“No change, huh?”
It’s amazing how often this happens… client comes into the office, settles into my deep, canvas couch and I ask some form of the usual question:
“So, what’s your progress? Update me!” I’m expecting there to be real healing and change for the client after sessions.
The client thinks blankly, seemingly surveying the memory of his last week and says,
“Um… nothing I know of.”
“Really!” I say… “Nothing? Hmmm… let’s see.”
I open his chart and find his presenting problem…
“Well, how’s that anxiety trigger doing? You know, the one where you feel paralyzed whenever you’re meeting new people?”
He looks slightly confused and resumes that blank look.
“I guess I haven’t felt that in a while. “
“Oh yeah? How about the daily headaches you were having?”
“I haven’t had one in probably three weeks.”
“Wow, great! And are you still feeling that depression about losing your job?”
“Actually I’m feeling hopeful. I had two great interviews this week!”
“So, no change huh?”
It’s a normal function of human nature to remember clearly when an emotional problem starts. But most of the time we don’t even notice when it stops! Think about it… you know when you GET a headache. But do you know when it leaves?
Be in the habit of asking your clients about their progress at the beginning of sessions, and never take “nothing” for an answer. If your client reports no movement, dig a little deeper. Chances are very good that they’re changing more than they realize. Get accustomed to the dance of helping your clients recognize their change. Our clients need to recognize their progress as much as they need the change itself. (and it doesn’t hurt us either)