The Counselor’s Vulnerability

Not every client will be honest and cooperative, and some will be deceptive and manipulative and have a desire to frustrate the counselor. There are two major ways people will attempt to frustrate the counselor:

  1. Manipulation: Some people are masters of getting their own way by controlling others. Sessions might lengthen and become more frequent; one counselor even began to running errands, making phone calls and giving small loans for the counselee, who consistently expressed gratitude and mournfully asked for more. These people have made manipulation a way of life. The counselor must ask, “Am I being manipulated?” “Am I going beyond my responsibilities as a counselor?” “What does the counselee expect from me, or really want?” One must deal with the manipulation and expect their denial of it, then restructure the counseling in a way that prevents this manipulation and exploitation of the counselor in the future.
  2. Resistance: Many people want quick relief, and when they discover it will take time and commitment on their part, they begin to resist. Resistance is a problem that often requires in-depth professional counseling. When a counselor begins to work, a client’s psychological defences are threatened and this leads to anger, anxiety and non-cooperation. When clients are fairly well-adjusted, this resistance can be discussed gently and openly. The client needs to know that he (not the counselor) is ultimately responsible for his improvement.
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