When your help isn't wanted

My client is an active, inquisitive and sociable 18 year old, who enjoys a wide range of activities. We were in the middle of playing snooker whilst a CD played in the background. My client is quite heavy handed. Consequently, a lot of her CDs are scratched and don't play very well. Everything was going fine until the CD started to jump. At this point my clients behavior was beginning to change rapidly so, as I was closer to the CD player, I went to sort it out. My client started to shout, telling me to leave it. I said it was fine and that I didn't mind doing it for her. This made matters worse and she quickly moved down the room still shouting, took the CD off that I had chosen and played another one as if to prove a point.

My client’s injuries affect different parts of her brain and she has to cope with her anger escalating at speed and out of her control. Its like a firework display - every single emotion is sparked off. It takes a long time for my client to calm down after an incident like this - the snooker game was completely spoilt and this made both of us feel very unhappy.

I felt confused by what had happened but also sad, as I was aware I had caused the situation to be worsened.

I think when the CD started to jump, my client saw it as her job to sort it out - the equipment was hers after all and I was challenging her decision. If I had asked my client if she wanted me to change the CD, I would have provided a choice for my client that may have kept the situation calmer.

Every day I will need to be able to step back whilst keeping boundaries in place. I will need to think about my client’s needs and how things look to her.

Experience of a support worker in the Sheffield area

Posted: February 2014

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