Before she answered, she hesitated…
I could tell she wanted to say ‘yes’, but there was still something in the way. So, she answered my question with her own question.
“Do you care about me?”
She needed to know if I actually liked her or did I just tolerate her. She was worried that I might be wanting to refer her onto to someone else because I didn’t really like her.
Care Comes Before Trust
Your clients need to know that you are emotionally invested in them.
Before they can offer trust to you, they need something from you—your unconditional regard.
So, this leads to a very important question. “Do you actually care about your clients?”
Not the therapeutic empathy that is taught in graduate school. Not the active listening skills and redirected questions we’re taught to mimic back. Not the ‘Your hour is almost up so what’s really going on here?’ efficiency of a busy schedule.
Are you personally invested in your clients and able to tell them that you’re not going to be one more person that they open up to just to have that person step out of their lives again?
You don’t have to be the primary support person for your client—in fact I don’t recommend that model.
What I do recommend is providing stability and personal connection to each of your clients that gives them the stability and predicability to be able to learn how to trust again.
This is not the easiest counseling model. But I do believe it is one of the more effective models.
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