Four of the Most Client Repelling Traits A Practitioner Can Have

Years ago – I did a survey of my clients and invited them to share their Holistic Practitioner Horror Stories. I got quite a few – and there were four patterns that showed up.

Trait #1 – Arrogance

Symptoms: The practitioner acts as if they have found “the answer to all things”. They treat clients as if they know everything and the client knows nothing. They talk ‘at’ instead of ‘with’ their clients. There’s often a cynical attitude and they are quick to criticize others.

Wanting to be the authority and have clients accept them as such. Not explaining what they are doing or why. Nor feeling the need to. Expecting the clients to just follow their recommendations blindly no matter the cost (financial or emotional) or what is involved.

The energy behind it is often as if they are ‘showing the client’ how skilled they are with their intuition or healing skills. A ‘one size fits all’ approach. They act as though the client has done something wrong if their approach is not working for them.

They make the client feel wrong if they don’t do ‘enough’ on their end.

Impact: It feels like they are pushing and imposing their world view on the client. Client feels shut down and unsafe.

Opposite: The client feels totally 100% accepted as they are, where they are. The practitioner always takes the needed time to explain why they are suggesting a certain course of action, and why they are recommending the brands they are.

The practitioner is open about their experiences treating problems like the clients both good and bad. They are honest about their abilities to help – they don’t say ‘this works for all’ as the client knows that is not possible and different things work for different people. Even when there is disagreement, the client can FEEL the practitioner’s integrity.

They speak to the client like one human being to another. Their authority  comes from the clients’ experience of the practitioners own history, experience and earned wisdom. The client feels really, really listened to.

The client can feel the result of years of the practitioner’s inner work and to be genuinely comfortable in their own skin. If the practitioner shares stories of themselves it’s for understanding and sharing, not for their own ‘venting’ time.

The Trait #2 – Lack of Sensitivity to Needs and Feelings

Symptoms: Not checking in. Touching without consent. Doing something with the client without giving context or explaining first (e.g. ‘you have a terrible knot in your back. I can’t leave it there!’ and continuing without pause).

Not noticing the power dynamic of patient and client. Assuming that the client wants to hear their opinions, perceptions and suggestions. The physical environment being set up without any  consideration for the client.

The practitioner telling the client some very disturbing things as though they weren’t a big deal. Treating clients as though they are so lucky to have received this unexpected pain or bad news from them in the quest for healing. No empathy to the impact of their actions. Talking badly of other kinds of people to the clients – not considering that the client might fit into that group.

A general sense of carelessness in their actions. This lack of sensitivity can lead to clients being made to feel ashamed that they even have health problems in the first place.

Impact: Clients feel surprised, shocked and shut down. This attitude comes across as rude and careless. Client feels totally unimportant to this woman that their needs and comfort levels are not being respected (or even considered). This often results in a clients feeling humiliated as they do things for the practitioner vs. themselves.

Clients often look to practitioners as authority figures and there needs to be responsibility on behalf of the practitioner to recognize this. Forcing a client to have to advocate for him or herself in the middle of some treatment debacle from a supposed professional is the worst kind of victimization since they have come to you for help and have conceded their vulnerability and your expertise.

Opposite: Before beginning, the practitioner asking if the client if they want them to describe what they are doing as they work or if they just want him to work in silence. When something strikes a nerve in the patient – they pause and acknowledge the intensity of the experience.

The Trait #3 – Self Involved

Symptoms: The therapist spends a good chunk of the session going on about their own issues. They do not invite comments with regard to the client’s level of understanding. It feels like the practitioner takes a lack of progress or disagreement personally.

Impact: It doesn’t feel like the practitioner’s attention is on the client at all. The client’s need for respect is not met. The session becomes more about the practitioner than the paying client.

Opposite: The practitioner is an enlightened witness. They’re a kind and non-judgmental presence. The clients feels acknowledged for their part in the healing journey. That the client is an active part of the healing and just seeing the practitioner for some support. They are not the experts ‘doing onto the client.”

The Trait – #4 “Desperate for Business”

Symptoms: Pressuring clients into booking more sessions (even if they just can’t afford it). Giving away free sessions and then, when they don’t become clients, being hurt and slightly angry that they gave their session away for free.

Impact: she seemed to come across as a bit desperate for clients

Opposite: the client truly feels that their best interests are being held in mind. The practitioner refers out generously when someone else can handle the problem better.




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