Judge Your Client’s Motivation By Their Actions
A previous video I made is still inspiring me today! I can express how important it is to not judge a client by their words, but by their actions. The fact that your client showed up to a therapy session shows that they are motivated, and it’s important to remember that when interacting with them.
Here’s a link to the video I mentioned in this week’s episode:
I made a video yesterday that led to an epiphany, like a huge epiphany. Like, in this video, I talked about a lesson that I learned from teaching at the Brief summer school this past week, and ended up having a conversation with my good friend and colleague Adam Froerer about this lesson, about client motivation. And then it hit me.
It hit both of us, like a huge epiphany that one of the reasons why we kind of misunderstand our client’s motivation and we say things like, how do you work with low motivated clients or unmotivated clients? What about those clients who are dragged into therapy? What about those clients who didn’t want to come? We view them based upon them saying they don’t want to be there, basically like, we judge their words. And what we realized is the best way to judge client motivation is by their actions.
So if the action the client took was to arrive at the session, then we have to treat them as motivated because they did a motivated action, right? If a client is truly unmotivated, they wouldn’t have come to your office.
Even a client that is motivated to like, get my spouse off my back or my parents off my back or get the Courts of my back. I don’t really want to be here. I have to be here, but I’m motivated by something. And we have to start judging people based upon the actions they’re taking and not the words they’re saying, right? I’ll give you an example. Uh, just before the pandemic, I had a dentist appointment and I don’t like going to the dentist. I hadn’t been to the dentist in like 10,000 years. Luckily I have no cavities, no crazy stuff like that, but I had to have a real, like deep teeth cleaning. And I did not want to be at the dentist office. I didn’t.
I had no desire to be there. And the dentist was a really nice woman. And she was talking to me about, you know, how I hate being here. I don’t want to be here. You know, can we get this over as quickly as possible. But the action I took was to schedule and book a dentist appointment because I wanted healthy, clean teeth. If the dentist then described me as unmotivated, I would just said is not true. I’m very motivated. I’m on camera all the time. I run into people to take pictures to me all the time. I record videos all the time. I’m in front of audiences all the time. I’m actually very motivated to get this accomplished because I want something from it.
But I’m not, I don’t want to be here. I don’t want to be in the dentist chair, getting my teeth worked on it’s unpleasant. So if she described me as being unmotivated, that would be inaccurate. That would not be true. The truth is I’m very motivated, even though I’m not pleased to be here. And I think we have to start viewing our clients in the same way.
If they took an action to come to your office, they’re motivated. And that’s it. Because think about what you have to do to get to a therapist office, right? You have to schedule the appointment, arrange childcare. If you’re going to a couple of session, you have to arrange two schedules to show up there. You have to call the couples therapist and you have to show up.
You have to do all of these activities. So it’s time for us to stop listening to people’s words. When they’re describing how much they don’t want to be there because a therapist office is the emotional equivalent to a dentist appointment, right? People don’t want to come to a therapist office and like unzip themselves and make themselves completely vulnerable. So if they do it,
they’re doing it because they want something. And we need to start judging people by the actions they take and not the words they use. Because remember guys, we work in the emotional equivalent of a dentist office. People hate being there. It is not easy. It is really hard for them to deal with. So let’s just give them some grace and judge people based upon what they’re doing and not always what they’re saying. Boom.
Hey, thank you so much for watching that video. I really appreciate you guys listening to me share my thoughts and ideas about Solution Focused Brief Therapy, and as I try to make you the very best Solution Focused Brief Therapist that you could possibly be. If you could please help me share the word, ‘like’, ‘share’ and ‘subscribe’ to my YouTube channel.
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