“Demanding” clients are often making legitimate requests. Therapists applying such a label should consider whether it is the client’s requests or the service’s lack of resources which is unrealistic.
“Demanding” is a label often applied to clients by therapists, although rarely within earshot of clients. The label influences the responsiveness of the service to the client’s stated needs by implying that their requests for assistance are in some way inappropriate or excessive.
The stereotypical demanding client is therefore one who places undue demands upon the service, seeking longer or more regular contact with their therapist than is usual or seeking access to medications and other resources which would drain the budget of the service.
Therapists should be aware that clients may see them in a very different light. They should also be aware that these impressions are a matter of perspective and there may be fewer real differences than either therapist or client imagines.
Robert Burns wrote
Wad that God the giftie gie us
To see ourselves as others see us
In principle we all have such a gift (except perhaps people with autism, but thatâ€™s another discussion). In practice, this gift tends to be underused, especially in the consulting room.
Some terms used by therapists to describe clients have meanings which wonâ€™t be found in textbooks. Use of these terms is rarely of benefit to the client, although the term may say as much about the therapist as the client.
- resistant to treatment
- lacking motivation
- poor historian
- personality disordered
As diagnostic systems have developed, common place words have been redefined more narrowly & precisely for clinical use (eg: anxiety, depression).
As therapeutic professions have developed, there has been a less auspicious development: diagnostic labels have developed double meanings and common place words have been elevated to the level of diagnoses without the scientific scrutiny afforded official classifications.