While it is not physically demanding, working closely with individuals in crisis can sap us emotionally. Burn out, or compasion fatigue, can be a problem. Being present and engaged for so many hours a day for people who truly need our guidance and support is draining.
In addition to the difficulty in remaining empathic and open, stress also arises from questioning our effectiveness with clients. Are we doing the best job that we can for those we see? There are so many factors to consider in answering this question.
Rather than reconfigure our entire approach, there are some basic aspects of the counseling process that can be adjusted to make a big difference. Studies have shown that the way that clients relate to their therapist is an important part of therapy.
In light of the significance of therapeutic relationship, we may have to alter our approach slightly to get better outcomes with different types of clients. For example, passive clients tend to respond better to therapists that are more directive, while more strong-willed clients appreciate being able to co-lead the counseling process.
It is vital that we as therapists, and as people sharing this planet with others, take the time to reflect on how we relate to those around us and make small adjustments that can have a big result.