Counselling Dilemma: Client Referral
In this scenario, the counsellor has been experiencing deteriorating health problems and is required to go into hospital in 2 weeks time for major surgery. It is likely that the counsellor will be spending a few weeks in hospital and some further months at home recovering from surgery.
The counsellor runs an independent practice and has notified clients of his absence. He has been concerned about leaving his clients, although most of them seem content to either wait or take a referral to another counsellor. There is however one client whom he is most concerned with at present and is reluctant to break this news to.
The client is a recently reformed drug addict whom the counsellor has been volunteering his services to. She is quite young (17) and has spent the last few years of her life on the street. The counsellor has been seeing her for about a month (in her own environment) and a relationship of trust and respect has developed between them. The client is naturally distrustful of most people, which is a survival mechanism she developed to survive the poverty and abuse associated with her environment. The counsellor is very sensitive to the significance of the trust the client has developed with him.
The counsellor is concerned that she will not accept the fact that he will be absent for several months and fears she will treat it as “being deserted once again”. He is concerned that she may slip back into her drug habits and sink further back into the street life again. He is afraid that if her progress doesn’t continue, she may find it harder to leave her surroundings next time, due to failure the first time around.
The counsellor doesn’t know of anyone personally whom he might refer her to and who would continue to work with her in a voluntary capacity. How might you handle this scenario if you were the counsellor?