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Check you have the right client

Check you have the right person before you begin your session. There is scope for confusion in busy clinics, but mistakes can occur even in otherwise empty waiting rooms. There was only one person in the waiting area. I said her name and she followed me into my room....

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...

My client won’t do as I say

One of the major challenges to the therapeutic alliance arises when the client fails to follow the therapist’s advice. Therapists can often be heard to complain that clients reject their instructions (sorry, “advice”) out of hand: Don’t they want to get better? Why...

Overusing clients’ names can mask inattention

Use of a client’s name to foster engagement may mask flagging concentration and inattention. Using a client’s name sparingly permits more accurate judgement of attention to the conversation or task. “…a person’s name is to that person the sweetest and...

Using clients’ given names uninvited can backfire

Uninvited use of a client’s given name can impede rapport in a number of ways. Moving from a position of formality to informality and intimacy is easier than backtracking. A therapist’s first encounter with a client usually requires the use of their name, if...