutual understanding. Rapport is a vital component of a healthy therapist-client interaction because it allows the client to feel heard, respected, safe, and comfortable.

When looking for the right therapist, you need to find one who has the appropriate skill set (i.e. do they have the knowledge, training and ability) to support you with your concerns. Although this is key in the therapeutic process, it is also important to explore how that individual makes you feel when you are exploring your concerns. The key emotion that you want to attend to is whether or not you feel safe as you speak about your presenting concerns.

Check-in and ask yourself the questions.

  • Do I feel heard?

  • Do I feel understood?

  • Do I feel seen?

  • Do I feel connected?

  • Do I feel that they REALLY understand the way that I am feeling?

  • Do I feel that I matter?

  • Do I feel I can trust this individual with my thoughts, feelings, and emotions?

  • Do I feel cared for in their presence?

  • Do I feel safe enough to be honest and open?

  • Do I feel like I can be myself?

What is Rapport and the Therapeutic Alliance All About?

The short answer is that it encourages vulnerability. Research evidence suggests that the therapeutic alliance develops through a mutual sense of honesty, trust, respect, and care. In psychotherapy, trust is essential for recovery and healing. Forming a strong bond with your counselor can encourage you to open up and dig deeper into the issues you may be experiencing. This is especially important if you have no prior experience with psychotherapy or are discussing your most intimate thoughts and feelings with someone outside of your closest social group (e.g. partner, parents, siblings, etc.).

As a result, the therapeutic relationship fosters feelings of security, confidence, reassurance, and vulnerability while also increasing self-acceptance and self-love.

When we experience a relationship that are rich with empathy, congruence, genuineness, attunement and unconditional positive regards, it can help you experience other relationships in a new way. By challenging previously held beliefs about yourself and others, the therapeutic alliance has the power to change your non-therapeutic relationships by providing a model of a healthy relationship in which you can be open, honest and authentic about your thoughts, feelings and emotions.


Therapy can be one of the scariest yet most rewarding journeys you can embark on. Gently holding these two facts may bring you the huge benefit of a rewarding therapeutic relationship, that can help you move closer to the life you want.

The client-therapist connection is critical because it determines the success of counseling and psychotherapy. In addition, the therapeutic alliance is important because it helps the client be willing to open up and participate in psychotherapy, which allows them to move toward more self-awareness and positive change.

The therapist-client relationship is unique. Unlike our other relationships, the relationship with a counselor is unbiased and nonjudgmental. The therapist is responsible for creating a safe environment where you can grow emotionally.

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