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to refuse to tell dh about my clients?

(84 Posts)
santander Mon 03-Jan-11 19:53:53

I'm a counsellor and I'm just setting up privately. I was going to use the nice little bedsit that we own as my rooms, but we have since rented it out. My ad campaign has been more successful than I thought it would be and I have 3 clients that are starting this week. Dh and I discussed it and we aggreed that the clients could come to our home for the time being until I find premises. We have a largish house and I have worked out where to see clients so they will be comfortable and private.

I have chatted with the clients on the phone to ascertain their suitability for counselling and also for coming to my home, as much as one can do in a telephone conversation - I have a reasonable amount of experience in filtering out people that should be referred elsewhere but of course you can never be sure until you know more about the person.

Anyway, my dh is now insisting on knowing who is coming to our house and what they 'are coming for'.

I have point blank refused to agree to give this information to him. It is in breach of the code of ethics I work by. He says our safety is more important than anything else. I say that he should not be questioning my judgement and the screening of the individuals should be my responsibility. He says that we are in this together. I say that yes, we are, but I am the trained professional and I will not put our safety at risk. He says what if I famcy a challenge of a difficult client and decide to take them on regardless? I say he is QUESTIONING MY JUDGEMENT and I am insulted to be honest. I am taking it personally but lets face it, it's personal, right? But I still am not prepared to compromise my integrity by giving him information that would be no more useful to him than it had been to me, if you get my meaning? I mean, if I (the trained professional) had not spotted the hidden axe murderer in the 10 min phone conversation with them, then how pompous to assume that he could? It is simply unnecessary and immorral and I won't do it. Of course it had now become a matter of personal affront, I feel he has given me a vote of no confidence - I have a supervisorm whom I employ to help me with my caseload. This should be enough I think.

So, rant over, am I being unreasonable?

Honeydragon Mon 03-Jan-11 19:56:21

Hang on, whose safety is he worried about here? He is happy to leave you alone with a possible axe murderer as long as its on premises other than his home? shock

Tootlesmummy Mon 03-Jan-11 19:56:28

No, would your DH want all that information if you were going to use the bedsits rather than your home!? Will he ask the same if you rent office space elsewhere?

If the answer is no then I don't think YABU, he is.

Honeydragon Mon 03-Jan-11 19:57:05

Sorry not questioning your judgement, just it seems his logic is skewed.

LaWeaselMys Mon 03-Jan-11 19:57:56

No, I don't think so.

But I can't see how you're going to convince him he is BU.

santander Mon 03-Jan-11 19:59:20

I think he's thinking along the lines of 'they now know where you live shock'

Littlefish Mon 03-Jan-11 19:59:47

You're not being unreasonable.

On a complete side note - have you sorted out your house insurance to include your working from home with clients?

curlymama Mon 03-Jan-11 20:00:06


Either make him see that somehow, or lie and say they all have eating disorders or something that he would judge to be 'safe' hmm

ReindeerBollocks Mon 03-Jan-11 20:01:06

YAB a teensy bit U.

He is concerned for the safety of his wife and his home (let alone the children if you have any). You don't have to give all the details, but can you not provide him with a basic info list (agreed by you both) so that he has peace of mind, whilst you feel you can maintain confidentially for your clients?

Working as a team and finding a solution would be more reasonable really.

santander Mon 03-Jan-11 20:02:13

Yes I've thought of lying. But it would really stick in my throat and go against everything I stand for. Maybe I'm too far up my own arse on that score though hmm

LaurieFairyonthetreeEatsCake Mon 03-Jan-11 20:02:47

Ok. You need to get their name, landline and gp's details and keep them in a lockable filing cabinet so that if one if them does axe you to death your dh can find the details ;)

And you need specific insurance as one of the main things to worry about is litigious clients. I get mine from howden. And you need to tell your home insurance too.

The issue with your dh not trusting you may just be about fear and concern, perhaps you could consider couples therapy ;)


MsHighwater Mon 03-Jan-11 20:02:50

YANBU but I understand your dh's anxiety. Perhaps a conversation, in general terms, about the kind of issues you will be dealing with in your work and an opportunity for him to outline his concerns is required. You and he could agree ground rules about how you will deal with any issues of potential concern that will reassure him without breaching your clients' confidentiality.

ENormaSnob Mon 03-Jan-11 20:03:22

Not sure if I think ubu or not.

I wouldn't like it at all if dh was doing what you are in
our home.

nomoreheels Mon 03-Jan-11 20:04:34

Are you BACP registered? As you say you cannot breach confidentiality in that way and it would risk your membership. It's one thing to give him basic details so he knows who is coming to your home, (not about their problems of course, just some basics) but he should trust your assessment as a professional.

Why would it be any different if you had an office?

traceybath Mon 03-Jan-11 20:05:00

I'd suspect he's being a little prurient/nosey. After all as Honey says - he'd be happy for you to see them alone in a bedsit somewhere.

However perhaps he just doesn't want his/your home being used in this way. Is it perhaps possible to get shared space somewhere with other counsellors?

Because thinking on this some more - not sure obviously what type of patients you deal with but may be best to keep work and home very separate.

You see now I'm actually agreeing with your DH smile

ChaoticAngelofAnarchy Mon 03-Jan-11 20:05:16


I'd be furious if I was one of your clients and I found out you'd told your husband anything about me. I'd seriously consider reporting you.

LaurieFairyonthetreeEatsCake Mon 03-Jan-11 20:05:22

Perhaps you could also agree to pass on contact details of clients to your supervisor. That wouldn't breach confidentiality. What you can't do is give dh the contact details. I know you know this.

SarahStrattonsBaubles Mon 03-Jan-11 20:07:08

I think, YAB a bit U. I can see his point of view tbh. You have strangers, with ishoos, coming into your home. These strangers have not been referred, they have responded to an advert.

If they had been referred to you I would say he was BU. As they have not, and you are basically inviting strangers into your house I think he has a fair point.

pozzled Mon 03-Jan-11 20:07:31

I think he is BU, and as you say it would be unethical to discuss details about your clients with a family member.

However, I can also understand his concern. Have you discussed at length the precautions you will take to keep yourself safe e.g. will there be another adult n the house when you're seeing clients? What will you do if you do feel threatened by a client? I don't know a lot about counselling, I'm sure you have covered these issues in your training but maybe your DH needs a little more reassurance?

LaurieFairyonthetreeEatsCake Mon 03-Jan-11 20:07:31

You will also need to cover confidentiality in your contracting and you can then tell your clients about supervision and that your supervisor has their details too. This is usual for lone counsellors.

earwicga Mon 03-Jan-11 20:07:38

You are both being reasonable. You have to respect confidentiality, he is thinking of your, and your families, safety.

There must be a happy medium here.

Is there not a local community or similar centre you can rent rooms from by the hour?

santander Mon 03-Jan-11 20:07:58

Yes I am a member of the bacp although not accredited. I've tried saying that to him and he says I am putting my work before my family

allnightlong Mon 03-Jan-11 20:08:06

YABU you don't have to give speciafic details but if someone was coming into my family home that my children live in then yes he absolutely has the right to know.
Your duty and loyalty should be first and foremost to your family right now your putting your clinets need above your DH.
Id your marriage not built on equality?

I can understand why you won't discuss the details and I don't believe you should, maybe you should keep your personal and professional life fully sperate even if it is only a temporary issue.

blinder Mon 03-Jan-11 20:12:49

If you did give clients' personal details to your partner, you would have to mention that in your initial contracting. Phone the BACP ethical helpline while he is there so they can explain that to him.

allnightlong Mon 03-Jan-11 20:20:16

blinder no where does the OP say her DH is intellectually incapable of understanding more of a case he's concerned about the saftey of such a set up and wants an equal say in matters, so wants all the details to make a decision.
He'd be well within his rights to refuse outright to agree to it.

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