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02 Aug 2010

How do I deal with this client?
Hi Doc

I run a small training company and recently one of my students has come to me with a problem she has at work she needs advice on.

She told me that there is a woman at work that is making her life hell. This woman mocks her and makes the whole department " gang"  up on her.

The Friday after she told me this she called me early morning and asked me to watch out if anyone from her work comes to our offices and asks anything about her. She said I should not give them any info. I found this odd but agreed with her. No one ever pitched that acted weirdly or requested info about her

The next week she called me and sounded as if she was in a bathroom (perhaps at her work) and she said that there is apparently a tape (she cant confirm whether it is visual or audio) that is going around about her at work. Apparently this tape is about her doing the course at our institution and her performance in the class

I told her to call me back when she was making sense as she was also saying her fellow workers were laughing at her and ridiculing her.

I then called her into my office this past weekend and approached her about this phone call she made to me. I demanded evidence of this tape as i felt that if someone was making recordings (which is highly unlikely) i would like evidence as this was an invasion of my premises.

She could not tell me if she has seen or heard this tape before. She also says that people at work are laughing in her face and mocking her but she cant give me specific details. She speaks in circles.

While i spoke to her, my cellphone was laying on my desk and she kept glancing at it with a nervous eye. She also indicated that she overheard someone speaking about a tutor that was calling at her work. She thinks this tutor has something to do with these people mocking her.

When she had left, one of my staff handed me a note that this lady had written to him. She indicated in the letter that she wants him to ask ME to stop recording her. The letter made no sense and was badly written. As far as I can deduce I think she thinks I am making recordings of her and forwarding it to " an evil man that pays his way"  at her workplace (I dont know who she is referring to cos as i said she first referred to a woman)

I tried calling her mother, but she picked up the phone and started to scream hysterically when I wouldnt leave a message and tell her who i am... she said her mother was out

To be honest this situation is bothering me, I need to do something about this but I''m not sure what I can do as she is a client but I am scared she does something harsh while she is in class with other clients of mine.

What should I do?

Answer 357 views

01 Jan 0001

Firstly, though you don't mention your own qualifications ( and hence what this woman could reasonably expect from you ) as your contact is within a training context and not therapeutic, you should refer her to (a) HR people in her own compnay, whose task it is to deal with such problems, and (b) possibly to a counsellor to help therapeutically, if that too is needed. As it sounds as though she may be actually paranoid and mentally unwell, a proper assessment by a shrink would be very helpful to her.
Sometimes one can persuade a paranoid person to see a shrink by emphasizing that it is not an accusation that she is sick, but to help her ope with what must be a very upsetting and stressful situation, and also emphasizing that a psychiatrist being a medical doctor is bound to keep professional secrecy about whatever he learns in that role.
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