Attracting and Keeping Clients

I have a question for the forum which is part business and part therapeutic. In doing changework, NLP has the distinct advantage of being able to create rapid change relatively quickly – and compared to traditional talk therapy, the results can seem miraculous. This being said, often a client has one or more goals that require more than a single session.

Traditional therapists are often accused of taking advantage of clients – simply by merit of seeing people for years with little to no real change in the client’s life (other than an increased vocabulary with which to describe their issues). All the same, there is a very real phenomenon which they are often catering to whereby the client wants to gripe about their problems, but is terrified with making any real changes. There is a phrase psychologists occasionally use called "seducing a client into therapy" meaning that they are essentially courting the client (helping them to feel safe and build up the courage to begin facing their issues). Essentially, they are building a relationship.

My question is to those involved in doing changework of any kind with NLP or hypnosis – and it is this:

How do those of you who do change-work manage to balance rapport building (creating relationships with clients so they WANT to come back and recommend you) – with addressing the deeper issues which are holding their blocks in place?

In short, there sometimes appears to be a conflict in the client with both wanting change and being scared to look at certain parts of their life or patterns of living. (I want to quit smoking, but don’t you dare take away my cigarettes!) I say this tongue-in-cheek, but my point is that some form of compulsive denial often seems to be part of the structure of many problems. In short, if they were willing to look at the whole picture AND do whatever was needed to achieve the goal – then the problem couldn’t exist in many cases. Yet simply pointing this out is probably the least elegant of all solutions (and often creates an adversarial relationship with the client).

My motive for this post is dual. First, I hope to learn some things from those with different perspectives and skill sets. Second, this is an interesting topic for me. It gets my juices flowing. What people skills make this seeming paradox disappear? (the paradox being one the one hand, it seems unethical for a therapist to take two years "seducing a patient into therapy" before they can do any real work – and on the other hand you can’t do any real change work with an unmotivated client who is fighting like hell to keep the very patterns that he/she has come to you to resolve).

In reality, I believe that the paradox/conflict is merely a matter of perception. On my best days, this conflict never arises. When I am in a flow state or "in the zone" my work with clients tends to be both rapid AND effective – and the client leaves in a great mood.

I could have just as easily asked "what are your best ways of dealing with difficult clients?" But I feel that question simply casts too wide a net. And at the same time, it is a very real issue. If you want to help a client, they actually have to be willing to participate to some degree – and they must be willing to come back and complete the work – if it requires more than one session. How much of your work with clients is designed get to the root of things – and how much of your strategy for doing this is designed to keep them coming back for the minimum number of sessions to complete this work?

Thanks for taking the time to read this and I look forward to reading your responses.

David

Attracting and Keeping Clients

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