When therapy goes wrong, it’s typically because we’ve entered our clients’ trance, joining them in their myopic misery. Once there, our job is to break the spell, broaden the vision, and open ourselves to possibilities outside the tunnel.
Men with anger problems are generally highly reluctant clients who come to our offices only because they’ve gotten “the ultimatum” from their wives, girlfriends, or bosses. Fortunately, understanding the angry brain can help build their motivation for change.
An understanding of the unconventional ways people demonstrate resilience is important in helping us avoid pathologizing clients and stop believing there’s only one clinically “correct” way to help them.
Few cases offer as eerie a therapeutic challenge as a suddenly non-communicative child, lost in a dissociative shutdown.
Sometimes conversation isn’t the best way to communicate with clients. There are times when therapists must go beyond the words.
Often clients come to therapy to resolve ambivalence or because they can’t make up their minds. But sometimes, the problem is that they’re too certain about things they should be uncertain about.
Given their arrogance, condescension, and lack of empathy, narcissists are notoriously difficult clients. The key to working with them is being direct and transparent about the roiling emotions they trigger in us.