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The Challenging Client – Part I

Article by Deborah Lloyd, Reiki Master

As a mental health professional for three decades, my career was blessed with many challenging clients. I am not being facetious – challenging clients can be viewed as blessings. They cause us to question, and strengthen, our skills and levels of compassion. As our understanding grows as to why clients behave in the ways they do, we learn acceptance and kindness. We grow in becoming non-judgmental; there are valid explanations for these behaviors. Frequently, the more we learn about a person’s life experiences, we may wonder how she is coping as well as she is.

Another factor to consider is that the type of challenges varies from person to person. The features that we will be exploring in this article, as well as subsequent ones in this series, range from mild to severe. Picture a continuum, with mild – moderate – severe, along a line. In most of the challenges that will described, we will probably be able to remember clients who had some of the features in a mild way, and others where the features were strong and difficult for us to understand.

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Let us begin with the codependent client. Codependency is an unhealthy way to relate to our spouse/partner, family members, and friends. Both parties are part of the dynamic. Usually, one appears to be the strong, highly functional one; and the one is dependent upon him. This is often seen in alcohol, drug and other addictive behaviors, where there is an enabler and a user. Whenever the user gets creates problems, the enabler will take steps for the user to escape any natural consequences. For example, the enabler may pay off debts for the addicted gambler.

How may a codependent client behave in unhealthy ways with a Reiki practitioner? The client may make comments such as, “I know you are the only one who can help me”; “You understand me, and no one else does”; or, “I don’t know what I’d do without you in my life.” These patterns of codependent behaviors, that usually begin within family systems, will then extend to other relationships.

The Challenging Reiki Client - Part I

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Let’s think about what messages are within these statements. First of all, there is too much emphasis on the relationship between the facilitator and client, rather than the healing energies of Reiki. It is a fact that for some of our clients, the practitioner may be the only person in his life providing a safe and loving space. It is easy to see how a client can misinterpret his feelings generated during a Reiki session.

Another issue is the tone of passivity. The codependent client seems to be saying, “rescue me.” We know that Reiki is not a cure-all for life’s problems. Reiki is not a magic wand, and Reiki practitioners are not miracle workers (although miracles do happen). Each person has to take an active role in his own healing process. We have an obligation to gently remind our clients they have a significant role in manifesting healing goals.

A common reaction for professionals is the feeling we always must have enlightening answers, imparting wise advice to clients in need. Codependent clients can exacerbate this uncomfortable feeling. After all, we became Reiki practitioners to help other people. The reality, however, is often the best thing we can do is to help others discover their own power and wisdom. We do not have all the answers for clients, as the answers for most of life’s quandaries are within their own hearts. We can encourage and support our clients; we cannot “fix” their problems.

Life is a wonderful journey. As we grow in our self-awareness and deeper understanding of relationships, we become facilitators of healing in all aspects – mind, body and spirit. The challenges clients bring into our sessions assist us in our own healing journeys. What a blessing!

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Deborah Lloyd
Deborah Lloyd

Deborah Lloyd is a Usui and Karuna® Reiki Master and certified holistic therapy practitioner, providing Reiki sessions and training in Asheville, NC. Deborah is the author of two books, 22 Messages from the Archangels; and, Believe and it is True: A Story of Healing and Life Lessons. She is also one of the co-authors of Reiki 101: 101 Answers for Your Reiki Questions. Reach Deborah at http://www.deblloydhealing.com/, deb@deblloydhealing.com and at Deb Lloyd Healing on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/deblloydhealing)

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