Control Issues and The Controlling Client Or Student. Why do we feel we need to be in control of everything? Why do we struggle so much when life doesn’t go as we wanted, or we tried to make happen.
I wrote this post first for my relaxation therapist students and then realised it was probably a topic I should be blogging about. If you are an experienced coach, healer or therapist you will all recognise the controlling client or student or be reminded of the controller within you. We all have it.
The Need To Control
The NEED to control is very much based on primal fear, the inability to trust the process of life. To function in the modern world we have been taught that we must try and control as many variables as we can.
But the reality is there are a lot of variables we have no or limited power over, the Covid 19 situation has highlighted a lot of those. This type of approach can seriously impact the psyche, deny us from the natural flow of life that we should be embracing. The need to control, suppresses our emotions, our energy, our chi, leading to disease.
Of course yes taking control of a situation where we have given our power away to something or someone is a whole different story. But the need to CONTROL is one of the things my relaxation therapist students help clients loosen their attachment with.
Some Signs Of A Controlling Client Or Student Can Include;
The client or student who wants to appear in control.
The client or student who on one level denies they need help or that they have a certain level of anxiety or stress.
The client or student who resists, who doesn’t want to try something.
The client or student who is going to try and convince you they know better about every or any subject more than you do ( oh yes some may ).
The client or student who is very much the constant doer, always busy but struggles to relax or just to be.
How You Can Help Clients Let Go Of That Need To Control
Now relaxation therapy will help you move the client from the stress response into the relaxed response. It very much helps us move from the primal fear response to the relaxed response. It moves us from danger to feeling safe and relaxed. That is why teaching relaxation therapy techniques for trauma victims can be very helpful.
Meditation and mindfulness encourages clients to become more in the moment, more a witness to their thoughts.
Understanding The Need To Control
Helping your clients understand, where their controlling urges and behaviour comes from encourages self-compassion and change.
And yes, there are many situations in clients or student’s life where more action and self-responsibility is actually needed. But at a core level, the need to control everything and everyone is one big major stressor. Life is about living, experiencing life with all its variables and possibilities. The need to control everything comes from some sort of belief that everything won’t be okay, if we don’t. So ask yourself
What do you try to control?
Who do you try to control?
Children And Manipulation
A child that is brought up with fear, anxiety, a lot of stress or trauma may try to control or sabotage all sort of variables in their life. At a deep level, they feel unsafe, unloved, unprotected. And start behaving in ways that demonstrate fear, lack of trust, low expectations from others, and from situations.
A lot of us grew up being taught or forming beliefs that the world was a negative, bad, or even in some cases evil world. So guess what that is what we project out. One of the things I noticed when helping a lot of anxious or fearful children, was often how fearful or anxious filled at least one of the parents were. If you haven’t addressed your fears or your need to control, guess what? Yes, you can very much pass on those fears and behaviours to your children.
At the unconscious level, we all try and control situations to get what we think we need. Think about a child who tries to control or manipulate you with all sorts of tactics. On some level, they are just trying to get you to fulfill what the think is their needs met. The more calm and conscious child is less driven by these fearful impulses and urges that is why meditation is so useful for children.
Why Relaxation Helps Us Let Go Of Control
In Relaxation Therapy our main focus is helping clients relax, unwind, and LET GO. I encourage clients and students to use techniques that encourage deep states of relaxation first and foremost rather than on techniques that are based on control. It is just one of the reasons I don’t recommend controlled breathing techniques as a first protocol. Because on a core level we are encouraging clients to let go on not just a physiological level, but psychological and unconscious level.
Every one of you in this work will come across clients or students who try to control us, the session, or the outcome. And most of the time they don’t realise they are doing it. This is another reason why it is so important that you remain centered and boundaried.
Those of you who are highly empathic may find this more of a challenge, I know. But that is why we must practice what we preach. Be as calm, centred and grounded as we can before each client session. It not only helps us be more effective in our work but it helps us set healthier boundaries.
Now I am not going to say that is always easy, boundaries have been one of my biggest challenges. Being the eldest 9 my learned behaviour was very much to always care for others’ first. In-fact on my first day going to school, my mum said to me not to worry all the kids will probably be feeling much worse than you. As a highly sensitive empath, this just dramatically increased my beliefs and behaviours on focusing on others first. So much so I struggled to ever know my needs.
The Need For Healthy Boundaries With Clients And Students
One of the hardest lessons most compassionate healers and therapists have in this business is around boundaries. Not just having boundaries with clients and students in the session but outside the session. I daily get so many emails from non-clients, customers as well as clients and students expecting me to do this or that outside client session or student training time. Some are gentle requests, but some are highly manipulative even controlling.
The reality is we can’t do it all, and we shouldn’t be doing it all. We need to set healthy boundaries not just for ourselves but it is a healthy way for us to relate to our clients and students. But for most of us who are small based businesses boundaries is the only we survive financially and energetically. This is where we need to set healthy control. control of what we do and don’t do in our business. What extra time clients and students get and don’t get.
In our coaching, healing or therapy practice there are things we can control, things we can’t contraol and situations we should never want to control.