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You can always be misunderstood

There are two aims in any conversation: unambiguous expression of your own position and complete comprehension of the other person’s views. We should always remember that neither of these aims is a realistic goal. A client told me of an ante-natal appointment at which...

You will upset your clients

Apparently innocuous comments can upset your clients. You can’t avoid triggering issues unknown to you, but you can be ready to respond if they are brought to light. One participant in a relaxation class became increasingly agitated as the relaxation script was read...

Ensure that your client can say stop

Ensure that your client can tell you to stop or to go away. All but the most severely disabled clients should be able communicate these instructions and should be encouraged to do so. Professional codes of conduct require informed consent to treatment. Clients with...

Aim for reliability before availability

Reliability is more important than availability in the long run. Clients who know when you are not available can make informed choices regarding alternative sources of support. I once worked with a client who rang her GPs so frequently and insistently that they...

Work with, not around, chaotic clients

Therapists can either work on, or work around, the chaos in client’s lives. Identifying clients, rather than their circumstances, as chaotic risks disempowering the client. “Chaotic” seems to be one of the mildest “unofficial diagnoses” a therapist can apply...

Give clients your full name and title

Introduce yourself with your full name and professional title. Clients can then decide how to address you as rapport builds, especially if you provide a reminder of your name (ie: a readable ID badge). One client called me “doc” for most of our first meeting,...