Readiness Assessment – How Do You Know
When Someone Can Benefit from Psychotherapy?

Dr. King


by Dr. Jeanne King, Ph.D.



The patient’s partner asks, “How do I know she can benefit from psychotherapy?” And I’m honored to have the answer roll right out of me.

This is a question that many family members have once they reach that point of doubt. You know what I mean. Doubt that the patient will be anything other than what they are.

It is also a question I get from the family members that are entangled co-dependently with the identified patient. It is the question of someone with resistance of their own.

Answering this question for yourself and for those intimately involved with the patient can aid in establishing an alliance and collaborative commitment to psychotherapeutic change.

The following readiness assessment is how I know when an identified patient is a good candidate for psychotherapy…

1) Their resistance is porous.

Resistance is a natural part of the therapeutic process. It is the psyche holding its own in the face of perceived threat to alter the way things are.

It is our natural boundary that works as a barrier against the threat of being anything other than what is. It is that within all of us that aids in maintaining the status quo.

Patients that are good candidates for psychotherapy have a porous resistance. It has a supple quality to it that moves, bends and opens with their inner inquiry.

2) They have easy access to their inner world.

By inner world I mean the personal datum that contributes to who and what you are psychologically, mentally, emotionally, physically, socially and spiritually. Some people when directed to the place within themselves where they feel things can taste it, whereas others cannot.

3) Their readiness factor is above 90.

Readiness is key to any kind of therapeutic change. One must want things to be different than they are. And they must want it in a way that they are willing to entertain giving up what is…to have it…to become it…to open unto it.

I’m reminded of a passage by Anaire Nin that says this so well: “And the day came…when the desire to remain the same was more painful than the risk…to grow.”

If you are a therapist or a family member of a person who needs psychological help, and you are scratching your head wondering if there is any point to proceeding with a therapeutic intervention, then you will benefit by being mindful of the readiness assessment and candidacy requirements listed above. It will save you time and it will save the patient both time and money.

For more information about psychotherapy and counseling, visit www.enddomesticabuse.org/consulting.html Dr. Jeanne King, Ph.D. is a seasoned psychologist and consulting expert on family violence intervention and prevention. Copyright 2009 Jeanne King, Ph.D.

Dr. Jeanne King, Ph.D. – Domestic Violence Prevention and Intervention

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Dr. Jeanne King is a licensed psychologist and domestic abuse consultant. Feel free to contact us if you need help with physical and/or emotional pain, stress-related illnesses, or relationship abuse issues at home or in court. Contact Us to reach Dr. King.