No Contact.. Or Just A Little Contact?
June 4, 2013 5:40 PM Subscribe
I am a social worker who has recently started working at a new agency in the same small community as my last position. While my departure from the previous agency went smoothly, there has been one glitch that I need to handle - and I would really appreciate some advice on the best course of action.
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (17 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I have consulted with the Executive Director of my current agency, and with the supervisor from the last agency, as well as other professionals - and have received some mixed advice, but ultimately have been told that I have the freedom to make the final decision.
At my previous job, I worked in supportive housing for individuals with addictions. I supported one particular client for 2 years and worked with this client through many ''cycles'' of struggle, generally when this client felt they were being trapped in "the system" or when the client was faced with consequences that this client felt were unfair.
This client typically handled these situations by becoming increasingly angry, and verbally abusive towards me, but would ultimately call back in a few days apologizing and hoping I would forgive this client. I did so many times as I felt this was supporting the client's needs and being a constant in the client's life.
Last fall an incident occurred that resulted in the client going to jail for a short period of time, a no-contact order being issued between the client and I (even though I told the police I thought this was a bad idea), and the client ending up on probation for 2 years.
We are 6 months into the client's probation and I am in a new job. I have run into the client in the community and it has felt as though the client is pushing the envelope for how close the client can be to me. I have informed probation of these occurrences. However, now the client would like to write me a letter, I can only assume for closure. I found this out through the client's current worker. Probation has told the client this is ok, leaving me to say yes or no.
The way I see it, I have the following options:
1 - say no to the letter but possibly 'poke the bear', anger the client, etc. (I still have to see the client in the community)
2 - say yes to the letter, essentially helping the client succeed in manipulating the rules/system that the client doesn't like (as I've seen done many times by the client), possibly confuse the client by opening up a door to communication
3 - say no and state that my current employer does not think it's a good idea (this is an option from my employer but leaves me feeling a little powerless in the situation)
4 - say yes but not agree to read the letter. so, ok, send it but I may or may not read it.
I can't decide which option is healthiest and safest for me - in the long term - and would appreciate your advice. If it matters, I am located in Canada.