Dealing with Client Complaints
Dealing with a client complaint is becoming more and more of a regular occurrence. As counselling and therapeutic techniques develop and more people choose it as a profession, so the stakes get higher, as do the expectations of clients and those accessing the service. This is not to say that standards should be decreased in any way. But more and more, clients expect everything right now, they expect to be healed more quickly, and often the onus is placed upon the therapy to make that happen. Dealing with a client complaint can come about for so many reasons, complaints can be made if the counsellor has too many holidays, is off sick or has to cancel a session/s at short notice. Of course, this is never the way therapy of any kind works and once clients are aware of what part they actually play in their own therapeutic process, they begin to realise that their healing is their responsibility and can be long or short term, therapy is not the cure, rather a trained facilitation of the healing process.
When you know that you are going to be dealing with a client complaint, the first thing you need to do is contact your clinical supervisor and arrange to see him/her as soon as possible for an urgent and extra supervision session. This will enable you to work through what has happened calmly with your clinical session notes to hand, as well as any that your supervisor may hold. When dealing with a client complaint, allow yourself emotional expression and speak your truth with logic and in a solution focussed manner.
If you are at fault, then you will need to hold your hands up and take responsibility, you are accountable for any wrongdoing and it becomes your duty as a professional to put right, whatever it is that you have done. When dealing with a client complaint, all parties will suggest that you try to make amends or reach an understanding with the client or organisation that has made the complaint, in the first instance.
This is not always possible, and can be easier said than done but try not to worry or lose sleep. This has happened for a reason and you will either put it right or deal with it, just as you would always be dealing with a client complaint with the help and support that you have available to you.
Whatever the complaint is, you will learn from it in so many ways, but most importantly you must not let it consume you. Take a break and try to get some decent rest and relaxation. You will be stronger to deal with whatever comes at you after you have been absorbed for so long in dealing with a client complaint.