One of the major factors in how therapy helps is the relationship and the partnership between the counselor and the person getting services.  In many ways therapists are coaches and, like coaches, vary in how they work with people. 

 There are three overall types of coaches. The first is the autocrat, the expert who tells you what to do and sees any questioning as resistance and noncompliance.  Think of Bobby Knight as a model for this. The traditional medical model may follow this style in the hands of persons who think they are more expert on you than you are.  They tell you what to do because they know best and may or may not listen to what you have to say. 

The second style of coach is more laissez faire, there but not giving much feedback or direction.  The person may listen and may listen very well, but that is about it. Decisiveness is not a key part of this style.

The third style is collaborative and teaching.   In coaching, John Wooden was more this style.  He never told his teams to go out and win.  He asked them to prepare and to do their best, and he helped them to find the way to be their best as individuals and as a team.  When we collaborate with each other, we each bring our expertise to the relationship.  You bring the knowledge of you, of what has worked and what has not, and of what you want to change.  It is the therapist’s job to help you define that change and to establish workable achievable goals.  The counselor is there with you, working with you as a unique individual – not as a diagnosis – to help you do your best. There is no resistance.  Resistance happens when the client’s goal and the counselor’s goal are not the same.  In that case, resistance is a normal behavior, and the team – the counselor and the individual – collaborate to get back on track.

A fundamental key in counseling is the therapeutic relationship and the partnership of the counselor and the individual. Collaboration and working as a team can help positive change occur faster and can help sustain that change.