Jump to content

Boundaries and counselling


  • Please log in to reply
70 replies to this topic

#1 Angelot

Posted 20 January 2013 - 08:07 AM

Question, for outside perspective:

A counsellor is seeing a client.  The counsellor's colleague wanders in during the session with a coffee for the counsellor (does not knock or anything first, just walks in).  The client is very upset, feels that her privacy and confidentiality have been seriously breached, but the colleague seems to think what she did was normal.

WDYT?  Random coffee deliveries in that setting, ok or not?

#2 Maple Leaf

Posted 20 January 2013 - 08:10 AM

I would think not ok.

Most counsellors won't accept phone calls during a session let alone a random walk in with coffee.


#3 Guest_Dinah_Harris_*

Posted 20 January 2013 - 08:11 AM

Not okay,  and breach of trust and confidentiality in my opinion.    For some,  it's incredibly difficult to open up to one person,  without someone else randomly wandering in.

#4 WithSprinkles

Posted 20 January 2013 - 08:13 AM

No. I don't think it's very professional for a coffee to be drunk during a session either (unless the client also has a coffee).

#5 CountryFeral

Posted 20 January 2013 - 08:13 AM

Definitely needed to knock first.

Absolutely.

That has happened to me - there was a knock and a muffled voice from the other side of the door, my counsellor asked "Oh do you mind if my colleague brings in a cup of tea?" I said "No." counsellor stood up went to the door took cup of tea and closed the door again.

Jeepers we don't even barge in when we are having a student chat!  (although sometimes there is crying and counselling going on there too - not deliberately though!)

#6 Pompol

Posted 20 January 2013 - 08:14 AM

All kinds of wrong.

Eta: misread the OP. what did the counsellor say/do?

Edited by Pompol, 20 January 2013 - 08:16 AM.


#7 MrsWidget

Posted 20 January 2013 - 08:21 AM

That is completely inappropriate.

#8 zrello

Posted 20 January 2013 - 08:27 AM

Not a breach of confidentiality, as colleague could have seen her in the waiting room, and I would assume they stopped talking when colleague entered. It is unprofessional, but depends if appointment was scheduled at that time.  If colleague thought counsellor was free & didn't realise they were with someone, that could explain it. But usually closed doors means you knock, counsellor goes to door, explains they are with someone & can they catch up later.
Coffee should be offered to patient, or not drunk at all.

#9 Lucrezia Borgia

Posted 20 January 2013 - 08:28 AM

It probably wouldnt bother me....I mean the minute I heard the door open i would stop talking and presumably the counsellor would too...or would switch to something innocuous like "oh thanks for the cuppa" so I wouldn't expect anything private to be revealed in the presence of the third person.....it WOULD upset me if it were a drs room and I was...for example...being examined and had my gear off.....

#10 Cat People

Posted 20 January 2013 - 08:32 AM

I think it's very unprofessional but I'm not sure how privacy and confidentiality has been seriously breached?

#11 alwayshappy

Posted 20 January 2013 - 08:36 AM

Unprofessional, and may be a breach of privacy/confidentiality if the colleague saw the client, who had previously been unseen or wanted to keep his/her presence private.

#12 caitiri

Posted 20 January 2013 - 08:37 AM

No its not appropriate at all.

#13 Phascogale

Posted 20 January 2013 - 08:40 AM

Unprofessional but not a breach of confidentiality as I'm guessing that as soon as the door opened that both would've stopped talking.  I can see why the client was distressed about it - especially if she was crying.  I'm guessing the way she feels is linked to why she's seeing the counsellor in the first place as I'm guessing most people wouldn't feel quite as strongly about something like this.

The colleague needs to be told never to do it again.  Knocking first and waiting till the door is opened (or someone yells to come in) is what needs to happen if there's something that can't wait until the appointment is over.  It's a concern that she doesn't feel that she did something wrong.

#14 WhimsicalDragonfly

Posted 20 January 2013 - 09:07 AM

I think its unprofessional and the wrong thing for someone to open the door to deliver a coffee during a counselling session. It may break the feeling of safety, security & predictability that you had in the room, interrupt your train of thought, and communicate that there are more important things to the counsellor than listening to you. Though may depend in how well you know the counsellor and how formal or informal the setting is, and the nature of the counselling (ie how sensitive the topics discussed are).
I think coffees should preferably not be in sessions, but if they have to be for some reason (counsellor sanity?!!), they should be prepared prior to the session starting and one offered to the client.
If this wasn't possible then, the counsellor should let the client know that someone will be delivering a coffee and that person should definitely knock!

#15 vanessa71

Posted 20 January 2013 - 09:33 AM

Wouldn't concern me at all. I fail to see how drinking coffee stops a person listening to me.

I think a knock first is appropriate, but apart from that I wouldn't care and I don't think there was a breach in privacy and confidentiality.


#16 JustBeige

Posted 20 January 2013 - 10:05 AM

QUOTE (Phascogale @ 20/01/2013, 09:40 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Unprofessional but not a breach of confidentiality as I'm guessing that as soon as the door opened that both would've stopped talking.  I can see why the client was distressed about it - especially if she was crying.  I'm guessing the way she feels is linked to why she's seeing the counsellor in the first place as I'm guessing most people wouldn't feel quite as strongly about something like this.

The colleague needs to be told never to do it again.  Knocking first and waiting till the door is opened (or someone yells to come in) is what needs to happen if there's something that can't wait until the appointment is over.  It's a concern that she doesn't feel that she did something wrong.

I agree with this.

Unprofessional of the colleague.  Knock should have happened even if they didnt think a client was in there.  Immediate apology for the interruption and an offer of a drink to the client and a hurried exit would have been the thing to do.

Client is well within her rights to feel intruded upon.  

There was no breach of confidentiality or privacy unless the agreement with the client was that no one from the practise knows that she goes.

#17 ednaboo

Posted 20 January 2013 - 10:06 AM

It's unprofessional.  It wouldn't happen in a professional therapy session, but I accept that some counsellors work in a more laid back setting.  I don't see any good reason why a colleague needs to bring coffee in at that time.  


But I don't know that it is an invasion of privacy.

#18 toosenuf

Posted 20 January 2013 - 10:15 AM

Not ok at all, if i were the client, i might have lost all faith in the councellor, especially if the councellor thought that their colleague did not do anything wrong.

#19 Coffeegirl

Posted 20 January 2013 - 10:15 AM

QUOTE (zrello @ 20/01/2013, 09:27 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Not a breach of confidentiality, as colleague could have seen her in the waiting room, and I would assume they stopped talking when colleague entered. It is unprofessional, but depends if appointment was scheduled at that time.  If colleague thought counsellor was free & didn't realise they were with someone, that could explain it. But usually closed doors means you knock, counsellor goes to door, explains they are with someone & can they catch up later.
Coffee should be offered to patient, or not drunk at all.


The last counselling centre I attended staggered their appointments so you only saw the receptionist and your counsellor. Never another patient or counsellor (small close-knit community where everyone knew everyone else's business).   So yes I see a breach of confidentiality.  

QUOTE (WhimsicalDragonfly @ 20/01/2013, 10:07 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I think its unprofessional and the wrong thing for someone to open the door to deliver a coffee during a counselling session. It may break the feeling of safety, security & predictability that you had in the room, interrupt your train of thought, and communicate that there are more important things to the counsellor than listening to you. Though may depend in how well you know the counsellor and how formal or informal the setting is, and the nature of the counselling (ie how sensitive the topics discussed are).
I think coffees should preferably not be in sessions, but if they have to be for some reason (counsellor sanity?!!), they should be prepared prior to the session starting and one offered to the client.
If this wasn't possible then, the counsellor should let the client know that someone will be delivering a coffee and that person should definitely knock!


^^.  It takes a lot of time for some patients to build a sense of trust in the counsellor.   What if the patient was on the brink of divulging they had been abused or finally explaining the reason for their anxiety?   The interruption could put the patient back many days before they feel ready to open up again.

#20 désir d'amour

Posted 20 January 2013 - 10:19 AM

If the door is shut, you don't come in, unless the practitioner intercoms out for something/someone.   That's my opinion on anything where patient health is required, mental or physical.

anything else is entirely unprofessional and if the patient didn't want their presence to be known, I would consider that a breach of confidentiality.

#21 Alacritous~Andy

Posted 20 January 2013 - 10:20 AM

Definitely unprofessional.  I wouldn't be happy if someone walked in unannounced to a therapy session.  But then, I wouldn't be happy if someone walked in unannounced when I was talking to my accountant, or solicitor, or during any meeting, to be honest.  

But in terms of privacy breach? I think it depends.

I can understand a patient being upset if they have been intruded upon while visibly distressed.

#22 JJ

Posted 20 January 2013 - 10:25 AM

QUOTE (Coffeegirl @ 20/01/2013, 09:15 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
The last counselling centre I attended staggered their appointments so you only saw the receptionist and your counsellor. Never another patient or counsellor (small close-knit community where everyone knew everyone else's business).   So yes I see a breach of confidentiality.


That's a great idea. It's kind of awkward when you live in a small-ish community and the person that comes out before you go in is a school mum... ph34r.gif  (not to mention all the other people that come and go while you sit in the very public and busy waiting area)

As for the OP's scenario - definitely not OK.

The coffee - well some counsellors seem to do it, some don't, it wouldn't bother me... but no knocking - wrong for all the reasons already mentioned.

From personal experience, it seems to me that some counsellors do get rather casual and blasé about this kind of thing once they've been in the job for a while.

Edited by JJ, 20 January 2013 - 10:27 AM.


#23 weepingangel

Posted 20 January 2013 - 11:55 AM

QUOTE
It takes a lot of time for some patients to build a sense of trust in the counsellor. What if the patient was on the brink of divulging they had been abused or finally explaining the reason for their anxiety? The interruption could put the patient back many days before they feel ready to open up again.


This absolutely. The only counselling i have had was grief counselling after stillbirth. There was no way it would have been OK with me if someone had interrupted my time.

I would have felt like the counsellor wasn't really there for me as such and would not have gone back. It can be incredibly emotional and very taxing doing counselling, it's not just a chit chat, casual like.

When i was having counselling, the door was shut, a sign put up on the door saying "counselling in progress", telephone off etc and this was in a major tertiary hospital.

Truly unprofessional OP, i hope you are OK?

#24 Angelot

Posted 20 January 2013 - 12:05 PM

Oh thank God.  I was wondering if I had lost all perspective on this one.

QUOTE (zrello @ 20/01/2013, 09:27 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Not a breach of confidentiality, as colleague could have seen her in the waiting room, and I would assume they stopped talking when colleague entered. It is unprofessional, but depends if appointment was scheduled at that time.  If colleague thought counsellor was free & didn't realise they were with someone, that could explain it. But usually closed doors means you knock, counsellor goes to door, explains they are with someone & can they catch up later.
Coffee should be offered to patient, or not drunk at all.


The thing is, this colleague does not usually work in this building and basically wandered in when I had no reason to believe she was even in the building.  The door wasn't actually closed but it was completely obvious that there was a discussion in progress, and it would still have been possible to knock on the frame or call out (and yes, it was a scheduled appointment).

No, I'm not really ok about it at all.




#25 Ianthe

Posted 20 January 2013 - 12:26 PM

That is very poor form. That could be really confronting (and obviously was) for the client. Not good for rapport and having the client be relaxed.




1 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 1 guests, 0 anonymous users

 

Special offer: The Baby & Toddler Show 2014

At The Baby & Toddler Show, you?ll find everything you need to get ready for your new arrival and guide you through the early weeks and years of parenting.

10 things they don?t tell you about being pregnant

As I slowly waddle my ever-changing pregnant body towards the finishing line of my due date, it?s becoming increasingly clear there are a lot of things they just don?t tell you about pregnancy.

Overcoming a fear of the dark

A toddler's fear of the dark is very normal, but there are ways parents can help children through this stage in their development.

Kids, TV and movies: how young is too young?

It seems you don't have to throw the TV and iPad out the window - it all boils down to moderation, supervision and interaction.

Video: Baby's first birthday is a special day for mum, too

?A baby?s first birthday is also mum?s first birthday.?

The day Supernanny came to tea

Prince William's favourite celebrity child trainer Jo Frost puts Bryony Gordon and her toddler through their paces.

Tales from the homefront

When you're at work you sort of assume that your house is basically just sitting there quietly doing nothing until you return. However, since spending my days at home, I've learned this couldn't be further from the truth.

The words I hated hearing as new mum

It was less than a week after my son was born that I first heard it - from my mother.

To the pharmacist who sold me baby formula

On the rare occasion I catch sight of you at school, or around town, I think back to our earliest exchange. I?m sure you have no recollection of it at all.

Babies may benefit from autism therapy

Children showing signs of autism don't usually receive early intervention until well into toddlerhood or later, but a new study suggests infants with symptoms of the developmental disorder might benefit from therapy from as early as six months.

Knatalye and Adeline born with an everlasting bond

Knatalye Hope and Adeline Faith are a lot like any other identical twin girls, but there is one dramatic difference: they're joined at the chest and shares several internal organs.

The question this dad wishes he'd asked his wife

I should have seen that my wife wasn't the same person I'd fallen in love with, but we were both too focused on simply trying to get by.

Why we should talk about the deaths of the Hunt children

The deaths are too horrible even to think about. Yet we owe it to the children - Fletcher, Mia and Phoebe Hunt - to think long and hard about it all.

Baby dies of meningococcal weeks after vaccine application denied

A six-month-old girl has died from meningococcal disease just weeks after an application for government funding of a vaccine for the most deadly strain of the virus was rejected.

Finding the right balance when playing with your kids

Being too involved in our children?s play and not allowing our kids enough free time for unstructured activities can mean our kids miss out on the value that play offers.

Creative DIY light shades

The Pop Light light shade comes in a flat pack already made - it's up to you to design it as you'd like.

The battle of iParenting versus imagination

Have we forgotten how to be imaginative, resourceful parents?

Why movement is so important for your baby's growth

Letting your child move as much as possible in the early years ? using all senses, engaging in the real world, preferably outside ? will help them grow up healthier, smarter, calmer and stronger.

Video: Toddler not keen on clean-shaven dad

This little girl thought she was taking part in a standard game of peek-a-boo, but her dad had a surprise for her.

When will I feel like myself again?

At some point I became 'me' again, but not the same me that I was ... and that?s not a bad thing.

Download now: Essential Kids Activity Finder app

Got bored kids? Quickly find the best activities for kids wherever you are in Australia with the Essential Kids app.

 
Advertisement
 
Advertisement
 
 
 

What's hot on EB

Special offer: The Baby & Toddler Show 2014

At The Baby & Toddler Show, you?ll find everything you need to get ready for your new arrival and guide you through the early weeks and years of parenting.

Win a House of Magic prize pack

To celebrate the release of the new movie House of Magic, we have 10 double passes and magic sets to give away just in time for these school holidays. Enter Now for a chance to win!

Losing yourself to motherhood

While watching your baby grow into a unique little person is exciting and wondrous, the intensity of meeting everyone else?s needs can ever so sneakily overtake your own needs for self-care.

Tearing during delivery: the facts

Almost all women will experience bruising, grazing or tearing after a vaginal birth. Depending on the degree of tearing, there are various treatments available.

6 tips for a day out with a baby and toddler

Outings can be lots of fun with the kids, but there are inevitable challenges. Here's some information about days out to help you be a little more prepared.

Why I invited a dozen people to watch my son's birth

I sent invitations on burgundy scrapbooking paper stamped with a field of poppies, and told each person why I wanted him or her there. I warned that there would be nudity.

Getting labour started: tips for a natural induction

When your baby?s due date comes and goes without so much as a pop - let alone a bang - it can be disheartening. Mums and a doula share their stories of natural inductions.

7 mistakes old hands make with new babies

As I sat across the table from my friend ? me, a seasoned mother of three; her, a brand new mum ? I thought of all the mistakes an old-hand parent can make when visiting a newborn baby.

That's my boy: a dad's diary of the first 4 months

Unbearable anxiety, unspeakable joy, constant exhaustion and bouts of frustration ... The many shocks of first-time fatherhood resound in a dad's diary of his son's early months.

One of the most important things a new mum can do

Finances may not be as cute as a newborn, but with many women?s working arrangements changing post-baby, monetary matters need attention too.

Couple's bucket list for unborn baby

Jenna and Dan Haley know their baby's time will be limited, so they're packing in a lifetime of memories before he's even born.

Personalised baby gifts

We've scoured the internet to find gorgeous personalised keepsakes and nursery decor to record baby name and dates. They make great gifts for christenings, name days and birthdays! (All prices in AU.)

 

Reader offer

2 FOR 1 TICKET OFFER

For Shopping, For Advice, For Baby & You. Enjoy a special day out with fabulous shopping from over 200 brands, leading parenting experts offering advice on a range of topics, and amazing children?s entertainment

 
Advertisement
 
 
Essential Baby and Essential Kids is the place to find parenting information and parenting support relating to conception, pregnancy, birth, babies, toddlers, kids, maternity, family budgeting, family travel, nutrition and wellbeing, family entertainment, kids entertainment, tips for the family home, child-friendly recipes and parenting. Try our pregnancy due date calculator to determine your due date, or our ovulation calculator to predict ovulation and your fertile period. Our pregnancy week by week guide shows your baby's stages of development. Access our very active mum's discussion groups in the Essential Baby forums or the Essential Kids forums to talk to mums about conception, pregnancy, birth, babies, toddlers, kids and parenting lifestyle. Essential Baby also offers a baby names database of more than 22,000 baby names, popular baby names, boys' names, girls' names and baby names advice in our baby names forum. Essential Kids features a range of free printable worksheets for kids from preschool years through to primary school years. For the latest baby clothes, maternity clothes, maternity accessories, toddler products, kids toys and kids clothing, breastfeeding and other parenting resources, check out Essential Baby and Essential Kids.