Mental Health Counselor Scatterdesk
Case description document
A community mental health center includes a licensed clinical social worker, a psychologist who provides testing and other assessments, a child therapist and a staff of five counselors. The center also has a relationship with a psychiatrist at a nearby Free Clinic. A 31-year-old single mother of three children (ages 9, 5 and 3), has been seeing her counselor for four months and has become increasingly anxious over the past weeks. In the last few sessions she has disclosed that she feels frightened all of the time, is unable to sleep through the night, and worries that “something horrible is going to happen.” She admits to having a “couple of drinks” during the evening several times a week. She’s met with the social worker on two occasions to help her secure food stamps and get her children appointments at the local dental clinic. The children are now meeting for play therapy sessions with the child therapist during the time the mother is seeing her own counselor. She had met with the psychologist for an initial visit, but has not returned to complete any of the testing. At the end of the last appointment, the client disclosed that was very worried that she’s a horrible mother and is afraid that her children will be taken away and placed in foster care.
Memo from Child Therapist
I wanted you to know that I’ve been working with this client’s children for three sessions and the mother has granted permission for you to see the notes of the last session. Let me know if you want to talk about it.
Notes from child therapist’s session
Jane, age 9, Johnny, age 5, and Emma, age 3, met with me for their third counseling session. All children were dressed in clean clothing but Johnny was missing his socks and Emma’s shoes were falling apart. We spent the first half of the session working in the sand tray; the children then wanted to draw pictures. Themes that emerged for Jane centered on control and order; she appears to feel overly responsible for her siblings and very protective of her mother. Johnny’s play included themes of “secrets” and “hiding” – he is wary in the room and reluctant to engage in spontaneous play. Emma is very shy and has not spoken more than a few words in each of the sessions. During this session she was very tearful, which I have not previously observed. I believe it would be useful to consult with Jane’s and Johnny’s teachers.
Note from another counselor at the clinic
Hi – I wanted to let you know that your client showed up during the week thinking she had an appointment with you. I spoke with her for about 20 minutes – she was very anxious about some things a neighbor had said to her – but calmed down during our meeting. She appeared to have been drinking. I told her that I’d let you know she had been here.
Note from Psychologist
The client has still not returned to complete the assessment battery. I’d like to rule out Bipolar Disorder and further evaluate what I believe to be either paranoid or delusional thinking. There may be some Axis II features. Do you want me to write up a report now based on my meeting with her or should I wait until the full battery is complete?
This is Jane, the social worker. Your client called to ask if I could get her 3-year old girl enrolled in a day care program. She sounded very disoriented during the call. I’m considering asking Child Protective Services to evaluate the home. What do you think?
***USE THE ABOVE SCENARIO!!***
- Describe how each of the professionals working in the counseling setting presented might collaborate in order to respond to any legal or ethical issues described in the scenario.
- List the role of each professional in the counseling setting.
- What function would each professional serve in terms of assessing or responding to any of the legal or ethical issues that may arise when working with this client?
- Imagine that you are the counselor working with this student or client, and you will be serving as the lead person to coordinate efforts among the team of professionals at this setting.
- Describe the strategies you would use to identify and implement effective collaboration between the professionals who may be working to provide assistance for this client. Include specific examples to illustrate some of the actions you would take.
- Develop an effective communication to one of the professionals assisting your client:
For the student in the school counselor scenario: Compose a letter that you would send, with the student’s and his or her parents’ permission, to the school psychologist who will be seeing the student for an evaluation. In the letter, describe the reason for your referral, the relevant information you would like the psychologist to have about the student, and the information you’d like to receive after the evaluation is completed. (You may need to make up some of the details about the student and your work with him.)
Think carefully about information that would be useful for this professional to have about your client and any areas in which you want to respect the client’s privacy and confidentiality. Your letter should be approximately one page long and should be presented in the actual format you would use if you were sending it to the professional.
For the client in the mental health counselor scenario: You and the client agree she will meet with a psychiatrist for an evaluation. Compose a letter that you would send, with the client’s permission, to the psychiatrist. In the letter, describe the reason for your referral, the relevant information you would like the doctor to have about the client, and the information you’d like to receive after the evaluation is completed. (You may need to make up some of the details about the client and your work with her.)
Think carefully about information that would be useful for this professional to have about your client, and any areas in which you want to respect the client’s privacy and confidentiality. Your letter should be approximately one page long and should be presented in the actual format you would use if you were sending it to the professional.
**3-5 PGS DOUBED SPACED