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Finding a balance between being clients' hairstylist vs therapist?

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Isabella S

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Our industry is all about making lasting impressions on people, making them feel at home. But what happens when they get too comfortable?
What happens when they entrust you with their real life issues?
I've this one situation where the person is tellling me too much and it's weighing on me.
They have a therapist they go to regularly but I don't think they are following through with the advice the therapist is giving.
Being a support for them is becoming exhausting.
I know it's part of my job to a degree but when we run into each other THAT is my time away from work not time for them to vent.
On the flipside when they get their hair done they pay handsomely, I can't seem to find the balance afraid that it will affect my paycheque and more importantly their mental health.

I need some good quality advice. Xoxo
 
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TheDuchess

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Hi Isabella

It is not part of your role to counsel clients, nor to give them advice, that’s something you would do to for family or your friends. It’s important to set professional boundaries.

Your role is to be a sympathetic listener. You can be caring and empathetic and appropriately emotionally distant whilst giving your client the time and space to process her experiences herself. You just need to make the occasional comment to reassure your client that you were paying attention. Make sure that you stay focused on her hair. If she over steps boundaries, don’t ignore her, just look at her hair and answer whilst looking at her hair. Delay your reply until after you’ve taken the next precise snip of her hair.

it’s very important not to let clients drain your emotional energy. I give my client advice all of the time! But I keep the tone light and I make it very clear that I’m an interested stranger, I qualify my thoughts by saying “ that’s just my opinion of course as someone who doesn’t know you” or “just sharing my own experience in case it is helpful”. Think back to your college or schooldays. Was there a lovely teacher that you confided in? That’s not your role model. Your role model is the teacher that helped you think for yourself, with an occasional interjection of a different point of view or a new idea. Don’t communicate your own emotions, don’t get tangled up in her life. You can be sad for her, hold her hand metaphorically, cheerlead her, signpost her to support services, but you cannot, must not, allow her to become emotionally dependant on you. There’s a ethical consideration here, if she’s buying companionship and human contact from you, you are exploiting her vulnerabilities.

It’s very helpful to understand that you risk being in the wrong. It helps you step back.
 

Isabella S

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Facts on facts on facts on facts.
But on the real this was some sound advice, thank you !!
 
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