Things I wish I’d known! It’s ok to decline a client.

Written by Emma Evans

July 12, 2023

Things I Wish I’d Known: It’s OKAY to decline a client

Often new therapists, and sometimes even experienced therapists will come across a client that they need to decline.

There are many good reasons to decline a client.  Here are a few:

–  You haven’t the experience

–  They cannot be helped with hypnotherapy 

–  Hypnotherapy is contraindicated

–  It would not be ethical to do as they ask

–  The client has an issue that would bring up issues for you 

–  You simply aren’t interested in their problem

–  They give you a bad feeling

–  You don’t like them

Where the prospective client has a problem of which you have no understanding or experience then you can address this through supervision or CPD. 

Where the clients prospective issue brings up personal issues for you, then you must decide either to undertake therapy for that at some point in the future, or simply be clear that you will not see those kinds of clients.

For example, if you are approached by a gay man who has issue with penetrative sex that he wishes to resolve, but this causes you some distaste or embarrassment, then you should decline such a client, because trying to get involve could complicate matters. 

When you begin as a therapist it can sometimes feel like you need to be there for everyone, that you have to take every client – but this isn’t the case.   Take the ones who interest you, the ones you know you can help, the ones to whom you can show unconditional positive regard. 

It is a good idea to know other therapists and their specialisms, so that you can refer on to them.  

When I first started I couldn’t get my head round single session smoking cessation.  Now it is one of the therapies I love to provide.  

I could make a lots of money out of working with alcoholics.  But there is a therapists I know who is much better qualified, experienced and near-by.  It would be silly to take a client’s money when I know someone could do it better – and not only that, but I haven’t any interest in becoming proficient in working with alcohol abuse. 

Being a good therapist isn’t just about knowing great indications off by heart, having a cabinet full or scripts books, being a covert hypnosis whizz, or being word perfect in the Meta Model.

Being a good therapist is also about knowing the truth of your own limitations and boundaries.

Gavin Bowtell MAPHP(acc)

Published : Jul 12, 2023