Things that scare counselors…


There are certain things that scare counselors. Some things are real, others are mere fantasies. Some are big scares others are smaller ones. When I teach ethics and we talk about liability, the tension in the room increases. When I teach about suicidal clients and the need for a proper response, the tension increases.

What do I fear? Not remembering a client’s name when I run into them in the public. I don’t think that has ever happened but I fear it nonetheless. More real is the fear of doublebooking, of walking into the waiting room and seeing two clients there for the same time. Now, that has happened to me and sometimes it has been my own fault. Even when it isn’t my fault, my stomach does a flipflop.

But now I have a new experience…being approached by a US gov’t official who flashes a badge and requests to speak to me in private about a matter. I had the feeling that one gets when the police car behind you starts flashing their lights. What did I do? Am I in trouble?

It turned out well however. After verifying his credentials and the release of information in hand, I learned a friend of mine was seeking national security clearances for his job. A couple of questions and the officer was on his way. Pheww…I’m not in trouble.

5 Comments

Filed under Anxiety, counseling, counseling and the law, ethics

5 responses to “Things that scare counselors…

  1. Rachele Caputo

    Really enjoy reading your blog. As a grad. student in a counseling program at Liberty, I am finding more and more ways to immerse myself in learning counseling from a Biblical and Christian standpoint. Thanks for your insights–they help me to see the career I am headed into as a wide-open opportunity to help others in new and exciting ways. God bless you and your practice!

  2. Penny

    I hate double booking (been there, done that, have a few t-shirts). I also fear doing damage by omission or non-intentional commission to clients because I am not paying close enough attention to the privilege I am being given by sharing their life. When “do no harm” crosses swords with my human fallen-ness.

    I fear opening my mouth when teaching counselors in training and being held responsible for those things I say that sticks with them forever (and as I grow as an educator and woman, I come to realize what I thought was black/white is in fact gray or vice versa). I find myself more flexible about some subjects & more concrete about others. Prayer is more important to me now than it used to be….and in sessions and tight situations I find myself seeking consultation: I once felt it more important to hide behind my mask of thinking I had to “know it all” so no one could see that I didn’t have a clue.

    The sheer terror (“can’t sleep at night” type) of fear doesn’t plague me; but a nagging caution that keeps me seeking Wisdom when I find my heart callous and cavalier about the responsibility I have taken on…. and asking for grace to keep my heart soft, humble, and accountable for the souls I intend to lead.

  3. Louie buses

    Thank you, Penny. At 67 years old, I echo all of those feelings and throw myself in the arms of the Holy Spirit for rescue in the midst of the wonderful task he has called us to.

    Lord bless!

  4. I work as a therapist on an inpatient unit. At the end of the day, I have trouble remembering the names of patients I talked to earlier in the day. Heh. :-/

  5. Those type of encounters frighten us all. I went through the same thing about a year ago. Once the gentleman explained what he was there for it was no big deal. You have to love the questions they ask though..

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