The Energetics of the Manipulative Client

By Cyndi Dale
[Energy Work]

We enter the healing profession because we care. Being a caregiver is good. And sometimes, not so good. It’s hard to have boundaries when we have a helper personality.
Who among us hasn’t struggled to establish and maintain healthy client boundaries? Of course, most of us have the standard protocols in place: work hours, an office, a booking system, and a fee structure. These processes don’t do any good if we’re energetically vulnerable to the whims and wiles of the type of client we don’t always like to discuss.
What type of client am I talking about? The manipulative client. This is the client who convinces us to scribble outside the lines by forgetting our own policies or to emotionally cave in when it’s not the right thing to do.
I’m not talking about the client who genuinely desires or requires our assistance. Healers are in the business of meeting client needs, and sometimes we must bend our policies to do so. But we shouldn’t be accommodating a situation that is so costly it affects our own or another’s safety, integrity, or health.
Of course, clients come in all sizes, shapes, and personalities. The complexity of human nature can make it hard for us to know whether we’re being manipulated, which is why I’m approaching the subject of manipulative clients from an energetic point of view, rather than the more common psychological approach.
To truly know whether we’re being manipulated in a client situation, we often have to employ our subtle energy sensitivities. This is easiest to do through the lens of the chakras.

A Chakra-Based Approach

Chakras are subtle energy organs that manage both subtle and physical energies. Each of the seven chakras in the body governs a unique set of physical, psychological, and spiritual functions. All activities can be tracked to a specific chakra, which means you can better figure out whether someone is manipulating you by assessing the chakric source of their behavior. For instance, someone who wants to bilk you of money will operate through their first chakra, which regulates physicality. Someone using you for love will maneuver through the fourth chakra, which manages relationships.
To help you better determine whether a client might be manipulating you, and in what way, the main body of this article will describe each chakra and cover the ways manipulators influence through them. I’ll also present practical and psychological tools for defusing the resulting dangers, as well as examples from my own practice.
Before presenting these characterizations, I want to share a few words about manipulative clients and why it’s so important to spot one. Basically, manipulators seek to sway us through exploitation or distortion. True schemers will use any type of influence possible, regardless of the harm caused to others.1 Giving into manipulation isn’t healthy for us or the conniver, who might be operating consciously or unconsciously. This is because manipulators are essentially convincing us to give more than they are willing to give back.2
The consequences on a practitioner can include anything from losing money or free time to being stalked and threatened. Responding to a manipulative client’s prompts can also lead us to overwork ourselves, setting the stage for the many deficits caused by caregiver’s syndrome, which include depression, anxiety, withdrawal from life, anger, insomnia, and numerous mental and physical health-care complaints.3 There is also a cost to the manipulator. As long as they can coerce to get their needs (or perceived needs) met, they won’t approach life head on. They might refrain from being vulnerable or honest; in addition, manipulators often fail to self-actualize.
We want to meet our clients’ needs but without a loss to ourselves. How do we spot and deal with manipulators gracefully and smartly? Take a look at what a chakra-based approach offers.

Chakra One: Red

Manages: Physicality, sexuality, passion, safety, money, and life energy
Location: Hips
Manipulator’s Strategies
First chakra manipulators range from clingy to dangerous. At one extreme, they might try to convince us that our assistance is necessary to their survival. They might pay exorbitant amounts of money to compel our attention, or conversely, pretend to be poor to get our services for free. When we don’t respond, they might imperil our livelihood or peace of mind through bullying, yelling, stalking, or posting negative messages on social media. Some might make sexual advances and insist that we are the guilty party. When working on these clients, you might be aware of a significant loss of life energy and feel exhausted or drained when the session is over.

Healer’s Strategies
Work in a secure office with others nearby. Be rigid about maintaining your work schedule and don’t rely on a single client for most of your income. Use a contract to state which services you provide and which ones you don’t. Refer overly needy or difficult clients to licensed professionals. Return money to clients who threaten you and then cut off all contact. If a client threatens you or threatens to commit suicide, call the police. If a client makes sexual advances, immediately end the session and record what occurred; call someone else to report what happened too.
Clear up your own security issues. You have the right to be and feel physically, financially, and sexually safe in your own practice. Your practice won’t fail if you stop working with a single client.
A client started sending me letters saying he was going to harm me and my family if I didn’t see him again. I called the police and then hired a lawyer to send a cease and desist letter.

Second Chakra: Orange

Manages: Feelings, creativity, and emotional empathy
Location: Abdomen
Manipulator’s Strategies
Second chakra clients use emotional manipulation to bend you to their will. They might cry, scream, or sound pitiful to get their way. Understand that most clients’ emotions are real and shouldn’t be invalidated. Become worried if a client insists that you and only you can alleviate their emotional issues and if your gut tells you their emotions are aimed at influencing you.
Healer’s Strategies
If you feel overwhelmed or confused by a client’s emotional presentation, refer them to a licensed professional. Give them an emergency help line number rather than deal with an emotionally challenging client alone. Consider booking appointments through email so you can avoid emotional entanglements on the phone.
Deal with your own codependency issues and trust your own emotional reactions to a client. Don’t rely on clients to meet your own emotional needs and avoid becoming the sole support of a client’s emotional woes.
I had a woman write six emails in an hour saying she was having a breakdown and I needed to see her immediately; I was booked several months out. I couldn’t track her location so I had my assistant send her a help line phone number and say I wasn’t qualified to meet her needs.

Third Chakra: Yellow

Manages: Structure, administration, personal power, thoughts, cognitive empathy
Location: Solar plexus
Manipulator’s Strategies
A manipulative third chakra client might be constantly late or compel you to see them on their schedule, not your own. Most likely, they only feel special when being accommodated.
Healer’s Strategies
Set a schedule and keep it. Build an emergency session time into your schedule every so often. Create a cancellation list and a referral system. Set clear boundaries around client no-shows and lateness. Don’t ever see clients longer than they are scheduled for. Consider asking for prepayment from all clients; have a nonrefundable cancellation policy. Also, don’t answer or respond to questions or needs outside of a client’s paid time. I use an assistant who makes it clear that I won’t respond to clients’ issues except during a booked session time. Specific to bodywork, figure out the cutoff to starting a session for a late client.
Work on issues related to owning your own personal time. Your time is your life—keep it sacred. Avoid bolstering your self-esteem by giving away your time so as to be “needed.”
I had a client who canceled three times because of her son’s soccer schedule. I valued my time more than that. After that experience, I set a two-day cancellation policy with full payment due a week before an appointment.

Fourth Chakra: Green

Manages: Love, relationships, healing
Location: Chest
Manipulator’s Strategies
The fourth chakra manipulator believes that we only love them if we bow to their immediate and often dramatic desires; either that, or they want to “give” us love, perhaps through compliments, gifts, or special treatment. They might also state or infer that no one except us can heal them.  
Healer’s Strategies
We all want to love and be loved, but watch out for the ego trap. We are basically hired help. Our goal is to get our own needs met outside our practice and encourage our clients to connect with real people, and perhaps their Higher Power, through their everyday lives. As applicable, recommend that clients form beneficial friendships, use professional resources or support groups to address relationship issues, and see other healers if they have the money or time. Be clear that although you care for them, you are running a business and are only available during scheduled sessions.  
I once had a student send me several messages on Facebook insisting that I become her friend. I switched the conversation to my professional email and stated that while I was happy to have her in my class, I couldn’t offer friendship. (Since then, I don’t even look at my Facebook messages. Ever.) She began sending mean notes accusing me of hurting her in a past life. I reimbursed her the class monies so she could exit the class.  

Fifth Chakra: Blue

Manages: Communication, receiving worldly and spiritual guidance
Location: Throat
Manipulator’s Strategies
The fifth chakra manipulator is exceptionally good at using words and phrases to get what they want. They might quote an external authority, such as scripture, an expert, an invisible spiritual guide, or God, to insist you do “X” or “Y” for them. They might twist your words against you or misquote your policies. They might also say you are being unkind if you establish and keep standard boundaries.
Healer’s Strategies
Pay attention to the difference between what someone says and what you intuitively sense they mean. Trust your intuition. If you think you are getting played, stick to protocol and policies and, if necessary, have someone else talk to or email the client when communicating. Practice the “art of the pause.” If pressed, simply say, “I have to think about that.” When being pushed, be comfortable with being accused of being unkind when you are firm and always follow your own spiritual guidance, not that of your client’s.
Years ago, I worked with a wealthy client. After a few sessions, he insisted that God said I was supposed to marry him and move to his hometown. I said I would believe it if God said the same to me, but in the meantime, I couldn’t work professionally with him any longer.

Sixth Chakra: Violet

Manages: Vision, clairvoyance, selection of the future
Location: Brow
Manipulator’s Strategies
Sixth chakra manipulators often insist their vision of the future is totally accurate. As an intuitive, they might disagree with you if you perceive something as less than awesome, especially if you point out negative consequences to their harmful behaviors. They might also attempt to draw you into futuristic schemes, such as “sure thing” investments.
Healer’s Strategies
Stay in the present. Don’t be tempted to believe a client’s false or fantastical version of the future and don’t insert yourself in their future. Bravely disagree with a client’s idea if need be. Deal with inner issues that make you think another’s future depends on you and you alone.
Decades ago, I had a client promise that if I would work on him for free, he’d give me a percentage of a business deal. After all, I was vital to making the dream come true. I did this for three months before figuring out the deal wasn’t ever going to happen. I hadn’t even drawn up a contract! I stopped seeing him until he paid me back financially and was lucky that he did.

Seventh Chakra: White

Manages: Spirituality, purpose, connection to the Spirit
Location: Top of the head
Manipulator’s Strategies
Seventh chakra manipulators frequently come off as very spiritual. You’ll feel guilty disagreeing with their assessment of reality, especially as they are such perfect people. They might convince you that their higher purpose or spiritual development depends on you, or they might quote psychic sources telling you what to do. They might also shame you for charging them money, using some version of the idea that “money is evil.” And they won’t care if you go against your own value system as long as they get what they want.

Healer’s Strategies
Live your value system. Know that you are charging for your time, not your spiritual energy. If asked, state your religious or spiritual affiliation but explain that you work with people of all creeds and spiritual backgrounds.
I received an email from a man who stated he was so spiritually developed that I should give him a free session. After all, I would probably gain more than him. Needless to say, I refused the honor.

If all else fails, trust those spidey senses! You know who you are and who you don’t want to be.


1. Preston Ni, “14 Signs of Psychological and Emotional Manipulation,” Psychology Today, October 11, 2015, accessed May 2018,
2. Suzanne Degges-White, “How to Handle Manipulators,” Psychology Today, March 25, 2014, accessed May 2018,
3. WebMD, “Recognizing Caregiver Burnout,” accessed May 2018,

Cyndi Dale is an internationally renowned author, speaker, and intuitive consultant. Her popular books include The Subtle Body Coloring Book: Learn Energetic Anatomy (Sounds True, 2017), Subtle Energy Techniques (Llewellyn Publications, 2017), Llewellyn’s Complete Book of Chakras (Llewellyn Publications, 2016), The Intuition Guidebook: How To Safely and Wisely Use Your Sixth Sense (Deeper Well Publishing, 2011), Energetic Boundaries: How to Stay Protected and Connected in Work, Love, and Life (Sounds True, 2011), The Subtle Body: An Encyclopedia of Your Energetic Anatomy (Sounds True, 2009), and The Complete Book of Chakra Healing (Llewellyn Publications, 2009), as well as nearly 20 additional books. To learn more about Dale and her products, services, and classes, please visit