I actually already published the Part II of this post, but after reading it again, I feel it needs some revision (complete rephrasing). The problem with this topic is that it is very easy to fall into the tyrant-victim trap, where one person is exploited by the other and how unjust and unfair this is.
Obviously there are many relations in which this is actually true (think relation between abusive parent and child). In everyday life though, power relations tend to be much more nuanced and barely noticeable, which is exactly why it can be so hard to discern them (and address them).
The dynamic I addressed in my last post basically rested on an assumption on part of the provider. In these cases, the provider assumes: I know what´s in their best interest, because I studied this topic, and because I am established in my field, having offered this service countless times.
Of course when the client goes along with this, there is no problem, and there is no struggle of any type. Yet sometimes, a client will also have a degree of expertise – namely people who have recurring experiences with particular providers and are informed about the nature of their own problems.
These are clients who will try to give advice to their provider, and will want to engage in an equal relationship, where both sides share power and adjust to each other. In my experience, these providers are not only true professionals in their field, they are also relatively rare.
Here´s where I think that most providers, having settled in a routine, are happy to remain in that routine, and not so happy about any “laymen” who challenge their position as the sole authority. Here is where I also think the power struggle actually starts.
More on that in Part III.