The Heat of the Moment in Treatment:
Mindful Management of Difficult Clients

From the jacket cover:


Have you experienced the anger, fear, doubt, and frustration that most clinicians feel but rarely put words to? Have you ever overreacted to a client in session or found yourself overwhelmed by the work with that client in your caseload? Are you looking for tools to manage your most “difficult” clients? Chances are, you’re like all other clinicians: At times you play “tug-of-war” with those in your care.  The Heat of the Moment in Treatment is for clinicians looking to explore, reassess, and transform the way they treat their most difficult clients. With carefully designed mindfulness-based exercises, self-assessments, and skill development activities, this workbook helps clinicians understand their own role in therapeutic interactions, as well as how to proactively respond to tough client behavior in ways that improve the prospects for successful treatment.


Author Mitch Abblett acts as a sensitive, expert guide, laying out a roadmap for the toughest of clinical encounters that almost all therapists face, whether seasoned or just starting out. His use of relatable metaphors, rhetorical questions, and stories from his own experience allows readers to reflect upon their own practice without feeling like there is one right way to deal with challenging clients.

The Heat of the Moment in Treatment will help clinicians move beyond assumptions and reactive impulses to their “difficult” clients. Readers will gain proactive clinical leadership skills, while learning how to expand mindful awareness of self and others to access compassion and empathy for any client—even when the “heat” of moment-to-moment interaction in session is hard to tolerate.


Praise for the book:


"The Heat of the Moment in Treatment" is an odyssey that should be undertaken by every clinician, however long they have been in practice. Written in a disarmingly genuine, humorous, self disclosing style, this book explores the barriers to effective communication that we as clinicians carry and how we can carry them in a lighter way. The book is packed full of practical and highly revealing self-exploratory exercises, case examples and easy to follow clinical guidelines for working with difficult clients in difficult situations. I can hardly wait to try some of these tactics in my own clinical practice! This book should be required reading in every graduate program for mental health and addictions training. It is destined to become a classic!"


--Kirk Strosahl Ph.D., author of Brief Interventions for Radical Change


“For all therapists who have a "difficult" client in their caseload, this well-written and personable book is a must read. Dr. Abblett challenges us to "lean in", or move toward, our behaviorally difficult clients, to be mindful of our emotional reactions to them, and to use what we learn to improve our therapy. Replete with terrific exercises that place us in session with these clients, both novice and seasoned professional can benefit from not just reading this volume, but from working through it.”


--Phillip M. Kleespies, Ph.D.. Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychiatry, Boston University School of Medicine/VA Boston Health Care System


“This is an incredibly useful book, written with honesty, courage and compassion. Within these pages you’ll find a wealth of valuable insights and practical tips for those ‘heated moments’ in therapy sessions. This is an essential addition to the bookcase of any therapist interested in mindfulness-based approaches to psychotherapy.”


--Dr, Russ Harris, best-selling author of The Happiness Trap


"The Heat of the Moment" should be required reading for all graduate students in psychotherapy and their professors.  Abblett's book strikes a warm, compassionate, humorous, humble and human approach to dealing with challenging clients, that is also downright practical in its exercises and reflections. This wonderful book is not only a gift to therapists, but to anyone in human services / helping professions, whether a teacher, medical professional or clergy member who deals with challenging people.”


--Dr. Christopher Willard, author of Child’s Mind and Board Member for the Institute for Meditation and Psychotherapy


“Dr. Abblett has created an invaluable and much needed tool for clinicians, young and seasoned alike, who are tested daily by difficult clients. With refreshing frankness, empathy, and no small degree of humor he explores and elucidates the nuances of negotiating the trickiest of therapeutic territory, finally bringing us face to face with the single most challenging aspect of our work: ourselves.”


--Bobby Hermesch, LICSW, Milieu Director, The Manville School