Relationship with Clients

Principle 1: Relationship with Clients

You are completing your student placement at a small grassroots organization supporting non-status youth. A young woman arrived in Canada six months ago, but was unable to submit a refugee claim because her lawyer advised her she was inadmissible. Worried about living without status (as her visitor visa is about to expire), the young woman wants your help to apply for permanent residence on Humanitarian and Compassionate Grounds (H&C). You have shared that it is unlikely that the application would be accepted, as it would be very difficult to meet the criteria after only being in Canada for a very short time. You have also shared that the application will cost more than $500, which will be difficult for this woman to afford as she is unemployed and without savings. Despite this information, the young woman insists on completing the application, as she believes it is the only way she can gain status in Canada. You know from previous experience, and from information from your organization, that applying hastily will only yield negative consequences.
1. If you were the student, how would you apply self-determination in this situation?
2. How could you support this woman with her decision making? What tools might benefit you in this approach?
Principle 2: Competency and Integrity
During an initial session, a client discloses that they are in an abusive relationship, but are afraid to involve the police because they are here without immigration status. Although this is only the second time they met, the worker (a Canadian citizen) decides to share their own experiences with violence. The worker explains that they were able to leave the situation and get on Social Assistance. They also shared that they benefitted from a Federally-funded program to help survivors of violence. The worker’s intention was to emphasize with the client, while equipping them with some tools that might benefit them to leave.
1. How effectively did this worker apply the concept of self-disclosure?
2. Could this concept be applied better in this situation? Explain. 
Principle 3: Responsibility to Clients

You are a student doing your field placement at a mental health organization that provides short-term services. After observing your field supervisor for the first month of your placement, you are given a case load of individuals who you will work with independently. During your first counselling session with a newcomer youth, you informed them that you are a placement student and that your placement will end in the spring.
After working with this youth for one month, you learned that they migrated to Canada just before the pandemic and they are experiencing depression. The youth shared that they really look forward to these weekly counselling sessions because they are lonely and do not have many other personal supports. Due to the youth’s experience of depression and social isolation, your field supervisor recommends that you continue to support this youth until the end of your placement.
With a few weeks left of your placement, you inform the youth that your work together will be ending soon. The youth becomes upset because they assumed that your placement would finish at the end of spring instead of April. You realize that you did not specify the month of your end date and now you worry that this will negatively impact the rest of your work together. You are also nervous to ask your field supervisor for advice because they might be upset with you for not being clear from the beginning.
1.      How would you respond to the youth who is upset?
2.      Do you think the student should inform their field supervisor of this incident? Explain why or why not.
Principle 4: The Social Service Work Record
You are a student doing your field placement at a drop-in center that provides services to individuals experiencing homelessness. Due to COVID-19, you are only on site for one of your placement days and you spend the other day doing work from home. Your field supervisor has instructed you to do your administrative tasks from home. At the beginning of your placement, you informed your supervisor that you share a computer with other members in your family. You were given approval to use your personal computer for writing client notes and told to save them on a password-protected USB that was provided by the organization.
While working from home, a family member asked to briefly use the computer to send an email. You remove your USB and let them use it while you take a short break. When you return to your computer, they tell you that you accidentally left a client’s note open and they read the first sentence before realizing that it is private information. Your family member assures you that you should not bother telling your supervisor because they will not tell anyone about what they read.
You are worried that you broke the client’s confidentiality because your family member knows where you do your placement and the note contains the first name of the client. You are scared to discuss this with your field supervisor because you do not want to get into trouble.
1.      What would you do if you were the student in this situation and why?
2.      Do you think the field supervisor could have better prepared the student to work from home?
3.      What other principles are applicable to this scenario and why?
Principle 5: Confidentiality 

Your placement organization is hosting a training for the community on parenting issues. You have been with your placement for five months and have begun to form good working relationships with both staff and clients.
During the break, you run into a former client named Jasmine who has come to benefit from the training. After speaking with Jasmine, you come to learn that she is actively looking for employment. Towards the end of your conversation with Jasmine, a new colleague joins your conversation. In trying to be polite, you introduce Jasmine to your colleague and say, “Jasmine used to use our services and now she’s looking for work. Do you know of anyone who is hiring?”. 

1.      Do you agree with the student’s approach? Base your reasoning on Code of Ethics guidelines.
2.      Is there another way the student could have handled this? Explain.
Principle 8: Sexual Misconduct
You’re doing your placement at a homeless shelter. One day, you’re assigned to complete an intake with a new client. The client is in the shelter due to a recent job loss, which eventually led to them being evicted from their apartment and experiencing homelessness. Upon meeting the client, you are immediately physically attracted to them and you get the feeling that they are attracted to you as well. You are very aware that it is against agency policy to have personal relationships with clients. You are able to contain your feelings and they do not interfere with your ability to support the client effectively.
After three weeks at the shelter, the client informs you that they have a new job and will be leaving the shelter. They give you their personal phone number and ask you to give them a call in hopes that you can get-together for dinner one day soon.  

1.      If you were the student, what would you do if you were in this situation and why?
2.      Why is it important to recognize and address romantic and/or sexual feelings towards a client in an ethical manner?
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