Bees with patients/ clients: do you talk politics?

posted 5 months ago in Career
Post # 17
Member
201 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: April 2021 - City, State

kittemae1990 :  Yeah, that is what they do, they ask the current president then they ask the what the last president is and that seems to go over better for her. Like she words it as “name the current and previous president” 

Post # 18
Member
7287 posts
Busy Beekeeper

kittemae1990 :  I don’t talk politics with a client unless they bring it up, but even then I try to steer the conversation back to work as quickly as possible. If I agree with their views I might let it go a little longer so we have something we’ve bonded over. If I don’t I just give a look with a long pause and then abruptly change the subject – it’s been pretty effective to get across the point that I disagree but I’m not willing to engage in a debate at that moment.  I work in a law firm though so it’s not the same as a mental health setting. 

Post # 20
Member
746 posts
Busy bee

kittemae1990 :  I’m a nurse and I would never initiate a conversation about politics with a patient. It has come up when patients have initiated the conversation (such as during a Mental Status Exam), but I try to keep neutral and get away from the topic in a neutral or as appropriate a manner as possible. I think the way that you handle this is totally fine, and it sounds like your coworker is being totally inappropriate.

One of the physicians I used to work with has brought up politics with patients. I have no idea how often this doctor does this, but I have overheard this person ask a patient something along the lines of, “So you’re from X country, what do you think of Trump?” It’s totally inappropriate. However, it was an accidental eavesdropping situation (the room door was open because someone was stepping out of the room and I was walking down the hallway). There were several reasons I didn’t feel that I could report it at the time, but I did switch jobs recently.

Post # 21
Member
618 posts
Busy bee

That is extremely innappropriate IMO. I would have no qualms about reporting her — IF — in her position the clients do not have a choice of which professional they see. If her patients are assigned and using her is not optional, then hell yeah I’d speak to a supervisor about her conduct. A supervisor can bring it up tactfully and without using your name. 

However, if her patients CHOOSE to continue to see her, then I’d butt out if I were you. They can make their own decisions. 

In my industry there’s no need to report this kind of conduct because it works itself out. If you don’t like the professional you are working with, just use someone else. 

Post # 23
Member
41 posts
Newbee
  • Wedding: August 2019

lifeisbeeutiful :  am I the only one here who really does not see what you’re seeing ? Are you sure you’re just not looking for an argument? 

Anyway, OP I get what you are saying. I’m a counselor too. When you work in an office setting it’s hard not to overhear your coworkers at time and often times we do not agree with what they’re saying, but there’s not much we can do. it sounds like your coworker feels comfortable enough to say something like that to a client whether it’s right or wrong, but at the end of the day it’s her credibility on the line, not yours. 

I tend to steer clear of these discussions except I have one patient that my views REALLY align with and I’ve let some opinions slip to them, but i only did son because I felt like it would be beneficial to our therapeutic relationship. 

I guess what I’m getting at is you can have a somewhat political conversation in the office without saying something potentially harmful like “go to Venezuela and get back to me”. 

Post # 24
Member
1453 posts
Bumble bee

You heard a snippet of a conversation and are instilling what you think was being said based on preconceived notions. I would advise not to do that.

It is very possible they were speaking about something someone else said or using a metaphor. Unless you were eavesdropping for a period of time, you don’t actually know.

That said, I am strict about keeping my political, ethical, and religious beliefs and opinions to myself when at work. My clients want my advice and counsel on their business matters and I bill by the hour, so no time for that.

Post # 26
Member
275 posts
Helper bee

Honestly she and the client are probably on the same page politically and they’ve probably developed a rapport where these types of political comments are de rigueur. I’d say it’s generally better to avoid politics but if these two have reached that level of comfort with each other than to me it’s not a big deal at all. 

Post # 27
Member
1392 posts
Bumble bee

beekeeper2018 :  That bee tends to make posts like that and often seems to be looking for an argument. I agree with you that OP’s post in no way warrants combativeness. 

 

OP, I also agree that your coworker’s behavior is unacceptable, wildly so. If she’s doing anything in the capacity of counseling, she should be engaged in what is happening with the client and not talking about her personal beliefs at all (unless it directly pertains to people’s wellbeing, e. g. that abuse should never be tolerated). 

I also think her behavior warrants being reported, as it could absolutely harm a patient who is deeply troubled, impressionable, looking for affirmation, etc. 

Post # 28
Member
41 posts
Newbee
  • Wedding: August 2019

toomuchdiva :  Respectfully, I have a problem with this logic. Sort of. What they discuss behind closed doors is one thing. According to OPs story this was said in a hall way where others could have overheard this comment. Someone else mentioned it’s only a snippet and maybe they were quoting someone. It doesn’t matter. 

When you work with vulnerable populations, you really must be smart and selective about when and where you say things. All it takes is one client to hear it and take offense. 

Post # 29
Member
8999 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper

kittemae1990 :   daisy123 :  Sorry but saying “they could choose another counsellor” is way over simplifying it. The therapist/client relationship can be based on power with the client seeing the therapist as the person with the answers. So to dismiss what OP’s colleague said to a vulnerable patient is dangerous. It doesn’t matter if OP only heard a snippet, what she heard warrants reporting and further investigation. 

You also need to look at what was overheard. It was dimissive and demeaning. Something a person is a trust position, which is what someone working in mental health is, should not be with a client. It was also said in an environment in which others could hear. Another vulnerable client could have heard what the colleague said and choosen to disengage from the service due to fear.

What your colleague said was not usual for talking politics with a client in a mental health situation at all. Politics can be an issue raised in therapy but you don’t talk about your personal beliefs as a therapist. You talk about the fear and anxiety it is causing the client and help with ways to minimise that and teach the client tools to safe guard their mental health. You don’t make comments like what OP’s colleague did.

I have worked with addicts and homeless people and I would not feel comfortable with a colleague who spoke like that to a client and I would 100% report it. 

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