We all mess up when we see clients. And to prove it, I’ve asked around a couple of trainee friends and acquaintances to share some of their experiences with you. I’m naming no names, and I’ve changed details if people are possibly identifiable, but you’ll see from the list that the mess ups go from ‘inconsequential’ to ‘something that was talked about in supervision’. Some of them are mine, some aren’t. I’m not sharing which are which. But this is for students not yet in (or just starting) training – we mess up! It’s usually not the end of all things!
1: when getting up to show out a client, I stood up and immediately fell over. My foot had gone to sleep and I hadn’t noticed.
2: I wore my top inside out for the whole evening, only noticing on my third client.
3: I once didn’t turn the handle to the waiting room properly and as a result, walked into the door, and then the waiting room with a very red face.
4: Checking my phone between clients I realised I’d not put it on silent. Lucky for me, no calls came in!
5: I got in to my client room to discover the clock had been taken away and I wasn’t wearing a watch. I managed to time it JUST right
6: On an evening placement, I became aware the cleaners were cleaning as I was seeing my client and I had forgotten to flip the ‘counselling’ sign to ‘in use’. I felt my heart pounding as I tried to decide what was best to do. It seems daft now.
7: I asked for some fairly low-key advice on a client thinking they had left, but they hadn’t. It wasn’t anything that broke confidentiality, but I feel mortified.
8: Seeing a client for their second session I went in whilst they were getting a hot drink and started to say hi but they ignored me. As they turned around I realised it was a friend of the client’s and the client was there waiting for me.
9: One of my clients always has squash. All the others have water (squash is an option if asked for but they are the only person to ask for it). Last week I was flustered with the client before and I forgot and put water out. I felt terrible when they asked why they had water.
10: My files are anonymised. I had two new clients lined up to start in two weeks. When I went in to start, I didn’t have a record of what their names were. Luckily for me, they were recorded on an old version of the spreadsheet for the placement. It took me about half an hour to find the names. (They both DNAed).
So there you go. Random things trainees have done and had it work out ok.
What things have readers done?