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Question
Posted by: J | 2004/11/01

Dealing with an obnoxious counselor

A while back I posted about my 11 year old son wanting to hang himself after I reprimanded him about always forgetting and losing things, etc. I also mentioned that I made arrangements for him to undergo psychological assessments.
Because I have no medical aid, I was referred to a Government Child and Family Unit. Needless to say, I was told at the time that they have a long waiting list …blah, blah, blah.
I did a follow-up call on Friday, as they still have not contacted me to set up an appointment. The receptionist was dumbstruck and could not even find my son’s file. Out of desperation, I reminded her that my son has suicidal tendencies and that I would appreciate an urgent appointment.She promised that she would get the counselor assigned to my son to call me the same day.
Well, the councilor called and I was totally taken aback by her attitude. She implied that I was trying to hold the Unit responsible for my son’s actions. I don’t see how, since I never even managed to get an appointment. Nevertheless, I assured her that these were not my intentions.She backed down and offered an appointment for Wednesday morning.
She also said that if he does attempt suicide I should take him to Casualty at a hospital, which I know very well and thank God, I never needed to.We had no subsequent episodes.That was the first and the last.Things are going pretty well.
What does bother me, is the fact that I now have mixed feelings towards this counselor.I fear that I will find it hard to remain objective through this process, because of our first telephonic encounter. I know I might seem over-sensitive, but I am sorry , I just know that I wont be comfortable with her.
I have no intention of backing off, as I know how important it is to get help for my son. Please could you recommend how best to deal with this.

Thanks
J.

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Our expert says:
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J, such counsellors are often themselves under great strain and work pressure. Give her a chance, and see how it works ouy. If possible, go along with your son, and see her at least briefly yourself, to see what you think of her and show her how nice you are. Remember, when she spoke to you she was responding to the message she received from the receptionist, not to what you actually said, and the receptionist, alarmed that the file had been lost, may have sounded more desperate or rattled than usual. Explain to the counsellor why you were concerned, to find that the file had apparently been lost.
Let us know how the first session goes.

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