Our third What Would You Do Ethical Dilemma explored the difficulty of meeting a client in an unexpected way outside of the counselling bubble. The choices all focussed on different scales of avoiding contact on the day, with the most popular choice was to stay and avoid contact with the client. No-one decided to go up to approach the client on the night…although there was interest in bringing up the evening in therapy.
You have been asked to perform at a local talent contest, after a busy day with clients you don your posh frock and go down to the talent contest venue to get ready for your performance. As you take the mic on stage you look out through the bright lights and see one of your long term counselling clients in the audience! You feel flustered at the sight of them being there and it feels really odd that they have seen you in such a different way. You had planned to be there for the whole evening and were due to meet friends for some drinks and a meal whilst you watch the rest of the show.
What do you do?
As soon as the performance is over, you get changed and head out the back door. You text your friends and tell them you need to go home. It feels important that your therapeutic relationship with your client is safeguarded. You decide to ask your client how it felt for them when you next see them.
Uphold confidentiality by not approaching your client, you spend the evening with your friends but you say nothing about seeing your client in the audience. You decide not to drink to ensure you look professional. You are careful not to look in the direction of the client.
Run up to the client after the performance, give them a big hug and ask them what they thought of your performance, then you get on the beer!
Stay for a couple of hours with your friends but head home early in order to limit the chance of bumping into your client. When you next see your client you ask them what it was like for them to see you there; after all there may be some therapy in this.