When clients put themselves down?

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When clients put themselves down?

Postby shelleywa on Wed Jun 03, 2015 7:08 pm

Hi All,

I have a question about how to respond to certain comments that clients make. It's usually women but I have on occasion heard Men be negative about themselves, too. What to say in response to people putting themselves down - "I'm fat", "I'm lazy", "I'm sure you won't want to touch my feet" etc. One guy ranted on for a whole hour about how awful his life was, how he had nothing going for him, his parents didn't care, his girlfriends always left him, he's dyslexic and can't spell etc. (the list goes on).

What am I supposed to say to these things?! "no, you're not fat" etc. seems a little cliché. And also, I don't want to lie to my clients (but saying to them, "well yes, you could lose a few kilos" seems a bit unprofessional and mean!). Ignoring the comment is as bad as (if not worse than) agreeing with them. So where's the happy medium?

I'm sure I can't be the only one who gets negativity from clients... Any suggestions/examples from your own experiences please??

Thank you for your help! :)
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Re: When clients put themselves down?

Postby MarionFM on Thu Jun 04, 2015 8:40 am

I think it depends on what category the comments fall into. A lot of people have poor body image. If they say, I have bad posture, I will often let them know that it might not be their fault, the fascia in the body can really pull them in different ways.

If someone says, I should lose weight, I will sometimes say, couldn't we all? Or say, I have seen worse and laugh. Tell them that you are trained to deal with all body types and it does not faze you. Neutral responses are probably best.

That man that had nothing going for him might be depressed and perhaps should see a doctor, or he might have been looking for sympathy. And it is possible that just talking about all his problems made him feel better. You have to balance what they might need and what you can give. If you really don't want to hear it, suggest that they will get more benefit from the session if they quiet themselves and just let you work.
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Re: When clients put themselves down?

Postby pueppi on Fri Jun 05, 2015 9:15 am

I think there are ways to spin these things into a positive direction, but I'm the first to admit I'm not real good at this.

Maybe you could mention that being pre-occupied with these things takes the focus off of their relaxation. Or, ask if they have noticed if the bodywork allows them to think through what kinds of changes they want for their life and if they have a goal in mind. That may lead you to let them discuss small steps that could be beneficial. "Many people mention that receiving bodywork helps clear their mind in order to formulate goals to help work with their concerns. It sounds like your working though some things. Would you like to talk about your strategies or just think about them quietly?"



06/06/15 - corrected "your" to "their" concerns.
Last edited by pueppi on Sat Jun 06, 2015 7:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: When clients put themselves down?

Postby holley on Sat Jun 06, 2015 9:49 am

At my best I use active listening, keep my own agenda out. Add nothing.

http://www.wikihow.com/Actively-Listen
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Re: When clients put themselves down?

Postby Snapdragon25 on Mon Jun 15, 2015 9:25 am

Sometimes these clients don't have anyone else to vent to. You kind of become that person that they can dump all their baggage on to because they may not see you again while. But having that negative energy during a session is distracting and annoying. Learning how to positively diffuse those types of comments/energy will help you and your clients have a better experience.
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Re: When clients put themselves down?

Postby shelleywa on Mon Jun 15, 2015 4:09 pm

Thanks all for your responses!

I'm not a natural "people person" (something I'm working on) and being faced with these comments makes me uncomfortable. Even if it were my friend or a family member, I still wouldn't really know what to say. So I think my best option for now would be what holley suggested - keep out of it! But how would you actively listen to someone who says they're fat?

I suppose I could just throw some facts about massage at them, "well, you know massage has been found to be really beneficial for that. It does this/that/the other" etc.

Snapdragon25, you are right, it is very annoying/distracting, I find these people to be energy vampires! What methods do you use to diffuse these comments?
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Re: When clients put themselves down?

Postby MarionFM on Tue Jun 16, 2015 5:00 am

Some of us have already given you suggestions for this:

"If you really don't want to hear it, suggest that they will get more benefit from the session if they quiet themselves and just let you work."

"Maybe you could mention that being pre-occupied with these things takes the focus off of their relaxation."

It is tiring for you because you are concentrating hard as to how to respond. If the above methods don't help, let them talk but say to yourself in your head, "Not my circus, not my monkeys". Make non-committal sounds - uh huh, oh - whatever. Be a sounding board, not a counsellor.
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Re: When clients put themselves down?

Postby pueppi on Tue Jun 16, 2015 2:45 pm

shelleywa wrote:...being faced with these comments makes me uncomfortable. ...<snip> So I think my best option for now would be what holley suggested - keep out of it! But how would you actively listen to someone who says they're fat?

I suppose I could just throw some facts about massage at them, "well, you know massage has been found to be really beneficial for that. It does this/that/the other" etc.


Since you like holly's input instead of some of the other input, you may want to take a moment to re-read the link he gave you regarding "actively listening" to someone (which can also be used when they say "they're fat"). He suggested that you keep your own agenda out of it, by not adding anything. However, if you read the page he provided, it doesn't mean you can't respond. "Provide feedback. Do so with honesty, and with respect for the speaker. Focus on the speaker's message and avoid adding new ideas."

I'd like to piggy-tail on MarionFM's comment about your struggle with how to respond. It sounds like non-violent communication may be something that could help you; there are some sentence templates provided on this link (you'll need to scroll down to the bottom of the page): http://www.wikihow.com/Practice-Nonviol ... munication

And, although I know nothing about this Strozzi Bodywork Seminar, it looks like it could also be helpful: http://www.strozziinstitute.com/strozzi ... rk+seminar

By the way, I do always like this sentence: "Not my circus, not my monkeys". It's just hard for me to put into practice on a regular basis. I continue to work on it, and see the need to get better. Perhaps you are struggling with the same thing.
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Re: When clients put themselves down?

Postby shelleywa on Tue Jun 16, 2015 5:41 pm

Some very good points, thank you.

I have never heard the phrase "Not my circus, not my monkeys" before but like it a lot! :D

I think suggesting that they be quiet (even for their own benefit) is difficult for me, as I am a poor communicator (I'm very shy & sensitive). I think it may come out wrong and sound rude!

The active speaking and non-violent communication are interesting ideas, as is the seminar. I once started to read a book http://www.amazon.com/Conversationally-Speaking-Increase-Personal-Effectiveness/dp/1565656296 which was very good but I never could make it past chapter 2, it felt very alien. Maybe something to revisit now.

I guess the problem is as much mine for not responding well as it is the client's for bringing their negative baggage with them.
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The Greatest Show On Earth

Postby holley on Thu Dec 17, 2015 10:10 pm

Bodywork can trigger a myriad of responses: "Have faith in the process, allow what wants to happen of it's own accord, and keep your own agenda out."

An active listening response to a celebrant saying " I'm fat" could simply be "you sound uncomfortable with your weight " and let it go.

This IS our circus and performing appropriately our role. Get ready for the next act which might involve crying, anger, ecstasy, deep relaxation, past life experience, alien abduction, visions and cosmic consciousness (to name but a few). It's the greatest show on earth.
'Every Day is a god, each day a goddess and holiness pours forth in time."
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Re: The Greatest Show On Earth

Postby pueppi on Sat Dec 19, 2015 10:06 am

holley wrote:This IS our circus and performing appropriately our role. Get ready for the next act which might involve crying, anger, ecstasy, deep relaxation, past life experience, alien abduction, visions and cosmic consciousness (to name but a few). It's the greatest show on earth.


I'm just going to say, I have never had anyone come to me with a next act that invoked thoughts of alien abduction, etc. (likely because I don't encourage that kind of thing), and I hope I never do. :smt017 I'm more than happy to send those folk in your direction. :smt016
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Benedicto

Postby holley on Wed Dec 23, 2015 6:32 pm

When celebrants experience numinosity, what is vital is the meaning for that celebrant (or sometme just the experience). The responsibility and gift to us is to bear witness. The space alluded to in the Benedicto is "more strange, beautiful and wonderful then your wildest dreams". Bodywork may trigger entry into these inner realms where we find all creation asking us to dance....as we are.
'Every Day is a god, each day a goddess and holiness pours forth in time."
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Pick it up

Postby holley on Fri Dec 09, 2016 12:05 pm

I'd like to hear what story BWOL members tell themselves when vulnerable people put themselves down on the table and in our hands....
'Every Day is a god, each day a goddess and holiness pours forth in time."
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