We have to be good listeners!


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Well-Known Member
Nov 8, 2010
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Armadale West Lothian, Scotland
Hi everyone

I have always took great pride in myself regarding listening to my clients. I have been a shoulder to cry on many, many times and have always been professional in my approach to my clients problems. Ive had clients who have told me that they look forward to my visits as they feel they have someone to unload to. This is a fact that makes me so happy as I love my clients, both old and new, and i go to the ends of the earth to make them happy.

Recently I have been really struggling to be a good listener. Im going through a time in my life where I have so many worries I could just sit and cry constantly. My mum has suspected breast cancer. My Dad has just gone through heart surgery and my Father in Law doesn't have much time left.

I am mobile and I work mainly in the evenings as I have two kids under three. There have been evenings where I have visited some dear clients and they have been sharing their issues with me. I have started to have horrible thoughts like "is that all you've got to worry about?" I feel SO guilty for even thinking this.

An example would be last week one of my clients was sharing with me about how she couldn't sleep because she was so worried about whether her new handbag would be delivered in time for her weekend away. On the way home I couldn't shake the horrible thoughts and feelings I was having.

The next day I got a really lovely text from her saying that she was chatting to a good friend of mine, gushing about how she had found the perfect nail tech, when my friend said she was so proud of me considering all I'm going through. My clients text was so lovely in saying that she was so sorry to moan about her woes.

I feel even worse now as I don't mean to make her feel bad. I'm such a mess right now, I'm struggling to be strong for my family and my clients and I'm starting to doubt my skills as a good listener.

Sorry for the long post xx
Fee I know a little how you feel in that you don't know how much your job takes out of you till you feel the rest of your life is draining your energy too.

Can I ask what do you do for yourself? Where is your designated time out where you don't have to give your energy to anyone? Either a fixed coffee date with a good friend, time out walking or something but you really DO need something that recharges your batteries. I'm quite selfish in claiming a bit of me time (walking the dog). Then you will find it easier to get back to looking after everyone else :D xxx
Your so right. I need to make time for myself but I honestly don't know when or how to do it. Especially now I have been doing hospital runs etc. I'm just sitting down just now and thinking about my average day and it scares me how much it's all taking out of me.

I'm up at 5:30 with the kids, have playgroup and other wee classes with them. Lunch, nap, playtime. Then dinner, bath, bedtime and then dinner for me and hubby. Then out to work sometimes until really late. Then it starts all over again. I try to have the odd night off but I'm normally so tired I just want to slip off to bed.

I think your doing the right thing by taking the dog a walk. It's something like that I need to find to do.

Thanks for taking the time to reply. This forum seems to be my only outlet to air how I feel. It's a bit of therapy lol xx
Exactly, and I'm sure there are plenty of people on here who have felt as you do at some point.

The taking time out thing - not easy (especially if you're a mum, which I'm not) but its a case of stealing the time somewhere in the knowledge it will make you much more happy/alert/efficient the rest of the time. Otherwise it's a downward spiral. Those times you just want to get off and sleep-that's no bad thing. I'd bet even asking your husband for a lie in would make a world of difference, but even better getting out for a coffee with a friend where you can just talk about you and nobody else :) hope things pick up soon hon. This too shall pass ;) xxx
And I think the feeling of being scared may be you feeling overwhelmed. That too would be better of you recharged ;) I'll stop banging on now xx
Your not banging on! You've given me loads to think about. Funnily enough my friend texted me today to see if I fancied her coming round for a coffee. I might just do that and sod the housework 😌. Thanks for such great advice xx
This is an interesting thread! I too often feel like I cannot do another client at times ;). Some can be very demanding and use appts to unload. I guess we all do it to some degree but it can be very draining especially if we as therapists are having a difficult time. I find it best to get as much relaxation as possible and sometimes I steer people away from launching into their problems before I get the full onslaught! It is finding that balance between caring and not being the sounding board for all and sundry. Hope things improve for you and try and get sometime for yourself and family.:hug:
Your not banging on! You've given me loads to think about. Funnily enough my friend texted me today to see if I fancied her coming round for a coffee. I might just do that and sod the housework ��. Thanks for such great advice xx
YES! the housework can wait, take some you time!

I think it's totally normal when you're going through a bad time to not really want to listen to other people's problems, especially if they seem trivial to you.

Sorry you're going through such a rough patch! :hug:
Huge sympathy. I know EXACTLY where you're coming from.

I'm ashamed to say that I have had feelings of "It's not fair; I've got real problems".
For example, a few months ago a lady was waiting in reception while her husband had physio. I was in between appointments. so went to have a chat with her.
She said she was having a terrible day, and was so stressed. I offered her a free treatment there and then, and gave her a relaxing facial massage. She off -loaded throughout it. Basically, her husband had eaten the last slice of bread that morning, so she had to do without her toast, and then she'd had to queue for petrol.
But I guess that it's all down to individual experience. What's a big deal to one person is not to another.
To be fair she was a lovely lady, and was genuinely grateful and very relaxed at the end!
Youve a lot on your plate honey, give yourself a mental break if nothing else. So you had those thoughts, so what, it doesnt make you a bad person, you didnt say them to your client so no harm no foul hun. Youre upset, angry, confused, worried and the list goes on, but please lovely stop giving your poor addled brain such a hard time.

These last six or seven months for me have been horrible, very similar to you, theres been times i could literally scream at people really is that all youre worrying about! At first i felt awful but then i realised deep down i didnt mean it i was just cross and angry that everything seemed to be going terribly wrong for my family. But it was my release.... in my head anyway.

Its hard when youre flat out to find the time but dont burn yourself out lovey, youll be fit for no one including yourself. Even if you dont have a lot of me time just simple things like a nice bath at the end of the day, seeing a friend for coffee for an hour or just watching a film for an hour or so is at least doing something for you and for a brief moment it stops you feeling so crappy. Build yourself up lovey.

As for your clients whats often in our heads doesnt show to our clients. Use their tails of woe and their treatments as a bit of escapism, thats what i do honey.

Love to you honey keep smiling :) x x x
People who work with clients specifically looking at their problems, eg Psychiatrists, Psychologists, Mental health nurses, counsellors etc etc, (should) get regular supervision to avoid overload and any subsequent problems.

If you are getting this for seven and a half hours a day, 5/6 days a week, on top of your own issues, as well as not being trained in how to manage this, can I ask, where is your outlet?
You are not their therapist, you need to find a balance in how you approach this in the future.
Nicole makes a very valid point. It's easy to get drawn in.
Great advice, as always, from Happyfeet.

Give YOURSELF as much care as you give everyone else.
You sound lovely.
Aww shucks guys. You have all made me feel SO much better. I think that SG is now officially my therapy lol.

It's so good to hear that I'm not alone with these thoughts, especially when you work alone. You don't have anyone to bounce off. So good to have people, who understand, to talk to.

So many valid points, when you mention about psychiatrists being monitored it really puts it into perspective how important having an outlet is.

It's all relative isn't it. My lady with the handbag, your lady with no toast. That will have been a horrible day for them but to us not only do we have our problems to compare we have other clients who have genuine hard times too, so our perspective is different from most.

You need to think about you and give yourself a break - none of us are Wonderwoman and none of us can be all things to all people all of the time..... The other thing to bear in mind is that you can't 'grade' problems - a friend of my parents lost their daughter in a car accident when she was 27 and when the mum went back to work she got really frustrated hearing people moan about what she believed to be trivial things when she had lost her daughter. But to that person that problem is a problem - it's not (and can't be) a competition...... Toast lady is funny though!!

I've been a bit gloomy this week cos I had a rubbish birthday on Sunday - in reality it was only rubbish cos of circumstances (my parents away for the weekend, other people busy and didn't come round). I was actually very lucky and still got lovely presents, it just wasn't how I wanted it to be (daft moo that I am!).

I'm waffling now, but I do understand where you're coming from and please be kind to yourself :hug:

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