May 13, 2013
A clinical relationship can be one of the most important and memorable relationships in a person’s life, for both client and clinician. Many people come to count on the professional clinical relationship as a source of support, reflection, information, and activity for meaningful change. Developing skills for relational work with clients requires knowledge of common human dynamics and of the relational preferences and patterns of many different cultures. This skill development also requires great self awareness on the part of clinicians (Murphy & Dillon, 2011). A human service manger can help staff continue to grow and reinforce skills, they can provide outside referrals to address areas of concern or for professional development, or they can manage situations that require a staff member to resign or be terminated.
Tom Martin is a 32 year old Caucasian male, divorced, who has been with the agency for four years. Tom is employed as an individual counselor for adult clients. He is considered an adequate, but not outstanding counselor. Tom has had two previous client complaints that could not be substantiated. A review of Tom’s previous case files shows four female clients who terminated counseling with no explanation. A female client of Tom has informed the supervisor that he has made inappropriate sexual comments, bought her presents, had one out-of-office date, and implied that he could help get custody of her children back from protective service with a favorable treatment report. Tom initially denied these accusations when they were presented to him but does admit that he is attracted to client. These complaints against Tom are serious and are against the ethical code. Sexual contact between clients and clinicians is strictly prohibited by professional codes of ethics and is punishable by law in many states. In some cases the clinician gives the client a gift. A gift may serve as a symbol as a connection with the clinician, but in Tom’s case it was inappropriate. Whether and how to engage in touch with clients remains an important issue in clinical relationships, and is influenced by clients’ and clinicians’ cultural beliefs and preferences, as well as differing clinical theoretical orientations. A clinician who feels sexual attraction toward a client should discuss it with a supervisor rather than mentioning it to the client (Murphy & Dillon, 2011). In this case it is best to release Tom considering he has already admitted to being attracted to former clients and he is vulnerable around women. All of Tom’s clients have initiated their endings in therapy perhaps from feeling uncomfortable.
Janice Wellington is a 28, single, Hispanic female who has been with the agency for two years. Janice is employed as a child and family member counselor. She displays good therapeutic skills and is well-liked by clients according to client records, but her client case logs are not always complete or submitted in a timely way. Accurate time logs should be completed so the clients can receive proper help. Janice states she does not feel confident and knowledgeable with some of the situations she is exposed to. She states she is more comfortable with children than with the entire family during counseling sessions. Janice seems as she is new to the company and is not quite comfortable with every aspect of her position. I would suggest that she keep the agency informed of the problems that she is having so she can receive the appropriate help that she needs. Maybe Janice needs therapy herself so she can understand why she is not comfortable talking in family sessions. Therapy may reveal that she may be or have had family issues so she does not want to relive those moments. She may feel more comfortable talking to children because she may reflect on her childhood and feel better. Sometimes it is fine for a