Client apprehension is the reluctance and resistance of clients to participate in counseling programs (Krupnick, Sotsky, Simmers, Moyer, Elkin, Watkins, and Pilkonis, 1996). Client apprehension may be caused by high costs than expected, which are related to the counseling programs, fear of revealing their weaknesses, and fear of what is involved in the counseling sessions (Krupnick et al., 1996). Client apprehension may result to a difficult time for the counselors when working with the clients and may affect the relationship between the client and the counselor (Krupnick et al., 1996).
Counselors overcome client apprehension in the counseling session by helping clients overcome fears associated with the counseling process (Geldard & Geldard, 2012). Some of the methods that counselors can help client to overcome the fear include being open to clients and providing communication channels (Geldard & Geldard, 2012). Effective communication will strengthen the relationship between the counselor and the client where the client can present any arising issues and concerns, which can be better addressed by the counselor. Effective communication will also help in providing feedback to the clients, which can be any achievement made or improvements to be made (Geldard & Geldard, 2012).
Another way for counselors to overcome client apprehension in the counseling session is through a problem identification process where trained and experienced counselors use their knowledge to detect the underlying issues for client apprehension and provide alternative solutions to the clients (Krupnick et al., 1996). Some clients may have issues, which they are unable to communicate to the counselor and the counselor should be able to engage the clients and detect any underlying issues affecting the client.
Ways that can help a counselor build a healthy client/therapist relationship include concentrating and participating on the counseling process (Geldard & Geldard, 2012). Since it is hard to change the client, a counselor may participate more in the counseling process by applying strategies that will help to strengthen the relationship between the client and the therapist. A therapist can also build a healthy client/therapist relationship by creating a good and a favorable environment (Seber, 2013).
The surrounding environment will affect the behavior of the client. A favorable environment will help the client to feel comfortable and confide to the therapist, which will increase trust between the client and the therapist and in result strengthen their relationship (Seber, 2013). Barriers that hinder a good relationship between the client and the therapist should be detected and removed. These barriers may include lack of enough time between the client and the therapist to allow time to express oneself and financial barriers can be revised (Seber, 2013).
A client that may challenge a therapist may include a client with personality issues that may include hostility, rudeness, and aggressive behaviors (Krupnick et al., 1996). Counselors may have a hard time containing their work attitudes and temper when faced by a rude client. Some clients may also become uncooperative and become a challenge for the counselor to provide his/her services to the client. A hostile and a rude client may also lead to a tense working environment where there is no trust between the client and the counselor (Krupnick et al., 1996).
Geldard, K., & Geldard, D. (2012). Personal counseling skills: An integrative approach. Springfield, Illinois: Charles C. Thomas.
Krupnick, J. L., Sotsky, S. M., Simmers, S., Moyer, J., Elkin, I., Watkins, J., Pilkonis, P. A. (1996). The Role of the Therapeutic Alliance in Psychotherapy and Pharmacotherapy Outcome: Findings in the National Institute of Mental Health Treatment of Depression Collaborative Research Program. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 64(3), 532-539.
Seber, G. A. F. (2013). Counseling issues: A handbook for counselors and psychotherapists. New Zealand: Xlibris.