I favour a mix of socratic-type and forced-choice questions
Therapist: I notice that every time I meet or phone you, you …. I’m wondering what you wish to communicate by these comments.
Client: Denies any sexual tone. …..
Therapist: Well that’s good. [Validate appropriate positive feelings such as gratitude that therapy is going well] AND ..I thought it was important to clarify this. Because these comments are personal in nature and may be interpreted as having sexual tones, I’d like you to avoid personal comments in future. What’s your take on this?
Therapist: So, shall we agree that personal comments will be avoided in all future interactions? … Thanks… I appreciate your compliance with this. Possible follow up questions and responses Would it surprise you if you discovered that most therapists found these comments inappropriate because they are of a personal nature and may have implicit sexual overtones
Possible follow up questions and responses
Would it surprise you if you discovered that most therapists found these comments inappropriate because they are of a personal nature and may have implicit sexual overtones?
Would it surprise you if these comments were interpreted as your ‘hitting’ on a woman or making a pass at them?
Therapist-client interactions should remain professional for therapy to be effective. Our interactions will be no different. That’s non-negotiable. How do you feel about that?
I’m pleased that our interactions have been positive. They can continue to be positive. However, our interactions will remain professional. So, shall we agree that you will avoid personal comments or gestures in future?
Here is a table that our Clinic uses to differentiate personal from professional relationships (table should list appropriate and inappropriate comments and behaviours for personal vs. professional relationships). Would you like to go through them now or would you like to read them at home and discuss them when we next meet?
Messages may have to be repeated several times if the client doesn’t get it or is not keen to negotiate the outcome