Harriet raises an interesting point in her comment on the previous post. So I will ponder the hypothetical.
If a client told me he had a terminal illness with a few years to live but did not want to talk about it or deal with any emotions about it what would I, as the therapist, do?
According to contract theory, therapy cannot progress unless both the client and therapist agree on the goals of the therapy. Would I be prepared to work with a client on things like loosing weight, dealing with past issues about siblings and so forth and not discuss the impending death?
My initial reaction to this is probably yes, but maybe only for a limited period of time. If the client wanted to make the contract to give up smoking cigarettes, I would feel some need to ask them why they want to do that? If they enjoyed smoking and were going to die reasonably soon, why give up.
Possible or impossible?
I have worked with clients in the past who did not want to discuss certain matters and I have agreed, but their very life is clearly a very significant matter that to my mind could not simply be ignored. So it is quite possible that at some point I would raise this issue and we may part company as therapist and client because we could not agree on the contract.
To me it involves too much pretence or as it is called in Transactional Analysis a discount of reality. I would not be willing to have a relationship with the client which involved such a discount of reality. I would not be willing to have a relationship with a client that included such a profound level of fantasy.