After Abuse by Gita Mammen

By Gita Mammen

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Sample text

Asking a survivor would be no different. You might, for instance, enquire about the nature of the person’s current distress, and whether they are experiencing suicidal thoughts. You might also pick up non-verbal distress signals. If you are unsure, consult. Level of risk Each professional discipline has specific ways to gauge the risk level of a client. Each also has a different limit with regard to handling risk. If you are an outreach worker in a youth agency you will look out for different aspects compared to someone who is a social worker in a mental health agency.

It identifies your client’s customary strategies to cope with distress. An awareness of these coping behaviours will later alert you and your client to impending escalation of risk. For instance, a certain client may binge-eat, or escalate their marijuana usage for some weeks before they actually recognise themselves to be depressed. Take time in the assessment to discuss each of these three components with your client. The discussion provides mutually acceptable ways to recognise and acknowledge deteriorating coping levels in the future—before they build to crisis proportions.

Or, perhaps, they wish to deal with longstanding self-harm behaviour and internalised anger? Or is it redress they seek? Priorities with regard to abuse issues determine what your client needs in the way of help: • in the short term, and • the long term. A certain person might give priority, for example, to stop having periodic flashbacks, or at least be less affected by them. She would then like to feel less angry towards her mother, who, your client feels, could have done more to help in the past if she (the mother) weren’t as caught up in her own issues.

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