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Anna is a 17 year old student in Year 12 who has come to counselling because she is not coping with the stress of her final year. Anna is from a culture where academic success is highly important and she is under intense pressure from her parents to get good grades and go to university. She does not want to disappoint them but is constantly tired and anxious.

The next time you see Anna, her demeanour has improved significantly. She confides in you that she found a website where she can pay someone to write her assignments for her. Since using this system she has received ā€œAā€™sā€ and her parents are pleased. She feels this has solved her problems and says that she does not need to come to counselling anymore.

In this situation, what should you do as the counsellor? Would you consider breaking confidentiality to inform her parents?

4 Responses to “A dilemma involving an adolescent client”

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  1. Cecelia Titus M.Sc. (Counselling) says:

    As Anna’s counsellor I would tell her that I understand her need to find a solution for her problem. I would suggest to her that it seems to be a short-term solution with some potentially quite negative consequences, and I would ask her if she had thought about any of these possible consequences.

    I would also ask her if her solution was going to help her in the long term, with the aim of helping her to identify and practice ways of thinking and behaving that may help her to reduce her stress. I would ensure that I am supportive and non-judgemental.

  2. Raynette Kise M.Sc. (Counselling) says:

    Since Anna feels that this has solved her problems, I would be careful not to elaborate on the possible negative consequences of her actions at this stage.

    Instead, I would acknowledge her feelings of relief and then shift the focus back to her original presenting concern of not coping with stress. I would use the miracle question in Solution-Focused approach to have her think how her life would be like without the stress in general. Then exception questions can be used to further explore how she used to handled stress in the past, what was different during those times, what she did for the exceptions to happen and how she can do the same again, in this situation.

    I would then explore with her some possible future scenarios. If she worked with using the exceptions found, how would she view herself after graduating from university? If she continued using this system that she just found, how would she feel about herself later? The predetermined impact of this exercise would be for her to come to her own self-realisation that her actions chosen today will have different consequences and she is in control of which direction she wishes to embrace.

  3. A.O.Vijayaraman says:

    I shall try to take over as an assignment writer to her and will give confidence to her that I can and I have got many friends to help her. And I shall not take her time more to counsel.Any way she is having another assignment writer. I shall point to her to use the other assignment writer also and succeed. success is possible. I shall build up a constant contact with her to explain to her that I am not only to counsel her but to help her really by other means also. slowly… I shall give insight to her the negative consequence of depending on others and her own ability to do it. I shall try to explore her stressful situations when she was trying to study alone. When she get insight to avoid the stress when facing this problem she shall be a successful student.

    Even if she does not believe me , when she faces the negative consequence of the other assignment writer she is going to contact me again.

  4. If I were a counsellor, I would be careful not to break her confidence. Instead I would ask her to try to answer the assignments on her own way. But I would explain to her why I let her do that. It’s one way of making her realize her potential that she is capable of doing the, herself. I think that it would make her feel good.

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