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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...

Helpful patients are not hateful patients

Therapists should encourage and support, not dread, “helpful patients”. Internet or other research by the client can indicate active involvement in treatment. In 1978 JE Groves described four categories of “hateful” patient, ie: the patients...

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...

My client is crying

Trainees (and clients) need to know that crying is common in therapy. Experienced therapists need to remember that crying may be common in therapy, but that crying in front of a stranger is probably a rare experience for any given client: you may now be relaxed about...

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...