Ethics -part 2 : LUSENET : The Learning Group : One Thread

Part 2 Task - This is the first email you receive from a potential client. List areas of the BAC Code which regarding which this email raises concern. Reply to Lucy and when satisfied post your reply in the Discussion Forum.

Dear Counsellor,

I am so angry I hardly know where to start.

I was in my doctor's waiting room and skimming through this magazine. The doctor has interesting magazines for a change - Self & Society. Do you know it? It is a magazine contributed to by therapists and counsellors. My counsellor who I have been paying for over two years now had contributed an article on 'Countertransference'. And there as bold as brass she wrote about her feelings toward me! She has told me face to face, in the past that she thinks I enjoy the mess that my boyfriends and I always end up in. I was furious then and told her so. But to have the brass neck to write about me and without so much as a bye your leave. I it is so clear that it is me: early 30's she writes, blonde and tall working in PR in Leeds (I work in Manchester, but the change is clearly a simple effort at disguise - it doesn't work), grew up in London with two younger sisters and a father who taught in schools. Why anyone reading that article who knows me would recognise me. I feel so ashamed to have my business written about in public. I don't know where to look. After recognising myself in the article, I looked round the waiting room at the other patients and I felt like they had all recognised me and were thinking - she enjoys messing up her relationships. It was awful. I was so embarrassed I couldn't sit there. I had to go outside and have a cigarette.

I am contacting you because I see from your web site that you are members of BACP and subject to their complaints procedure. I remember my counsellor saying she was a member in the early days. Obviously I can't say anything to her, but I want something done. She has behaved extremely badly, writing about me like that without ever discussing her intentions with me. I have thought about speaking with my doctor, but as she no longer works for them what's the point. You see my initial contact with her two years ago was in her role as the Surgery Counsellor. She recommended I continue seeing her privately after we had completed the ten sessions, which is the surgery maximum. So I want to complain. Have her struck off, or whatever you call it. She has broken my confidences and very publicly. You counsellors are very clear about keeping confidentiality. Your web site is very clear about it. So I want your assistance. I'm sure you know how stressful complaining is, so I thought I would contact you for support in this. I have already sent to BACP for the details of what I need to do. I imagine you are familiar with it as BACP members. Will you assist me? With thanks Lucy

-- Anonymous, July 17, 2001


The relevant areas of the BACP code are: B3.5.4 A client's informed consent must be obtained wherever possible and their identity must be effectively disguised. If info is to be published. B3.5.6 Counsellor must pay particular attention to protecting the identity of clients. B4.3.6 Counsellors are responsible for addressing any client dissatisfaction with the counselling. B6.1.5 Counsellors are responsible for ensuring that their relationships with clients are not unduly influenced by their own emotional needs. Eg the counsellor may have found this client's material rather too close to home - the article is entitled 'Countertransference'.

In responding to the client's email, the following areas need to be borne in mind: B1.4.1 Counsellors must not undermine confidence in counselling or other counsellors. B1.4.2 A counsellor who suspects misconduct which cannot be remedied by discussion with the counsellor should implement the Complaints Procedure, without further breaching confidentiality.

B1.3.2?? There may also be an issue about the counsellor referring the client to herself for ongoing work. If a complaint is undertaken, this may also need to be addressed.

Dear Lucy, I received your email of July 17th and can certainly see why you feel so angry. Reading this article must have felt like a great betrayal of confidence. I am certainly happy to help you look into this situation and I note that you have already contacted the BACP for their complaints procedure documentation. I intend that my own practice always be ethical and, in a situation like this, where you feel that your confidence has been broken once, it is even more important that all subsequent undertakings be absolutely ethical and above board. With this in mind, it is imperative that I adhere very strictly to the Code of Ethics for Counsellors and keep you well informed, too. The first consideration in this complaints procedure is that I do not undermine confidence in counselling or other counsellors (B1.4.1) which would be the case if I assumed that the counsellor had just taken your case, altered one or two details and published your situation in a journal. So, the first thing we need to do is to check the situation with her with a view to establishing her side of it. Could you undertake to do this? The email you wrote to me is very clear and to the point so you could just send this to her with an explanatory note if you found it hard to write to her. Before the complaints procedure is implemented, all efforts must be made for suspected misconduct to be resolved or remedied in discussion with the counsellor concerned (B1.4.2), so this would be the start. How does this sound? Do you think that you and I can work together to address this painful situation and find a resolution that helps you? With best wishes, Gillian Hill

-- Anonymous, August 08, 2001

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