How to Be a Successful Client

I don’t recall ever having a client I didn’t like. On the contrary, I have genuinely liked and enjoyed most of my clients. My favorite clients of course, are those who make progress.

No matter what your issue, or how the rest of the world sees you, if you make progress, I’m gonna love you.

You might think that the progress you make in counselling is dependent entirely on the hard work and skills of your counsellor. The bad news is it isn’t. The good news is also that it isn’t.

When I was a new counsellor and had very few skills, I still had clients who managed to make progress. Now that I have considerably more skills, I still have some clients who don’t make progress. That’s because the progress you make in therapy is dependent on both of us working together.

A Counsellor is your Assistant

I am a tool for you to use (no pun intended). It’s true that if you are working with an inadequate tool, the job will be much harder.

To be successful, you have to find the best tool possible, then do your best work. Luckily, I’m not the only tool out there (I’m really beginning to hate the way that sounds!).

There are many resources to help you grow and change;  books, websites, yoga classes, meditation, workshops, you tube videos, apps, just to name a few.

I want you to get the most out of counselling. First of all, counselling isn’t cheap. I’m careful with my money so I hate to see you wasting yours. Secondly, I can see you’re hurting and I want to help. And lastly, if you are successful and get results, you make me look good.

If you have a clear understanding of what to expect from counselling, and what your counsellor expects, you increase both our chances of success.

I have put together a list of the behaviours of a successful client based on the many wonderful clients I have seen over the years.

 A Successful Client:

1. Has a clear understanding of what they want to change even if they don’t know how to change it,

2. Knows that I am a source of information and support, but I don’t have the power to change them,

3.  Knows that change requires effort and practice,

4.  Accesses additional information and resources to reinforce and augment what they’re learning in counselling,

5.  Completes any homework assigned,

6.  Incorporates the skills they  learn into their daily lives,

7.  Takes notes about their emotions, thoughts, and behaviours during the week to talk about in therapy,

8.  Understands  that therapy is not just about getting emotional support, it’s about getting support to make changes,

9.  Is honest with themselves, even if it hurts,

10. Forms a relationship with me based on mutual respect,

11. And last but definitely not least, works to being honest and genuine with themselves, me, and eventually, others in their lives.

You Will Succeed

If you do even some of these things, you will significantly increase your chances of succeeding in counselling. And if you are going to pay for counselling, why not get your money’s worth?

The clearer you are about your level of commitment and what you hope to achieve, the more successful you will be.

If you have an experience you’d like to share, add a comment at the bottom of the page. I’d love to hear from you.

“The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.”
Mahatma Gandhi

Author: Jenny dereis

I am a counsellor at Walmsley Counselling Agency in Prince George, BC. I have a Master's Degree in Counselling Psychology from the University of Calgary and a certificate in Substance Misuse and a certificate in Working with Survivors of Sexual Abuse. I am currently working towards certification in Dialectical Behavioral Therapy.