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Dealing with Distressed and Difficult Clients

People who are seeking help often present with a range of problematic behaviours, demands, emotions and distress.

This training trains your staff in recognising the various presentations of distress and responding effectively to clients who are suffering from it.

The Problem

Clients walk through our doors with a range of behaviours that can make life very difficult for staff, including aggression, dissociation, confusion, overwhelm and hysteria. Before we can help these clients to solve their situational problems we often need to assist them to get back to a place of feeling calm and empowered. 

The Solution

This training draws on behavioural psychology to help staff understand and respond to the difficult and distressed presentations of clients using tried and tested processes of engagement and empowerment. 


  • Improved staff and volunteer retention

  • Better work culture and morale

  • Better service delivery

  • Greater effectiveness with clients

  • Less conflict and drama in the workplace


Duration: 8 hours

Times: By arrangement

Audience: All frontline staff, supervisors and managers of frontline staff

Cost: By arrangement with the organisation


This is an 8 hour interactive workshop that gives your staff the skills to respond to distress and difficult behaviours.

It covers

  • The common presentations of distress and the underlying psychology that is occurring

  • How to position yourself to best meet and respond to difficult presentations

  • How to engage each presentation to achieve a successful outcome with most clients, even the really tough ones

  • Maintaining professional but caring boundaries with clients

  • Protecting ourselves against difficult presentations without disengaging clients

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Adam is a psychologist with 35 years experience treating trauma. He holds degrees in trauma and psychology and specialises in working with complex trauma and personality disorders.

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