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Re: Social worker outed a family member without their permission

@letitgo  I couldn't believe it either. These are supposedly experienced social workers too, so it makes me wonder whether they have done this kind of thing to other people before. I hope that the apology will help FM feel better, even though it can't undo what they did.

@Tiny_leaf  True. What gets me is the principle behind it and the lack of respect for FM's autonomy and concerns. They came from a valid place because family members have got into arguments with FM and criticised them over their support of LGBTIQ+ rights and said a lot of homophobic things in the past. Smiley Sad I'm glad they haven't said anything to FM about it.
It also annoyed me that the SWs were counting on FM to read their mind and prevent them from outing them. Even if FM had said something like 'I don't want this discussion to continue/I don't want to talk about it', that would make them seem suspicious and like they had something to hide. They should have got FM's explicit consent in advance.

That's so true what you said about them focusing on things that they don't think is normal. If they want to focus on family issues, they could actually start by asking what the issues we would like to work on. If they wanted to improve communication, instead of telling FM to share their sexuality and suggesting silly things like 'Watch a movie together for 2 hours without getting distracted', why not actually teach practical communication skills? I understand they're not trying to blame anyone, but by magnifying things that aren't causing us problems, it's actually making the entire family more stressed out and trying to poke fingers at each other rather than actually contributing anything positive.

That's really awful about your SWs. Smiley Sad They should have unconditional positive regard for their clients. How is someone supposed to feel better about themselves if they keep teaching them to blame themselves?

The social workers apparently 'forgot' to invite me to the meetings from the start, which they admit is their fault, so now they're insisting that I come. I'm happy to talk to them over the phone but I don't want to go to the meetings unless they change their therapy style. I'm also busier with other commitments and my own stuff now than when FM first started with the SWs, so it's harder for me to be available for the meetings.

I hope the psychologist can help too! Smiley Happy


Re: Social worker outed a family member without their permission

Hi @WheresMySquishy, thanks for continuously sharing your experience with us. That really sucks that you haven't been invited to meetings from the start! Now that you have, do you think you would share any of your thoughts and feelings about what has happened? Even over the phone? Of course this would have to be okay with FM but I am asking this because you sound really self-aware and knowledgeable.. and some of these ideas might really help them in understanding what it has been like for you and your family Smiley Happy As you also mentioned, you might also be able to tell them what type of support your family is looking for. This way, the SWs can adapt their therapy style to suit you all. 

I am not sure if this question has been asked before.. but I was also wondering if you or FM have ever thought of reporting or making a formal complaint about what has happened? It sounds like it is still having a significant impact on both you and family.. which is totally understandable Heart We are always here to listen.


Re: Social worker outed a family member without their permission

@WheresMySquishy Definitely.

I've had my former case managers say "Did you want to tell them?" in front of my parents, which does effectively take that choice away from me.

It just means that my choices are "tell them now" or "put up with about a million questions before eventually telling them anyway"


"Watch a movie together for 2 hours without getting distracted".. That sounds like a perfect way to spend two hours in awkward silence, though that might just be my ADD speaking...


I personally love the idea of you telling them to change their therapy style or stop inviting you.. Though probably in slightly nicer words Smiley Tongue


Re: Social worker outed a family member without their permission

@Taylor-RO  I'm happy to talk to the social workers over the phone and have asked one of my family members to pass my contact details to them. I have a list of points that I want to communicate with them about. My family thinks it's a good idea for me to talk to them too. Some of them are worried that I will damage the relationship they have with the social workers though, which according to them will result in them providing FM with less care. I don't think this will happen though because J said that she has a thick skin and acknowledged the concerns we had. She was apparently mortified that we had a negative experience with them.

One problem that the social workers seem to have is that they disclose information to other family members in the hope of 'advocating' for them, and they don't tell us that they are going to do so. One of my other family members spoke to J one on one and said something negative about another family member, then J proceeded to tell that other family member what was said about them. They never really made it clear about when they can and can't break confidentiality. They also asked FM to share things that they don't like about other family members, which FM was reluctant to do because they generally get along well with the rest of the family, so that they could address it with them. It sometimes sounds as if they are fishing for negative information when all we want to do is support FM.
I will definitely be asking them not to tell anyone about what I want to keep confidential because for me, therapy should be a safe space to explore feelings and thoughts without fear of potential consequences and interpersonal conflict.

We thought about making an anonymous complaint because it's possible to do so at the place they work for, but it probably wouldn't be that anonymous because it's a specific situation that happened. So now we have decided to talk to the social workers about how we feel and consider complaining or switching to another therapist.
I'm hoping that they can just apologise and then we can try to move on, provided they don't contribute to any other problems.


Re: Social worker outed a family member without their permission

Hi @WheresMySquishy,


Just catching up on this conversation Heart It sounds like you have thought through the things you would like to say to the SWs, and the key issues you feel need to be raised. Over the phone is a great way to give the opportunity to be heard, without the pressure of having to do that in front of your family. Good on you for standing up for your rights, FM's rights, and your family's rights in a healthcare environment- it takes so much courage and could also change the outcome for the next family they see too Heart


One thing I have seen work really well in terms of making an impact and encouraging change is to have the conversation, but also write it down as well. Whether you summarise the phone discussion, what you raised and what you were both able to work through, it means if in future you do decide to make a complaint, or come to an agreement you hold them to about how consent to reveal information will be gained in future, then you have evidence of the conversation. 


I am hearing that you are open to trying to repair the rapport between the social workers and your family, and that is really noble Smiley Happy I hope that this is a learning opportunity for the SWs that enables your family to get the right support for your needs right now Heart


When will you be speaking to the social worker? We will be here to debrief if you need it Heart


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Re: Social worker outed a family member without their permission

@WheresMySquishy I just had a thought, have you seen the website

It basically lets you anonymously share experiences you've had with healthcare professionals, and often will try to help resolve issues with the providers themselves. 

I haven't had much chance to look around it, but it might be useful in some way.