Your session is almost complete and you and your client are ready to say goodbye. You are both walking to the door and suddenly your client says, “By the way…” and tells you something worrisome. It could be anything from “I’ve decided to go off my medication” to “I just met this woman and we’re getting married!” Why didn’t your client tell you this at the beginning of the session?
“Mindfulness” is surely one of the least helpful labels of cognitive experience. Given that we exist twenty-four hours a day within our own skulls, how can we be anything but mindful? The term needs to be explained to clients.
One—though not the only—element of much mindfulness work is a focus on the present moment and sensory experience. A concrete metaphor for this can be more memorable than any description.
By Rebecca E. Williams, PhD and Julie S. Kraft, LMFT
A therapist friend of mine chooses not to treat clients with substance abuse problems. He says, “I just don’t get it. They are clearly ruining their lives; can’t they just stop drinking or using?” Even professionals have a hard time understanding the repetitive patterns of substance dependence. Here are the five things your addicted client wants you to know:
When clients get in touch with difficult emotions in session, crying is a normative behavioral reaction. At times, a client’s level of emotional distress may appear to escalate to an out-of-control level.
Notice your reaction to the client’s emotion, even the thought that it is out of control. If you want to control your client’s emotions, notice this urge and reorient to being with the client in that moment, sitting with him or her compassionately.
As therapists, it’s important to help our clients identify and understand where their anger is coming from so that they can feel more in control of their behavior. Teaching your client to tame the raw emotion of anger will help them channel and release their anger in more appropriate ways.
For teens to buy into anxiety treatment, they need to understand how anxiety works and how to tell the difference between real and false alarms. One of the most effective ways I have found to do this, with clients of all ages, is with the following story.