This is usually someone who has the personal resolve and fortitude to do good work, the support system to reinforce the work that we’re doing, and a legitimate need that they were not directly responsible for creating.
Normally, I am cautious about “scaring away” my clients by being too hard or too direct with them.
I tend to be a little cautious.
I always thought this was because I am an in-tune therapist who doesn’t want to overwhelm my folks.
But, with my last pro bono client, I found out that I wasn’t as afraid to say some of the harder things to them that needed to be said.
Why was it easier to say the hard things to my free client but not my paying ones?
It’s Hard To Admit…
… but with my pro bono client I had less to lose. If they stopped seeing me I wasn’t losing any income.
I didn’t have as much at risk personally by scaring them off.
It wasn’t because I was thinking about their needs. It was more of a selfish motivation. Conter-transference at it’s finest.
When I realized that some of my own stuff was entering into the process, I had to take a hard look at the ways I was treating my other clients. I had to ask my self, “Was my own fear of losing their income actually compromising the treatment they were receiving?”
When you sit with you clients, it’s important to be able to offer them the things that they need—even if that costs you something important.
If you’re withholding the very things that will help them most out of fear of hurting yourself in some way, it’s time to risk losing. It’s time to refine your counseling technique and get your own needs out of the way.
If you’re not sure if you’re doing this, answer the following question:
“If you treated all of your client as if your livelihood didn’t depend upon it, what would change?”
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