How to Support Your Clients Though Trust IssuesJun 24, 2022
When someone experiences a relationship breakdown, it can create certain challenges around trust and vulnerability. People might worry about being hurt again in the future; they may struggle to let their guard down, or let someone get close to them; they might even question their worth if they’ve experienced a betrayal, or abusive or manipulative behaviour.
As a mental health professional, you’re in the unique position of being trusted with your client’s innermost thoughts, feelings, worries and fears. The very fact that they’re confiding in you shows that it IS possible for them to trust again. It might just take them a little time – and a little guidance – to get there confidently.
But how do you support your clients during, or following, a relationship breakdown?
Questions to Ask Your Clients Around Trust
Trust isn’t only relevant to our romantic relationships: being able to put our trust in friends, family, colleagues, neighbours, teachers, doctors and therapists is all essential for our general wellbeing. But when trust is broken in one relationship, it can affect our ability to trust across the board.
Start by asking your client what problems they’re having with trust right now, in this moment. How do they feel about these problems? This is a great way to encourage your client to delve deeper within, and explore any emotions these challenges may be stirring up.
Next, ask them to think about when this issue first started to affect them. Is it a deep-rooted problem that developed as a result of something that happened earlier in their life, or in a previous relationship? And what about the impact it’s having on them now? Getting your client to pinpoint exactly what affect this issue is having on different areas of their life allows them to create a much clearer picture about what needs to be addressed – and why.
If your client is happy to explore the issue in more detail, encourage them to imagine that things are different. What does that look like? How does it make them feel? And perhaps most importantly, what three steps could they take to help them get closer to this change?
Struggling with trust is extremely common, but it’s important to help your client understand how much trust issues can hinder their health and wellbeing. Above all, give them the encouragement – and the hope – that with time, and the right tools, it is possible to trust again.
If you’d like to have your own set of tools to hand for supporting your clients with a range of wellbeing and mental health challenges, my little therapy box contains useful prompts for professional and personal use alike. With 40 individual cards – all beautifully designed, and covering everything from lack of trust and sibling rivalry, to alcohol intake and obsessive behaviour – my little therapy box is an incredibly useful resource to have on hand during therapy sessions.
Find out more.
Interested in Continued Professional Development?
Being able to help somebody to grow, develop, and eventually thrive, is an extremely privileged position to hold. As a mental health professional then, CPD is essential for keeping your knowledge fresh and your skills relevant. This is particularly important when clients are placing their trust in you following something as momentous and potentially life-changing as divorce or separation.
From trust issues to trauma, relationship breakdowns can affect people’s wellbeing and mental health in complex ways. That’s why I’ve developed a CPD course that’s entirely focused on relationships, and helping you to better support your client through relationship breakdowns and relationship challenges.
In the Relationship Recovery Toolkit course, you’ll learn how to guide your clients through separation and divorce – increasing your own confidence as a mental health professional, and allowing your clients to thrive.
By the end of the course, you’ll:
- Feel more confident working with separation and divorce
- Understand why some clients are stuck in unhealthy patterns in relationships
- Gain creative therapeutic tools to use in therapy (including PDF exercises and worksheets)
- Explore key theories that underpin the work we do with clients
- Receive a framework to help support your clients through separation and divorce
- Complete 4 hours of CPD, with a certificate provided at the end
Get in touch to find out more.
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My Little Therapy box all started with my passion for helping clients in therapy who struggle to open up and articulate their feelings into words.
In this 30-minute training session, I share the barriers some clients face in therapy and how we as therapists can help them overcome this by using creative ways to help them engage and get the most out of the therapeutic relationship.
This is the same presentation I was invited to deliver at this year’s BACP Annual Online conference.
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