We’ve asked our Facebook fans for their “Tips for Dealing with Clients who are Needy or have Difficult Personalities”. All of their input was intuitive and fun, so we picked some of our favorite tips and also had Dr. Brad’s team chime in too.
Tips from Dr. Brad’s Staff:
The biggest problem I’ve encountered is clients who want to tell you their life story, complain to you, and / or aren’t aware / respectful of the time limit. There are a few key phrases I’ve learned to use when necessary.
It’s nice to know some background information, but not all of it! If a client keeps talking and talking, this makes it impossible to do any actual work. Say something like, “Thank you for sharing that with me. I need to interrupt you now though, so we can continue working, as our time is limited.”
When your time is up, you can say, “That’s all the time we have for today.” Remember – your time is incredibly valuable, so stick to the allotted session time no matter what! If you give a client extra time, they will come to expect that from you every session afterward.
If a client requests that you give them something you don’t want to give (a discount, appointments outside regular hours, etc), you can say, “I’m sorry, that just won’t work for me.” You don’t have to explain why, if what they want doesn’t work for you, it doesn’t!
I think it’s important that as a practitioner, we control the session – not the client. If you keep firm control of the session and stick to healthy boundaries, you prevent the relationship from becoming co-dependent. Remember that you are in charge, and act that way.
If someone is disrespectful or rude to you, don’t let it slide! Let them know that their behavior doesn’t work for you. If it’s bad enough or if it continues, it’s okay to tell them you’re unable to work with them again, and suggest they find someone else who may be a better fit. – Natalie Nelson
Understand the difference between stumped and stuck people. Usually a lack of gratitude. Don’t overinvest in stuck people. There is little return on investment and they will blame you in the end when things don’t work out. – Steven K
For me it’s about being centered within myself, and that gives me space to be present with difficult clients. Then from that space comes inspiration for what to do. – Charan Surdhar
Remember if it was not for them you would not be doing a job you love. – Aaron J
Keeping within session time, demonstrating healthy boundaries from the first session, and being patient with your clients. – Kerry K
Stay centered, be empathetic, and slowly educate them on change …giving them easy tips to do so. – Vickie S
In my work its because they usually have another persons energy in their energy. I get rid of that and they usually start to mellow out and calm down. – Rebecca M
Have patience and ask for Divine help, as taught to us as one of the first lessons on clearing each person. Also ask them to breathe deeply and let go of what is being released. – Joyce G
Shields up! – Melissa M
I use active listening (and patience) and look for what they are really asking/saying. If I feel that they are just NOT getting the message, I try to re-word the lesson so they can “hear” me. I always ask Guidance to let me say the words they need to hear to understand. – Chessie R
To me it is important to listen, then hear what they are saying. Offer feedback if I can and let them know that they are being heard. It may be true that most of those with personality disorders will not hear what you are offering, and will in turn put it right back on you(or try), that is why I think it is important to just listen and as one said earlier, don’t pass judgement. Be there and present and if you are really listening, they might just come up with something on their own. – Deborah W
An invaluable tool in my energy therapy toolkit for dealing with ‘difficult and needy’ people/clients is Nonviolent Communication. Marshall B Rosenberg’s four-step process enables us to identify our/clients’ emotions, the unmet needs behind the emotions, and strategies for meeting our needs, while setting limits in a way that respects and validates the whole person. Strategies taught by the Centre for Nonviolent Communication are a fundamental and integral part of my energy therapy practice and in connecting with people in all areas of my life. I highly recommend any of the resources on the website as essential tools for helping yourself and your clients. In fact, learning Nonviolent Communication is frequently indicated as a priority through biofeedback for all my clients, as well as being extremely helpful for me in dealing with ‘needy’ clients. See nonviolentcommunication.com for more information and to download the free four-step process chart. – Samantha B