I would argue that subconscious rapport is the most important factor that leads to the level of comfort and safety that is required to create openness and authenticity by the client, leading to change, led by the therapist. Subconscious rapport is a survival mechanism built to ensure our safety. Our safety is largely governed by the ‘old’ or ‘reptilian’ brain. Way back when us humans lived in small groups on the plains, we heavily relied on our senses to help keep us safe from danger. Not only were humans hunted by animals, but also by feuding tribes. Our visual acuity evolved to allow us to pick up on subtle queues that indicated whether another human was a friend or foe. Is he one of ‘us’, or is he potentially going to hurt me, my family, my children.
It turns out that people who spend a lot of time together tend to act in similar ways. We pick up similar movements, similar ways of speaking and a whole host of subconscious movements, tones, looks, etc. from those who we spend most of our time with. These subconscious behaviors are considered normal, familiar and accepted ways of being. Those in the tribe (all behaving in similar ways) can be trusted because there is no risk of danger. These people are familiar. (The definition of “familiar” is: of a household or domestic). Your family is not going to hurt you, but a stranger might.
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Dr. Carl Rogers said:
“Any experience which is inconsistent with the organization of the structure of the self may be perceived as a threat.”
Someone from outside the tribe will not know these subtle queues, movements, tonalities, sayings. He or she is not familiar and not from within the family. In a world where unfamiliar people are a potential threat, the evolved ability for humans to pick up on these queues is an important survival trait.
In today’s modern society, these hard wired traits still help guide us and let us know who is friend and who is foe.
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The premise for MyTherapistMatch.com and MyCoachMatch.com is that we can improve the probability that you’ll find a therapist or coach who you will have immediate subconscious rapport with, so that you can have an opportunity to feel open and comfortable with the therapist. They will be familiar and therefore you can trust them, leading to the real possibility of therapeutic change.