It is said that there are no difficult clients, only unprepared therapists. Well I had a difficult client today.
She presented with social anxiety. She had the usual feelings of getting panic attacks when talking in company, embarrassment when she thinks people are looking at her. In addition she complained of getting a pain in the neck when she thinks people might see her. Clear evidence of psychosomatic reaction.
She blames it on bullying at school. Everything was good in primary school but when she went secondary school she felt not as good as the other girls and shy and got bullied.
Try the standard approach
The obvious way forward was regression to deal with the old bullying. Started to get her into trance. No way. I decided to be subtle and tried to teach her self hypnosis.
We had to stop because she said the light was too bright.
So I tried hypnosis. Said she didn't feel anything with a countdown.
She said she couldn't visualize anything at all.
Then I did a kinesthetic induction, since she couldn't visualize.
I succeeded in getting eye closure.
I took her into regression but she said she couldn't get any feeling and couldn't remember anything.
She couldn't visualize anything. Nothing at all.
I tried talking to her unconscious mind. From her answers it was clean that she was not in trance.
Clients don't come more difficult than this. She gave absolutely no cooperation, no visualization, no feelings, no memories. I was baffled.
So try something else
I wasn't going to give up. I tried eyes open non-trance Metaphor Therapy. Still said she said she couldn't feel anything. Nothing came to mind no matter how much I tried to prompt her. Then got her to talk about what was worrying her. Finally we got it down to the cause. She is over critical of herself and thinks that everyone else will be critical too. Tried to work with that. Then started going round in circles.
Finally, the truth
Then she said she had very high standards.
After two hours I finally realized: she has depression.
I tested for the classic symptoms of depression and confirmed that she has it.
That is why nothing worked. She has all the symptoms, but doesn't have an emotional problem. She is one of the millions of people with undiagnosed depression who have no idea of the real root of their problems.
I wonder how many other 'difficult clients' are actually just not aware of their real problem?