A Lesson Learned – Clients with boundary issues

In this edition of “Letters to a Young hypnotist,” I want to briefly discuss a situation that I found myself in which I think others might be able to benefit from.

Not long ago, I found myself in a position where a client called the office and begged for an appointment. As it was reported to me, she was crying and hysterical on the phone. She obviously needed someone to talk to. We rearranged several clients because this person needed someone. I should have simply told the scheduler to just refer out, but I have a soft spot for crying women. I saw the client… it was a self esteem issue is how it was presented which is within my scope of practice. I should have known there was a deeper problem when she was booked for a 60 minute standard session and she claimed she was told by the secretary that she was supposed to get a consultation and a session on the same day, which is not something I do but used to do in the past. This was on a day that I was almost entirely booked, please note again that I moved around clients for her.

A few days later, I get a call which my secretary misses so it goes to my voice mail. I call the number back to respond to her voicemail but did not know how to hide my number (for the record *67 is apparently the way on some phones, not on iphone). It’s 9:30 pm and she wants an appointment that night… unless she had an appointment at midnight there was no way. Now she has my cell phone… whoops and now she starts texting me as early as 7 am to as late as midnight. I see her for another emergency appointment the next day because I had a cancellation and as a young hypnotist I needed the money. I also get bombarded with begs to do free brief handwriting analysis on three different people. I analyze two checks from two people only because they are related to what is being discussed and I did it for free.

And a few days later, same bull. She now wants to have an extended session immediately. The stress that happens every time she appears or rings, causes me to start shaking uncontrollably, but again I take it because I need the money

She gets scheduled and I mandate we have another person there partially because this woman ALWAYS ran over and did not appear to have respect for herself or others and I did not have a clock that I could see. I always used my fitbit but would only check when the subject was in trance in order to not break rapport. The client would refuse to do what I asked in and out of trance. I recommend she see a specific clinical psychologist and refer her. I know this psychologist and he is expecting a contact and can see her immediately and get the referral that day to me.

We make her next appointment three days from then, and she cancels it the next day and says she should have made it for that night. She gets upset and absolutely explodes on me when I ask if has been listening to anything that I’ve been saying about the issue which came forth, which was not a confidence issue. She is equally pissed that I am not catering to her schedule on a Jewish holiday when I am closed (which she could have easily seen on the schedule and I told her several times). She became highly abusive and I finally I had to ban her from the practice until such a time as she provided a psychological referral for herself.

The Lessons I Learned Included:

1) I do not need Emergency clients, and if I do, to charge them additional money.
2) I need to learn to block a number.
3) Extended sessions are helpful.
4) Keep a credit card on file to bill cancellations and surprise requests.
5) I need a clock over the client’s head or somewhere I can see it.
6) Let Kat return all calls.
7) If a client makes you shake, it’s a psych referral.

Melvin S. Marsh is a practicing hypnotherapist and handwriting analyst in Augusta, Georgia. He performs hypnotherapy appointments both in person and worldwide via Skype. He can be reached at http://www.afterhourshypnotherapy.com or afterhourshypnotherapy @ gmail.com or call our receptionist at (678) 658-8483 to make an appointment.