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.