Words are carefully chosen, and my movements, facial expressions and use of silence in counseling sessions are my punctuation. If you aren’t doing something similar, you should be.
Our ability to cope with stress, frustrations, anger, relationship problems and grief — all magnified by the pandemic — is based on multiple strategies working together. The more the load is shared, the better.
Without experience, it might be easy to be intimidated by police, angry parents or clever attorneys. But you cannot be arrested (as I was threatened on one occasion) for following counseling ethics and HIPAA requirements regarding client information. In fact, you will likely be in greater trouble if you concede to these “requests” and thus violate our code of ethics.
“An ethical ‘oopsie’ that violates trust might never be known to anyone else. But then again, it might. Even the slightest breach might damage a client’s trust to the point that they will never seek counseling again. And that, my dear colleagues, is unforgivable.”
I’m suggesting that you examine your paperwork. If we are going to ask a client to do something — complete homework, see a physician, change life habits or, yes, even fill out pieces of paper — we need to have a good reason for it.