Why some clients get benefited from counseling where as others dont ?
Why some people can get healed, where as others can’t ?
What stops a person from healing himself or herself ?
What are the patterns of clients that hinder the process of counseling?
I worked as a Counselling Psychologist for more than 2 years. I myself was/is a client who is working on self from more than 5 years. Many of my clients got better by dealing with symptoms and illnesses. But only very few clients completely got healed by getting into touch with unconscious. Knowing unconscious intentions and healing self is like plucking the roots of the problem!
My practical experiences as a client and as a Psychologist, my failures, my healing process and healing process of my clients taught me certain lessons.
I learned that the following patterns of clients hinder the process of Counselling.
1. Irregularity and inconsistency
Few clients seek help from counsellor only when they are in trouble. When they get better, they disappear. They again visit Counsellor after months, when they start suffering. They think that Counselling is like medical treatment and they need to approach therapist only when they have problem.
When clients who are in traumatic condition approaches counsellor asking for help, counsellor first tries to stabilize the clients by teaching relaxation techniques, self help tips, etc. that is just the initial phase. When clients feel better after 2 to 3 sessions, that is the time for them to actually go forward and explore themselves. But most of the clients assume that their therapy is over and they quit. Anology to this is, a person joining gym to do body building, doing warmup exercises and thinking that his/her job is over.
2. Making attempts to control the Counsellor
Some clients think that they are being very polite. They use words like sorry and please. But they write controlling kind of messages by using polite sentences. Eg: ” I am so sorry to ask like this, but please give me two sessions in a week.” It is the counsellor who decides whether a client needs extra sessions or not. The above mentioned statement is a controlling kind of statement that appears polite. Its controlling because, client is trying to play role of counsellor and deciding what a counsellor has to do.
Some clients further try to emotionally manipulate counsellor by writing about their pain. Eg: “You don’t know how painful my life is. So please agree to what I asked.”
3. Not Trusting the Counsellor
Ofcourse it is the responsibility of counsellor to build trust. But counsellor can do that only if client comes forward and atleast gives opportunity to Counsellor. Some clients unconsciously share some secrets, observe the response of the counsellor and evaluate counsellor based on how she/he responds. That means, they are open to trust. But other clients hide their secrets. If clients don’t take initiative, counsellor cannot even do anything to convey that he/she is non judgemental.
4. Seeking Validation but not Help
Some clients approach counsellor only to seek validation. They predecide what counsellor has to do in session. They expect counsellor to tell them that what they are thinking is right. They don’t wish to see objective picture. Job of counsellor is to show objective picture to clients but not to endorse anything or everything that client believes. Some clients try to get reassurance about whether Counselling can help them or not.
5. Giving importance to secondary gains
Clients who suffer from mental health issues like anxiety, depression, low self esteem get stuck in enmeshed relationships. In most of the cases, they get validation from romantic partners and assume that it is emotional support. Their family members take their decisions, and as a result they lack freedom. But they perceive control or abuse as protection or love. Some of the clients become perfectionists and as a result they achieve ranks, jobs, etc. These are called secondary gains because when a client gains them, he / she looses self esteem. Gains that are gained at cost of self esteem are secondary gains!
During counseling, the clients who think that they are happy with enmeshed romantic relation or overprotective family or their achievements, often they tend to quit Counselling in order to protect their biased perspectives.
Some clients only approach counsellor to gossyp. They keep on blaming someone throughout the session. They only blame someone during session, without talking anything about self, own emotions and thoughts. Their intention is not to gain self awareness or to heal or to get help. Their intention is to get validation from counsellor, so that they can go on blaming others without any second thoughts.
Talking about abusers is very much different from this because clients who talk about abusers talk with a different intention, i.e., to express, but not to get endorsement.
My intention behind writing this article is not to blame or judge any client. I am making an attemt to explain clients, who feel unhappy about their progress, about why they are not progressing. At the same time, I am also sharing my experiences to educate budding psychologists.