Respecting clients’ autonomy is probably the most important aspect about being a psychotherapist. There are too many powerful forces and individuals in life that attempt to control the actions and thoughts of individuals. These include adverts, controlling parents, friends, teachers, bosses and so forth. But, in the consulting room, the control must be given to the patient or client. As a psychotherapist, one must be careful not to lead clients: they must make their own decisions in the consulting room and in their own life. Further, they should be in control of the pace and the topics of their own free exploration. Short-, mid- and long-term goals, even if discussed with the psychotherapist, should also be chosen and worked out by the client. It is the psychotherapist’s role to encourage clients to be more in control in the family and in the work context.
However, the clinician must weigh up the client’s capacity to make informed decisions in the psychotherapy. Although, clients are in the best position to understand what they need to do in their own, unique life situation, they are not always the best people to plan strategically their course of action (Lankton, 2010). Certainly, in the early stages of therapy, some direction should be given in order to move clients on so that they can achieve their initial goals in the therapy. However, homework tasks and treatment modalities should always be negotiated with clients: they should never be told what to do. It is the psychotherapist’s hope that, after the early intervention, clients will be much more in control of their lives.