Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Sometimes I'm Not Sure How to Respond

Sometimes clients make side statements that are difficult to respond to. "Oh, things aren't that bad." No, I'm not going to offer that reply. "I'm sure it'll get better." A platitude helpful with its empty meaning.

What's an example of a difficult side statement? A meaningful comment made, either as an afterthought or matter of fact, like "Don't grow old, Anatolia." A few clients have told me this in a context of illness or challenge that growing older brings. Sometimes these comments are meant in humor but not always. Sure, it may be a comment that could be delved into during a future session but sometimes it is just a passing comment. A client may not want a response too. Yet I have this instinct to want to be reassuring in some way.

I envy case managers who just know what to say and whose responses are genuine. Certainly a skill.

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