Advice for when you feel stuck with a client

Clients go to counsellors often because they feel stuck in some way and need help to resolve or get past something. But sometimes a counsellor will come across a client that makes them feel stuck. There are some people that prove difficult to help, you can reach a point with them where you don’t know what else to suggest when they come to appointments. This is understandably frustrating, but it can happen often and there are some things you can try when you find yourself in this situation.

Go back to the reason the client came to you

It sounds incredibly simple, but it’s helpful for when you have reached a dead end. This might feel like you are only going backwards but it is worth revisiting what it was that brought the client to your counselling room in the first place. A person seeks out a counsellor for a reason but over time and multiple appointments there are things that can change or be forgotten and unresolved. Ask them questions to refresh yourself and them on why the client sought your services. Get the clarity you need on what the issue is, then you can figure out what needs to happen to address it.

Clarify/establish goals and what is left to achieve

Work with the client to go over what progress has been made already and what remains unfulfilled. Based on your conversations, double-check the methods you are using and see if there are better alternatives for what your client needs. If you and your client find that their goals have changed, you should reconsider your counselling strategy and determine how to adjust your approach to them.

Reconsider your value to the client

You may feel as if progress has stopped but if the client is continuing to book sessions then it might very well mean that is not the case for them. There is a likely chance that they find the experience valuable for them to keep coming back. Even though you feel that you are not helping, you can still be meeting needs for the client. So communicate, seek feedback and understand why they come back to you. You could feel stuck but creating a safe space and making someone feel heard are valuable services to offer people.

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