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Re: Social worker outed a family member without their permission

@Tiny_leaf   I know what you mean! What you said is completely right. I think it was definitely premeditated. FM just told me that the SWs asked them beforehand 'Wouldn't you feel relieved to get it off your chest?'. This is quite a leading question. I told FM that this was a way to get them to agree to what they were doing and that this did not equate to them giving consent.

I believe that it is just wrong for a therapist to force a client to reveal a secret to other people, regardless of how they feel about it themselves, unless of course it was something illegal. I've just heard that their motivation for outing FM was for FM's relationships with other family members to improve and so that they could open up to each other more. First of all, I do not understand this idea at all because FM confides in the whole family. FM had very good reasons for not disclosing their sexuality to the anti-LGBT family members and they were not at all estranged or anything. This kind of thinking puts the blame on FM for not coming out to them, rather than on these family members for having those sorts of views. Additionally, they cannot just assume that coming out will automatically improve someone's relationships. In fact, it has a high chance of doing the opposite. I don't understand these kinds of therapists who believe that family issues can magically be completely resolved by hugging it out or saying 'hey, I'm LGBT'. Forgiveness and talking to family members is not always the answer either. Would these therapists tell someone who has experienced violence to confide personal information about themselves to their abuser in order to 'improve the relationship'?

I've just written a letter summarising the events, explaining why the social workers were wrong and the consequences of their actions with the help of FM and their consent. I also wrote how I could understand their intentions, but rebutted their thinking and explained how it was wrong and harmful. I'm going to print it out and give it to FM tomorrow to give to them or the doctor in the next meeting. FM is worried how the SWs will react, mainly that the SWs will claim that FM consented. FM clearly said several times that they were not ready for their sexuality to be revealed and even if they somehow misunderstood and thought that they wanted to come out, it was not up to them to decide how and when FM was going to come out. This was not an accidental slip of the tongue or simple misunderstanding. Rather, I think that the social workers were trying to pressure and force their own agenda. They had several opportunities stop and think about what they were doing yet failed to do so. And it's not just FM that was affected by it, the whole family was.

I'm also really sorry about your experiences. Smiley Sad I think that therapists should just stick to the main reason for the referral or the main symptoms rather than labelling things as LGBT or gender related and seeing them as the cause of everything. It's so awful that you didn't have any support when trying to deal with the dodgy, terrible CM. I hope that your concerns were at least heard and not tossed aside, even if they weren't acknowledged. Heart

I think that's a really good idea! I really like having a plan of what to say about important issues.

@MisoBear  Thanks for your points. I really appreciate your perspective. I understand what you're saying. FM wants the social workers to hear their opinion and wanted us to bring it up to someone at the organisation because they felt anxious about doing so themselves. A higher up in the organisation has previously told them to let them know if someone has treated them badly because they want them to trust the people looking after them. We don't want to get the social workers in trouble or say anything nasty to them. I made it clear in the letter that it was just about getting them to understand how we felt about it and the consequences of their actions, and what they choose to do after that is up to them. I tried not to be aggressive about it.


Re: Social worker outed a family member without their permission

@WheresMySquishy wow.. the more I hear about it the worse it gets...

I mean, even if FM did say yes to that.. almost forceful question, it doesn't mean that FM would choose to come out.


And I agree completely; half the point of therapy is being non-judgmental and giving the person the skills to make decisions like that for themselves

To do that you kinda need to.. actually respect the person's decisions. Ignoring their decisions and the reasons for making them is not going to achieve that goal.


"Would these therapists tell someone who has experienced violence to confide personal information about themselves to their abuser in order to 'improve the relationship'?"

Well, I was told to be more open to my brother about how I felt. At the time I was told this, he was still physically and verbally attacking me whenever he was in a bad mood or didn't like something I said/ did. My parents had invalidated and tried to stop me expressing many of my emotions for years, and it messed me up a fair bit unsurprisingly. And yet so many professionals want to teach me to "open up and trust" my parents more. So probably yes.


And the letter sounds like a really good idea.

Hmm.... I mean.. there'd be no reason for FM to say that they didn't consent if they had. If the SWs try that tactic, could FM ask a) why they would say yes to that clearly terrible idea and b) if  FM had said yes, why would they possibly want to lie about it after?

And you're right, even if FM had decided to come out, the SWs only should've been involved if FM explicitly asked them to be.


And yes, I agree.. or at least not assume random things are issues.
And yeah, I'm planning on making an official complaint. I don't feel like I can move on from it until someone in that organization admits or at least understands that it messed up.


How are the drama llamas and anti-LGBT people going, have there been any issues or have they been okay?


Re: Social worker outed a family member without their permission

@Tiny_leaf  I know! The more I heard about it, the angrier I got because every new detail sounded worse than the previous one. Yeah, that's so true. I was thinking about it earlier and I think that the only reason the social workers' role in the coming out process could be justifiable  is if FM had said of their own volition, 'I want you to help me come out to my family and doctor'. And then the SWs would go over the pros and cons of coming out with FM's input, and if FM still wanted to come out, help prepare them for the discussion, reactions from others, how the coming out would happen, what to say, the potential consequences and how to deal with them, etc. in advance. They also could have explored FM's concerns more instead of just dismissing them. But FM is adamant that none of these things happened and had no idea that they were planning on outing them. The main issues we have with the whole thing are the breach of confidentiality, the coercion to take a particular action and not preparing FM for what would happen and the possible consequences in advance.

I feel that someone needs to be made aware of the SWs' actions, especially because they work with a lot of young people who might be questioning or unsure about their sexuality/identity and may not want to come out, plus a lot of them might also be experiencing domestic issues. That's partially what makes their behaviour so unbelievable. I wonder if they've done similar things to other clients. I know that someone we know had a bad, traumatising experience at the same place many years ago, but they were there to address a different issue and I don't know what the experience was exactly. I've given the letter to FM and it's up to them if they still want to hand it to them or a higher up.

I think that building self-efficacy and teaching skills that the client can use themselves are very important in therapy. I think it becomes problematic if the therapist makes the client too dependent on them, or tries to be their friend. I think some of the problem with the SWs is that FM feels that they are trying to act more like their friends rather than their therapists. I found an article that mentions a lot of the problems I feel they have here.

Wow! I'm sorry you had to go through that. Smiley Sad That's so bad how they tried to pin the responsibility on you rather than getting your brother to control and change his behaviour. It's also terrible that your parents didn't support you, yet it was somehow your fault for 'not being open or trusting enough'. Haven't therapists heard of unconditional positive regard? I don't see how being more open would have solved the problems anyway. I think that it can be really damaging to punish or stop someone for expressing their emotions.

I think those are really good points. There's no getting around the fact that the SWs were the ones in the wrong. I don't believe for a second that it was FM's choice, especially because we were all under the impression that the meeting was supposed to be about something unrelated because that's what the SWs and doctor had told us before, and I don't think that FM is lying. The way FM and another family member described it to me was, 'the social workers wanted FM to come out', 'they thought it would help', etc. There were no statements like 'FM decided that we should know'. There is nothing to suggest that FM consented. I also asked FM shouldn't the SWs have made a record of their consent and planned it with them if they had consented? I don't think that they will claim that FM consented but I think they could possibly make excuses for their behaviour or try to get sympathy by saying things like 'we weren't thinking, we must have misunderstood, we didn't know what we were doing was wrong, we didn't realise the consequences, we didn't think it was that bad, we didn't think you would take it the wrong way, we didn't realise that this would destroy the trust you had in us, we just wanted to get the family to accept FM' etc.

I think it's a brave step to make an official complaint. There have been a lot of times where I've regretted not making a complaint, especially if the other party then went on to do more bad things. There have also been times where even if nothing ended up resulting from the complaint, it felt good to get how I was treated off my chest and I felt proud that I stood up for myself. I hope that you get some kind of acknowledgment and that it works out for you. Heart

They actually haven't mentioned anything about the meeting, FM's sexuality, or anything LGBT-related to me (hooray!). I don't know if they've told anyone else though. They have a reputation for spreading rumours and private information, inciting drama, trying to turn people against each other, etc. So I'm not sure if FM being outed will have future consequences with them. I can see them bringing up FM's sexuality in arguments or making condescending remarks about it down the track.


Re: Social worker outed a family member without their permission

@WheresMySquishy honestly it's making me wonder if FM went to the same organization I did..

They seem to have a somewhat dodgy professional culture, it wouldn't surprise me if it was them. Part of me is hoping it is, since that'd mean one bad organization rather than two, but it's probably unlikely..


And definitely. It sounds like they didn't even get as far as asking themselves about the potential consequences...

And yes, as well as acting behind FM's back and putting their well-being at risk, which tend not to be brilliant traits in a therapist. I mean, for all the stuff my therapist's have put me through in the past, I've never had one actively deceive me or go behind my back like that. Even my CM knew that wasn't okay.


Yeah... combinations of domestic violence/ abuse and LGBT+ issues can get really nasty.

And considering that people in each of those groups are statistically more likely to develop a mental illness, chances are SWs have to work with people who are at the intersection of the two. It could literally be life saving for someone to have a therapist who actually understands that.

And exactly! Trying to micro-manage FM's family stuff isn't going to be helpful in the long term, even if what they did wasn't completely misguided. 

And that seems likely, especially when you said that they wanted FM to see them as family. Something about reading that made me really uncomfortable, but I couldn't find the words for why until you linked that article....


And I know!! The focus was always on what I did wrong in an argument, even in a couple  between my parents that I wasn't even involved with.

It was either "You're autistic. You feel everyone else's emotions too intensely. This happened because you got upset." and "You're autistic. You can't understand how other people feel. This argument happened because you upset them"

Which was a neat little way of pathologising every argument my family had, blaming said argument solely on me, and making sure that they could always find me 'at fault". Smiley Frustrated

(so glad I'm not seeing her anymore...)


And I think so.. I don't know enough about freedom of information, but FM might be able to request access to their notes/ records. (assuming they actually take records).

They might be useful if they include the SW's planning for the meeting, which could help demonstrate that it was planned and done without FM's input.


Most of the excuses I've heard essentially boil down to "but I didn't mean to!"

It's like people are willing to take responsibility for their intentions, but not their actual actions...


"We weren't thinking", "We didn't realize the consequences." both be replied to with: "It is literally your job to be able to do that. If you can't, you either need retraining or a career change. If you could but didn't, that suggests a lack of care and possibly negligence." 


And thank you. I really hope so too... If nothing else, I'll be able to break down what they did wrong and need to avoid in the future.


And yay!!! That must make the whole thing a little easier...

About your other family members possibly spreading rumors about FM:

One comedian joked that his mum would be like "No, my son's not gay. The man my son is sleeping with, he's gay!"

There's actually some truth in that though. I've personally been "the gay one" dating a "normal" person.

Homophobes often have no issue gossiping about a stranger/ acquaintance who's LGBT. 

But admitting that someone they really know, someone they're related to isn't straight?

They're often a lot less enthusiastic, or even ashamed, about that. Hence the "my son's boyfriend is gay" or "it's just a phase" kind of attitudes that you sometimes see.

It's... not a nice feeling to have someone deny an important part of you. But, it at least prevents a lot of drama.

I know it doesn't solve the problem, but it can at least prevent new ones from developing.

Condescending remarks like that suck though.. I really hope that they don't start up with them.. If they do I think a lot of it involves just waiting for them to find a new drama to latch onto...


Re: Social worker outed a family member without their permission

@WheresMySquishy just wondering if everything's been going alright/ there's been any new issues? 


Re: Social worker outed a family member without their permission

@Tiny_leaf   Thanks for asking! Things haven't been too bad with the SWs recently because FM hasn't seen them in a while and probably won't be able to for a few more weeks. They are either 'on leave' or 'sick', often telling us this with little or no notice. They were meant to arrange for FM to see someone else while they were away, but no one spoke to FM or any of us. It was kind of disappointing because that person was more experienced in working with issues like FM's. But to be honest, I'm kind of glad that they are out of our hair at least until they come back because none of what they are doing is helping FM at all. They don't seem to know what they are doing and no one in our family is happy with them. My family was just discussing this now (good timing!).

Get this right, they wanted FM to do some meditations despite FM telling them that they have tried that before and it hasn't worked for them and just makes their symptoms worse. The SWs thought maybe they would work if another family member recorded them. We wanted to put them on FM's phone or computer. Nope, the SWs thought that it wouldn't work that way because FM would be looking at a screen. So they made us buy a Walkman for around $90 to put the recordings on. It only took MP3 recordings, so we had to convert them. So we did all that, and FM tried listening to the meditations and their symptoms got worse. The SWs can't seem to accept that this treatment doesn't help FM and just keep telling them to persist with it. Smiley Indifferent

Your comments are so true. One of the things that disappoints me the most about how the SWs act is the level of deception and coercion. If they wanted to break confidentiality for any reason, they could and should have told FM who they were going to tell and what they were going to say, but they never did. They kind of lulled FM into a false sense of security and trust by assuring them that they wouldn't tell anyone, and then went behind their back and did it anyway. I think a major reason why FM isn't benefiting from their treatment is because they haven't established trust and seem keen on doing the opposite. FM was asked in a meeting the last time they saw them if the therapies were helping and they replied that they weren't working at all. J seemed annoyed with us because FM said that. Their response was 'We have to evaluate why it's not working'. Shrug!

The drama llamas haven't mentioned anything about FM's sexuality, but they have been complaining about 'how much money the family is spending on FM's care' rather than about FM's health and mental wellbeing. Yet they don't complain when money is spent on useless stuff and luxuries Smiley Indifferent I think what you said about them not wanting to admit someone related to them is not straight is accurate.


Re: Social worker outed a family member without their permission

@WheresMySquishy ugh... at least FM isn't having to put up with them at the moment.

They might be able to nag at the organisation itself about seeing someone else though. Personally at the place I used to go to the receptionists were nicer than the councilors, they might be able to help a bit.


Oh my gosh that's so not okay!!

Half the reason that meditation works so well for people is that it has a lasting effect on how the brain does stuff!! Like anything those changes might be positive or negative depending on the person!! Like I know people who basically use meditation to hold their life together; but for me I just end up dissociating and stop feeling. Because different things work differently for different people!!!!!!

"the SWs thought that it wouldn't work that way because FM would be looking at a screen"... which is why... you close your eyes.... when using a computer to meditate... Smiley Frustrated

Just.. wow.... I'm so sorry you guys have had to deal with that...


And definitely...
It's hard enough to trust therapists without having them prove that they can't be trusted!


Hm... I know people like that....

Is it possible to kind of "frame" it as 'how much money we need to repair the damage the SW's did'? At least that way the blame is where it needs to be, and further away from FM..

I'm glad that they've been quiet about FM's sexuality though, that's something at least.


Re: Social worker outed a family member without their permission

@Tiny_leaf  Thanks for all your help so far! So much has happened with the social workers and FM's care and I've been pretty busy dealing with my own stuff too.

I just wanted to post a quick update. J told one of my other family members that they were having trouble getting through to FM because they have been shutting them down and not engaging in the sessions and asked them if they have any idea why that is. So my other family member decided to tell them about the issues we've been having with them, including the fact that they outed FM without their permission. They explained why pretty much the whole family felt so strongly about what they did.

This is kind of my understanding because I wasn't there when the other family member brought this up, so it could be wrong, but this is what the other family member told me. J was apologetic and claimed she had 'no idea', but in my opinion, kind of made excuses at the same time. According to her, she was under the impression that FM was on board with the decision because they thought that FM would give them some kind of signal or say, 'I don't want to talk about this' during the meeting where the SWs revealed FM's sexuality. While the social workers did offer to FM that they could 'test the waters' and see how other family members would react to the idea of having a queer family member, FM never consented to this and didn't know that the social workers would blurt out their sexuality. At no point did FM say, 'Yes, I want you to reveal my sexuality', they just assumed that FM would stop them at some point and tell them during the meeting that they didn't want the discussion to continue. Although FM had told them previously that they were not yet sure about and were not ready to come out.

Anyway, J said that FM's sexuality was not the issue and that the issue was more about 'improving communication between family members' because FM had told them their fears of possibly being disowned, criticised, thrown out of home, etc. if their sexuality was revealed. They thought FM's worries about how other family members would react was more of an issue rather than FM's sexuality. J claimed that she and A planned the meeting thoroughly and discussed whether they should do it. To me, this doesn't make a lot of sense because if a client told them that they would possibly experience negative consequences as a result of information that they discussed being disclosed to others, wouldn't that be more reason to respect the client's wishes and not reveal that information? It made me angrier to learn that they were presented with possible harmful consequences, yet chose to ignore them and proceed with the action they took anyway. Anyway, J accepted that she was wrong and said that she would talk to A about it and apologise to FM next week.

Other than this issue, the social workers had also been causing a lot of stress and conflict in the family by bringing up non-issues and trying to make a big deal out of them, rather than asking us what we wanted to discuss and work on. There was no set structure to the meetings, they would just harp on and on about how we apparently don't spend enough time together as a family (according to them) and acting as if this is contributing to FM's problems, despite us spending more time together than most families. In response, my family members decided to imply that I was the one behind this problem and try to force me to adapt my schedule to do what the social workers wanted, despite the fact that it was a complete non-issue until the social workers made it into a big deal. I thought why should I be scapegoated and forced to do things that I don't want to do when this is not an actual problem? I think the social workers make a lot of assumptions that aren't true instead of actually giving us and FM strategies to improve FM's wellbeing. My family member told J how I felt and she apparently agreed with my point of view.

I should also mention that the social workers have also shown that they are unreliable. They made an appointment for us and told us to show up at that time, only to realise they had double-booked or something, so we showed up for nothing. Then this week, they wanted us to come to an appointment on one of two days. We told them we couldn't all be available at the same time on those days, but we were happy to talk over the phone, or have a few family members come to a meeting. J then sent one of us a passive aggressive email saying we would have to cancel and to prioritise these sessions going forward. I thought it was kind of rude especially considering this is the first time we were unavailable.

We pushed for FM to have a psych review and now FM is also under the care of a clinical psychologist, who said that the meditations the social workers told FM to do were actually making FM's symptoms worse. They then provided FM with another technique that has been helping them. This all happened within two sessions of FM seeing the psych, while the social workers have been seeing FM for months and have barely been of any assistance. So that's good, at least. Smiley Happy


Re: Social worker outed a family member without their permission

@WheresMySquishy wow. I just - that is SO NOT OKAY! Smiley Sad

I can't believe the social worker would betray your family member's confidentiality like that!

// Spiral outward, keep going. //

Re: Social worker outed a family member without their permission

@WheresMySquishy oh my gosh....


The SWs really need to see some queer remembrance days. So much terrible stuff has happened as a result of someone being outed. They were really freaking lucky there, they could've put someone in serious danger. 

Just... completely disregarding someone's potentially very realistic concerns as part of anxiety is so reckless. 


I also hate when people focus on my non-issues..

Like they zoom in on anything that doesn't match their own ideas of normal. Smiley Frustrated


I can't exactly wrap my head around their idea of consent to share information...

And what could FM even say in that situation that wouldn't out them or raise questions??


My SWs kept scapegoating me, they wouldn't admit that others in my family might actually be involved in family conflicts..

Maybe some SWs just like having some sort of wrongdoing to blame issues on, because that's easier to address than issues that aren't caused by anyone in particular.


It also absolutely sucks that they aren't considering your boundaries in this.

Like I can tell that you care about FM a lot, but at the same time you don't exist for the sole purpose of supporting FM. 

Plus they're also trying to encourage FM to disregard other's boundaries, which will help absolutely no one long term.


Hopefully at least the psychologist can help more..