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Do You Have a Middle-Class Client?

Middle-class patterns develop in response to the hurts of the class system. Remember that chronic patterns look to those of us inside them as the normal state of being. And note that these patterns are not necessarily unique to the middle class. Some typical middle-class patterns are:

  • Isolation-which can feel like displeasure or irritation in being around others. When we're in the isolation pattern, we can't take in love from others or feel our love for and natural delight in others.
  • Judgment-of others and ourselves, about whether they or we are acting or being 'good' or 'proper' or doing things the 'right' way.
  • Fear of losing security and status-which may appear as hesitation to speak out, to take a stand, or to follow our dreams, in order to maintain our 'good' appearance.

Middle-class people are easy to counsel. But first of all, take a breath and focus on 'point zero' of the four-step counseling approach. Remember the client's goodness, wholeness, and lovability. Remember your close connection to her. Remember she is not to blame for the class structure or the hurts of people in any other class or in the middle class. Remember it is a wonderful part of her uniqueness that she was raised middle-class and that she has been able to hang on to many parts of her humanness because of it. You may serve your client well by giving her a direction that challenges middle-class patterns, but it won't work if you do it with exasperation or with a tone that conveys she is guilty or wrong. That will only call up her strong, fortress-like defenses. Here are some approaches you can experiment with as you tackle raised-middle-class patterns:

  • Early money memories: 'What is your earliest memory connected in any way whatsoever with money?' This will certainly touch on some of your client's class-based distress.
  • RC commitments for the middle class, and for the working and owning classes, too. (Try out all three, particularly the parts of them that make your client's brain go into rebellion; they're in the back of the Counselor andClient Notebooks.)
  • Have your client decide, in session at first, to give up his money, status, job, or whatever else it seems would be threatening to give up.
  • Have him take complete pride in his background and tell what was good and what was hard. He could begin by telling the story of the many strands of his family's class background as far back as he can.
  • If you as a middle-class person run into a difficulty with someone of another class, use this restimulation as a gold mine to get to your early feelings. The other person may very well be acting in a distressed fashion, but if you had no distress in your way, you would be able to figure out in a snap how to re-establish your close connection with her or him.
  • Try the direction, 'I welcome attacks.'
  • Try the direction, 'I am the most oppressed person in the whole world,' or some variation. This can either be hammed up or said in a serious tone of voice, depending on what the counselor sees happening at the time she or he offers the direction. Some raised-middle-class people have a deeply imbedded pattern that makes it almost impossible for them to acknowledge to themselves or to others how deeply they were hurt, because their lives were comfortable in terms of material possessions. This pattern needs to be cracked before the pain of the hurt can be fully felt and discharged.

Jean Fisher
Denver, Colorado,
excerpted from the newsletter of the Denver, Colorado RC Community

Last modified: 2020-07-02 14:27:35+00