Are some clients more difficult than others?

What are some difficulties that a counselor can encounter when dealing with a client?

David Klein
David Klein
Humanistic Psychotherapy for Individuals & Couples

Yes, just like some relationships outside of our work are more difficult than others. But, I would not say that the "client is more difficult," rather the dynamic between myself and the client, which constitutes a relationship, might feel more difficult. And that's okay (sometimes things that feel like the most challenging end up with profound shifts and outcomes.) It is often helpful to understand difficulties that exist, because they can illuminate for a therapist something with which a client might be struggling, and when it takes place in the therapy space, it can be experienced and then worked through.

It's hard to necessarily say what some difficulties are that a counselor might encounter, but I would say that not showing up, like in any relationship, is one of the hardest things for me. And not just physically not showing up (though that is certainly frustrating), but not being open to the work is a form of not showing up. While not every client is as "motivated to change," it's helpful to my therapist-client relationships that the client try. It might be hard for them, but the effort even to say "this is tough for me" can go a long way in these kinds of relationships.

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.
Sherry Katz, LCSW
Sherry Katz, LCSW
Couples and Family Therapist, LCSW

Each counselor will have their own list of "difficulties" in doing therapy work with a client.  Even if clinically trained similarly, since counselors are human then their response to your question will reflect their unique differences as humans.

On my list is when the emotional pain I feel for someone describing some type of injustice or unfair treatment by another, feels very deep.

Sometimes I feel like avoiding the pain I feel by asking questions which will steer the conversation away from the painful areas the client talks about.

What in fact is necessary to clear out their pain, is to step further into so as to realize their emotional pain isn't greater than who they are.

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.

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