A customer is one who assigns himself the problem and is committed to the therapeutic process. A customer is one who comes and says: “I have a problem, I do not know how to solve it and you got to help me.”
– Changing an applicant to a customer/client: Much of the therapist’s initial intervention strategy is dedicated to changing the applicant’s position to a customer’s position. Obviously not everyone can be interested in the service. Thus, we have to identify who has the maximum interest in change, who is the most worried about the presented difficulty, because it is likely to provide the best fulcrum and the most convenient way to achieve the desired change.
We have to remember that those who go to a therapist do so because they want to complete and close some circle, not necessarily because of the underlying interest so we have to open for him the possibility to transfer the necessary information in order to make out of it the maximum benefit for him. One way to change the applicant to a customers is by expressing a “tactical skepticism” about the motives and intentions of the applicant to get treatment. Common reactions of those who cast him doubt, his appeal “not serious”, they attempt to convince the therapist, and prove to him that the will and intentions are very serious. In this way we gain a commitment to the process of treatment. It’s important to remember, in any condition, not to go into a “human rescue” when the applicant has no desire to be rescued.
An example of a trial to determine whether the applicant is a customer: A married man married for twenty-five years applies to the therapist. He says: “Look, my wife is a wonderful and considerate woman. She does not deserve what I’m doing to her. But the matter is that I fell in love with someone else, a deep love…”.
This man is not a customer. He is looking for an approval that his condition is helpless and hopeless and that he should go with the uncompromising love. Hence it is important to determine whether the applicant had come to “take” something or he just came to do “window shopping”. For example, A criminal is collaborating with his probation officer so that the last will confirm the court to that he is in treatment.
A husband comes to treatment, in many cases, to prevent his wife to blame him for attempts not to solve the problems between them. These kind of customers come to therapy without associating themselves to the difficulties and they do not seek intervention to achieve a change.