Friday, 20 August 2021

Recognising the need for referral

I have recently been thinking about what we do in our practice when we run thin on the ground. We need to remind ourselves that we need support too. As we learn or formalise our expertise in any area, and as a reflective practitioner, we learn that we too need to seek "support, advice, and consultation" (Nelson, 2014) from our colleagues - or specialists - to assist our work; to both keep us safe, and to further develop us. 

In an NCDA article, Nelson provides us with a few sensible pieces of advice: 

  • "Know when to refer a client to a therapist; it is okay to suggest putting aside career work until personal issues are worked through" 
  • "Don't be afraid to refer clients to colleagues whom you think would be a better fit; colleagues will refer clients to you"
  • "Consult with colleagues when it makes sense, to learn about resources or for their particular expertise. This experience will enrich your practice by learning from your peers. Don't underestimate how important fellow counselors are not only for support but for future career opportunities" 
  • "Always maintain the confidentiality of your clients unless they give you permission to disclose. Even if you have permission, disclose as little as possible", and
  • "Take care of yourself. You can't give anything if you're empty yourself. Counseling can take a lot out of a person". (Nelson, 2014).

Signs we may need to refer a client on may be when any of the following occur: 

  • We find ourselves working beyond our level of competency
  • There is someone better suited to working with this client
  • The expertise required for this type of work is better suited to another specialty or agency
  • The work between us and the client group is not related to the contract we originally negotiated 
  • A psychological issue emerges in our session that can not be contained within the session, or 
  • A health issue emerges within the session that can not be resolved appropriately within the session.

Some things we can all remain aware of.


Sam

References

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