We are going to talk about two types of clients I often interact with during the course of my profession. There is the client that has identified a problem or challenge and want to get to the root of the issue. Then there is the other type that calls only when they are immediately presented with a problem, get help to resolve it or cope and then disappear until the next major crisis. In all earnest, most people fall in the middle of the continuum but most of us have the tendency toward one extreme.
The comprehensive client seriously engages in psychotherapy until they have increased their personal insight and have learned how to best deal and transcend the situation. The length of counselling is not an issue but rather the process and the self development that comes along with therapy. They show up to all of their sessions with a determination to “conquer” the challenge and grow as a result. At the end of counselling, they have greatly matured and have gained great wisdom about themselves.
The spontaneous client is confronted with a problem that makes them significantly uncomfortable. As a result, they reach out for help at the moment for guidance in how to deal with the situation and increase their awareness as to what might have caused the challenge. When the problem is resolved, the client’s emotional state is normalized once again, and goes on with their life as usual. They stop counselling immediately. If another challenge surfaces in the future that significantly increases their anxiety, the cycle starts again.
My observation is that many times a person’s personality and their life experience dictates their approach to counselling. Neither is wrong or right but the comprehensive client usually grows considerably throughout the therapeutic process to be able to cope with future challenges on their own.
It is helpful to know what type of client you are and to express your needs and expectations when choosing a psychotherapist. Just as the client has preferences, so do most counsellors when it comes comprehensive vs. spontaneous counselling.
*The views expressed by our authors are personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect the views of the CCPA