Understanding the Psychological Anatomy of Difficult Clients

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Trainer: Margaret Kelly
Trainer: Amita Sehgal

This half-day workshop will focus on how to identify, understand and manage working with difficult clients in the field of family law.

London – 14th February 2020

This course is specifically designed to provide participants with a basic understanding of the psychological makeup of the many and varied clients that walk through their doors.  Attendees will get a deeper understanding of what people undergoing separation and divorce are experiencing, and how this manifests in their behaviour towards their family lawyer as they navigate their way through the emotionally-turbulent waters of separation and divorce.  Attendees will be encouraged to discuss their cases (historic or current) where they have had to manage a difficult client to facilitate translating theory into their practice.

Enhanced understanding will help family lawyers manage clients and their expectations, and will equip them with tools on how to better manage challenging and difficult clients. The training will also enable participants to  improve their personal and professional relationships by improving and honing their understanding of the relational dynamics inherent in family law. For professionals working this challenging field of the law, this training forms an essential component of working practices as it offers important insight into the dynamics of unconscious relating, namely things that are present in interactions but not referred to (or hard to name).

Aims (learning outcomes)

  • An understanding of the fundamental concepts of Attachment theory including an appreciation of the role that the unconscious plays in partner choice
  • Enhanced working knowledge of what drives people to form intimate relationships (developmental hopes) and what goes wrong when the relationship is no longer working for either partner (re-enactment of defensive fears.
  • How to develop your antennae in identifying a difficult client and your skills in how to manage that person to ensure the best outcome for them and their acknowledgement of the importance of your role.

 Method to realise the aims

  • These aims will be pursued a combination of lectures, and working through case discussions brought by participants to the workshop.


9.30 – 10.00 Arrival and coffee
10.00 – 11.15 Introductions Margaret to identify the 4 categories of clients
11.15 – 11.30 Coffee and discussion by participants
11.30 – 12.45 Amita to speak about the underlying issues for the client how these manifest in their interaction with their lawyer and strategies the lawyer might use to manage them
12.45 – 1.00 Time for Questions Closing of the day


18 places available.

  • UDC | 2020-FEB-14 | Member Price £336


  • UDC | 2020-FEB-14 | Non-Member Price £408