This check-list was give to me by my counselling tutor when I was in training over a decade ago.
I remember thinking at the time that the list was very judgmental , however over the years I have come appreciate it’s wisdom.
Fact is, as therapists we sometimes have to work harder with some clients than others, have a look at it , one thing that binds all the issues outlined below is attachment.
Clients who have a history of abuse , neglect or consistent criticism may consciously or sub -consciously set themselves and their therapist up to fail, repeating a cycle of ‘why am I worth it ?’ or ‘no one can help’ .
The check list gives a ‘psychological heads up, of the hard work both of you will experience as the therapy progresses, paradoxically it is the ” hard to help client” who probably needs the most support.
It may also be worth remembering that in the process of helping , you the therapist may need to exercise self care and increase your supervision ratios, when working with clients who are harder to help,.
- Does the client have a history of help seeking ?
- Has the client faced protracted criticism in the past?
- Is there a history of violence in the family?
- Have significant carers been emotionally unavailable for long periods?
- Are there unresolved issues related to death and separation ?
Client beliefs and behaviour
- Does the client expect to fail
- Does the client expect you to fail them
- Does the client expect you to reject them
- Is the client overly compliant or demanding or both
- Does the client have idealistic or unrealistic expectations
- Does the client have difficulty sustaining close relationships?
- Does the client feel isolated?
- Do you feel manipulated
- Do you see-saw between feeling criticised and needed?
- Do you feel rejected
- Do you feel guilty for letting the client down?
- Do you feel the client attempt to ‘dump’ their problems and emotions on you?
- Do you have difficulty trusting the client
- Do you feel that relationships outside the counselling room are being replicated within it without changes taking place as a result
- Do you feel boundaries which you have set are being challenged ?
Do you have any observations regarding clients that you have had to go an ‘extra mile with?
Why not post you comments below we would love to read them !