Therapists can either work on, or work around, the chaos in clientâ€™s lives. Identifying clients, rather than their circumstances, as chaotic risks disempowering the client.
Therapists should encourage and support, not dread, "helpful patients". Internet or other research by the client can indicate active involvement in treatment.
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 as the client, doesnâ€™t it?)
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 the situation, but they arenâ€™t!
Use of a clientâ€™s name to foster engagement may mask flagging concentration and inattention. Using a clientâ€™s name sparingly permits more accurate judgement of attention to the conversation or task.
Having too many goals can be as bad as having no goals. This is as true for therapists as for our clients, yet therapists may enter into a session with far too many goals to achieve in one sitting.