In a previous comment Harriet stated:
“But I am sorry that his lack of disclosure led to distrust on your part.”
This comment resonated with me and led me to muse on the topic of clients, therapists and trust. (I like words such as resonate and muse, they make me sound like I know what I am talking about!)
I mused - do I have a sense of trust or distrust with clients? The answer I came up with was in one specific sense yes, but I would say generally, no.
In my work circumstances of private practice I do trust clients in our business relationship. I deliver a service, then they pay once they have received that service. There is a small group of clients who come to therapy and have no intention of paying. Over the years I have seen all sorts of methods employed by people who are wanting to get sessions without paying for them. I never let new clients accumulate any significant debt so those who are not intending to pay may get a few sessions for free but that is all. Then they leave and I never see them again.
This indeed raises another interesting question in terms of the therapeutic relationship. If a client enters into a therapeutic relationship with no intention of paying how does that effect the therapeutic relationship. Perhaps I will muse on this some more for a later time. However in terms of our business relationship, I do have a sense of trust and distrust with a client.
Other than this the concept of me trusting or distrusting a client kind of does not make sense. In particular, as Harriet was mentioning, I don’t have a sense of trust or mistrust about a client telling me the truth and the whole truth. I just don’t see it that way. It does not ‘compute’ like that.
Clients, like everyone else have a Child ego state that is struggling to cope the best way it can, with the psychological resources it has, at a particular point in time. If the Child ego state feels it necessary to tell me a falsehood or not tell me the whole truth then I accept that. I do not feel like my trust has been betrayed by the client. I see it as them coping the best way they can.
I also know that clients, like everyone else, will behave in consistent patterns over time. I know that if a client tells me a significant falsehood about the facts of their life, then it is likely that they will do so again in the future in some way. Not because they are trying to trick me or deceive me but because they are coping the best way they can at that time. I don’t ‘win’ or lose’ anything if the client tells me the truth, just like I don’t ‘win’ or lose’ anything if the client tells me a falsehood.
Thus in relation to Harriet’s comment I don’t get led to distrusting a client if they tell me a falsehood. Instead I accept they are doing their best they can at the time and I know they may employ the same coping mechanism of telling falsehoods in the future.