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Persephone

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Hello there.
I want to ask a question:In what places except an office, for example is counselling allowed?
For example, I heard that ex-addicts may meet their counselllors in a cafeteria in order for them(the ex-addicts) to feel more comfortable.
Is this possible?
 

David Baxter

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That would depend on the counsellor. I'm not personally comfortable doing that for several reasons, not the least of which is privacy and confidentialty. Some counselors do it; some don't.
 

David Baxter

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It's not necessarily unethical or illegitmate if the patient/client requests it. As I said, I wouldn't do it for various reasons, not the least of which is that I prefer to keep the therapeutic relationship clearly defined as "in office only".

I know that counselors with the Youth Bureau here in Ottawa do sometimes see clients at their home or at a restaurant such as Tim Horton's. It's not illegal. Of course, what they are doing is life counseling, not psychotherapy.

Is your therapist requesting this? Or are you requesting this?
 

ladylore

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I have know counsellors who have worked in battered women shelters that have taken the client out for coffee or to the park so its more comfortable for the client. It was the counsellor's call.

Then there are street counsellors for sex trade workers, homeless teens...that basically need to go the extra mile to help these populations. Some clients will never set foot inside an office because of the power imbalance between client and counsellor. In these cases if the client won't come to the counsellor, the counsellor must go to the client.
 

David Baxter

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Some clients will never set foot inside an office because of the power imbalance between client and counsellor. In these cases if the client won't come to the counsellor, the counsellor must go to the client.

And some clients can't come to the office. For example, one of my colleagues was recently seeing someone with agoraphobia at home until she had made sifficient progress to start coming to her office. Another was seeing a client who was ill from chemotherapy at home.

I didn't mean to imply that there are not legitimate reasons for doing this.
 

Persephone

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I am beginning my practise as a counsellor(not psychotherapist) and after a lot of bad luck and waiting a client appeared who lives far away from my home.She clearly tells me that she wants my help but, because my home is so dar away from hers, she asked me to see her in a cafeteria, like Starbucks. I told her that this place is a little strange for me, because we will not be alone, other people will be present, and she said that she is aware of this and that she does not have a problem. Because I am new to all this I didn't know how legitimate/ethical is this. Unfortunately my supervisor is unreacheable for the last three days to ask him.
 

David Baxter

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Personally, I would probably decline. If the reasoning is only the distance, the client can make arrangements for transportation.

These days, I advise colleagues to see clients in office only unless there are extremely extenuating circumstances. When you see clients elsewhere, you leave yourself open to complaints of unprofessional behavior or unethical conduct. It's true that this is in a public place, but that makes it worse for issues of privacy and confidentialty, not to mention I can't imagine how one does therapy in a "food court" atmosphere.

I would recommend that you decline at least until you can speak with your supervisor. You can let the client know that you will get an opinion from your supewrvisor when you are able to do so but in the meantime you can only offer office appointments.

One of the issues in seeing any client elsewhere is what fee to charge. If I see clients in my office, typically I can see three clients in three hours and therefore bill for nthree hours of my time. If I have to travel an hour to see a client, I'm losing an hour's income so I'd probably want to charge the client for that extra hour - but I don't think most client's would want the extra expense.
 

ladylore

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I am beginning my practise as a counsellor(not psychotherapist) and after a lot of bad luck and waiting a client appeared who lives far away from my home.She clearly tells me that she wants my help but, because my home is so dar away from hers, she asked me to see her in a cafeteria, like Starbucks. I told her that this place is a little strange for me, because we will not be alone, other people will be present, and she said that she is aware of this and that she does not have a problem. Because I am new to all this I didn't know how legitimate/ethical is this. Unfortunately my supervisor is unreacheable for the last three days to ask him.

Are there counsellors closer to where she lives? It's my opinion that this wouldn't fall under the examples David and I gave.

I think David and I were writing our responses at the same time. :D
 

Persephone

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I guess you are right. It does not feel right to me either to see her in a public place.But I really need to do some hours practise in order to continue with my studies and it really is very hard to find clients in my area. This is a great dillema for me...
 

Persephone

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Hello there! I wanted to let you know what happened!
I talked with my supervisor and he suggested another place, in the centre I am taking my lessons, which is close to an area that is confortable both for me and my client.There are quiet rooms there for this purpose.Luckily, I found an empty room in a weekly basis and so we will begin our sessions there!
Thank you all very much for your support and advise!
 

Rosa

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Just wanted to add I like the idea of having therapy in an office and not a social place. Not only would it be very uncomfortable for me talking in such a place I think it would mess up the therapist/patient relationship. In an office its has a level of professionalism that I just can't see happening at say a coffee shop or other place. This is regarding standard therapy and not referring to some of the samples stated so far where it is necessary for the therapist to travel to the client.
Rosa
 

David Baxter

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Just wanted to add I like the idea of having therapy in an office and not a social place. Not only would it be very uncomfortable for me talking in such a place I think it would mess up the therapist/patient relationship. In an office its has a level of professionalism that I just can't see happening at say a coffee shop or other place.

I agree.
 

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