Woman opening an orange doorYou never know who is going to give you a call, schedule an appointment, or walk through your office door.

Each and every day, you deal with people of all different backgrounds, histories, ages, genders, and experiences. Your clientele is filled with a vast array of different personalities, demographics, and reasons for attending therapy in the first place.

It’s part of what keeps your days interesting—no two days are exactly the same. But as with all things in life, there are positives and negatives.

For the most part, you love your job. You don’t regret becoming a therapist. In fact, you’re actually pretty good at it! You care deeply about your clients and want what’s best for them.

But you’d be lying if you said all days were easy or that all your clients were the best clients ever. You have a mix of amazing clients as well as a handful of ones that are a little more of a challenge.

Some days are easier than others. But if this were easy, everyone would do it. Here’s how to cope after dealing with difficult clients as a therapist.

Practice Self-Care

Two people sitting in chairs talkingWhen you’re a therapist, it can be difficult to separate your work from your personal life. It can be extremely easy to take work home with you or to think about clients after sessions or what’s considered your normal working hours. You preach to your clients to practice self-care, it’s time you listened to your own advice. Make sure you’re taking time to relax, rest, and recover. Plan time each day to do the things you love. Here are just a few of the ways you can practice self-care:

  • Get a massage
  • Go for a walk around your neighborhood
  • Attend a cooking class
  • Go to the gym
  • Read a book
  • Garden

Set Clear Expectations

No matter what, everyone who walks through your door isn’t always going to be rainbows and butterflies. Some clients are going to be a little more difficult than others. When it comes to difficult clients, make sure you’re setting clear expectations with them. You’ll run into a mix of difficult clients over the years,  but clear expectations can help put and keep you on the same page during each session and through the duration of their therapy.

Set Boundaries

Man drizzling sauce over food being observed by another manIt’s okay to set boundaries as a therapist as well. This may seem like a harsh ask, but you’re human, just like them. You have your own wants, needs, and values that must be respected at all times, no matter if you’re dealing with a client or not. If you notice that you’re talking in circles from session to session, make sure you and your client are clear about their expectations from therapy so that you can stay on track. Make sure your client is aware of any communication boundaries that you have as well.

For example, they may be curious to know when they can get ahold of you outside of your sessions. Stay firm and make sure you’re respecting your own boundaries, no matter how much you want to help them and be there for them.

Seeking Support

Yes, therapists need therapy too! Just because you’re a therapist doesn’t mean you can’t reach out for your own support. It’s actually encouraged. For one, it can help you see a different side of things that you may not have considered. This can help you personally as well as professionally. We call that a win-win!

You can learn more about treatment for therapists here. If you’re interested in setting up a consultation to speak with your own therapist, reach out to me today to set up a consultation.