I don’t know if you follow me on twitter. If you do, then you’ve probably seen me tweet numerous times about how much I dislike the phrase “difficult client.” If you haven’t seen it, well, now you know. I really, really, really wish the phrase would go away. Poof! Just like that. Gone. Thank you.
Contrary to what you might expect, I am not going to launch in to a discussion about “difficult situations” versus “difficult clients.” I am going to launch in to something, though.
When I first meet a client who presents as though the world is against them, I know there is a challenge ahead and how tough that path can be. Sometimes I even get caught up in the first-day-tension and forget the reward that can come when I venture down that path. The projective identification and/or countertransference overtake me. Suddenly the client’s fear and anger seem to fill the room and permeate my thoughts and my body. I may have to steady my hands when I write. And when I’m alone, I find myself asking what if they are right? What if I won’t be able to help? What if they will feel this shitty forever? What if this isn’t the best thing for them?
I assume this is the kind of space where “difficult clients” are born. Continue reading