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How does a therapist deal with difficult patients?

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Jason’s Answer

It truly depends on the type of population you are working with. Are you working with children? Adults? private practice setting vs hospital? There are so many factors it makes the question difficult to answer. Generally speaking, always do your best to listen, re-frame, and keep very close attention paid to your own body language.
Always keep yourself closer to the door- ive worked with psychotic patients so that's why I say that. Again, I don't know the population you are planning to work with. A difficult client can be quite a large continuum.

best wishes
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Samantha’s Answer

There different ways to handle "difficult" or "challenging" patients. I tend to treat many of these types of patients. One of the most effective ways I have found to work with them is to start out by simply listening to there wants and needs. Maybe they are trying to tell the medical community something and no one will listen. You may be the first one to sit down with them and listen to what's going on. Address their needs. Is it pain? Fear? Anxiety? Are they thirsty and want water? Many will see that you are attempting to assist and will calm down or open themselves up to work with you. The next biggest thing is making the connection to the person. You want to treat the person, not just the diagnosis. When you make a true connection with a patient they will be more apt to trust you and to listen to what you have to say. There are many other techniques however starting with these two I have found to take care of multiple concerns and be able to get productive sessions.
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Jason’s Answer

It truly depends on the type of population you are working with. Are you working with children? Adults? private practice setting vs hospital? There are so many factors it makes the question difficult to answer. Generally speaking, always do your best to listen, re-frame, and keep very close attention paid to your own body language.
Always keep yourself closer to the door- ive worked with psychotic patients so that's why I say that. Again, I don't know the population you are planning to work with. A difficult client can be quite a large continuum.

best wishes
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angie’s Answer

Hello, Jessica,

Firstly, I don't label any clients as difficult. Many of them I speak with are coming for guidance at a traumatic time in their lives, so by that reason alone, there will be a range of serious emotions they will go through. If you mean by "difficult", they don't pay bills or show up for their allotted time - I politely say goodbye to those clients. I give them 3 chances to change, and if they do not, then I feel they are not ready for the type of healing I offer and must look elsewhere.

To avoid working with clients that tax you, or you don't fit with - make sure you are offering and attracting those you want to work with. That means you must know who you can guide and who you can not. I sometimes work with women that have been raped - I've gone through this experience myself, and I am confident that I understand and can help guide them through this. I do not work with men on sexual issues because I do not feel I have great guidance abilities for them. I do not take on male clients that want to focus on sexuality.

Know who you can guide and who you can't and then you won't get "difficult" clients as a norm.

Good luck!
Angie :-)



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