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Set limits on diaries & records

Set clear limits on diary-keeping and other journals. By asking for the minimum amount of information necessary, you increase the chances of obtaining reliable data. Journals and other records kept by the client are a useful adjunct to most therapeutic approaches and...

Have stuck clients keep a prospective diary

Ask clients stuck awaiting change to keep a prospective diary. An explicit account of life after the hoped-for change can help clients unstick themselves and start changing now. Some clients (and some therapists) get stuck awaiting a single change which will solve all...

Leave deduction to Sherlock Holmes

Deductions impress clients, but incorrect deductions can be disastrous. Deductive reasoning has its place in therapy, but only as a means of generating hypotheses on which you can work with clients. A client who usually had bare arms arrived in a long-sleeved shirt on...

Think before you act for your client

Stop and think before you take action on behalf of your client. You may be depriving them of the opportunity to help themselves (with appropriate support). Therapists are people who want to help. People of equivalent qualifications in other fields are usually paid...

Leave contracts out of the first session

Many therapists set explicit goals and use treatment contracts with their clients. Goal setting provides a focus for therapy: contracts indicate that both parties have agreed to the terms of the therapy (or should: the contract you use does bind the therapist as well...

Know your client’s strengths

If you don’t know your client’s strengths, how can you capitalise upon them? Client factors account for 40% of the variance in outcomes and a wise therapist will play to their client’s strengths. Clients are often defined solely in terms of their difficulties....