Handling Client Distress


Reflection and validation can help defuse client distress. For example, if a client says "My mother-in-law criticizes everything I do. I hate living with her!"


Try reflecting their content by making a statement that conveys you heard what your client said or is trying to say.
  • Example: "It's hard to please your mother-in-law".
Try reflecting their emotion by acknowledging the client's emotion.
  • Example: “You sound really frustrated with your living situation”.


Try validating their emotion by acknowledging that your client's feelings and behaviors are understandable given the situation.
  • Example: “I can understand why you would be frustrated if you can’t seem to please your mother-in-law”.