Today was a fast pace day for Feed My Sheep. I was the only person available to work in the counseling department of the facility, so I felt a little overwhelmed. The other two staff member didn’t show up because they both had a family emergency they needed to address. Today started out like any other day, except I noticed that more people were waiting in the social work counseling department line than the utility assistance line. I thought that that this was rather odd because there are normally, at least ten to fifteen people waiting in the utility assistance line and today there was only three.
When I made my way into the building, I saw that five people were in line for a counseling session. As soon as I got to the office I asked one of the staff members who arrived at the facility before me why was there more people in the counseling line than in the utility assistance line. She said that Saint Vincent DePaul is out of funds until next month. After she told me that I understood the situation. I assumed that the three people in line weren’t aware that they couldn’t receive assistance today.
Since I was the only person in the social work counseling department I asked my supervisor if I could have some people assist me, he said that there wasn’t anyone available, so I was on my own for today. Unfortunately out of the thirteen people who signed in on the clipboard at the receptionist desk I was only able to see six of them. I felt like I had let some people down but there was no way I could see fifteen people in one day. The most interesting case that I had today was with a woman who wanted help because she didn’t want to be a homosexual anymore.
At first, I thought that this wasn’t the place for her to seek help, because Feed My Sheep a faith-based ministry, and I was afraid that other staff member would judge her. However, I had to remind myself that there was no way that the other staff members would know unless I told them. The 5’2 African American female explain to me that she has had the urges to have sexual intercourse with a woman. In my head, I thought that she would be best suited with a female intern. When I asked her if she was ok talking to me she said that it was fine and she prefers talking to a male, because she thinks we can relate.
After that statement, I immediately checked the door to ensure that it was open and that I was visible to the other staff members. I felt like she had an objective that she was trying to complete we talked for about an hour before I had to reschedule her an appointment. Unfortunately, the only time that she could meet with me was over the next two days because I am the only one the office Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. I recommend that she come back next week, but she wanted to come for the next two days.
I told her that it would be okay and schedule her to meet me at 9:30 the following day. We spent our time together building a rapport; we didn’t talk about anything that would justify as a crisis. I spent most of my time using the social work skill active listening. I felt that she just wanted someone to listen to her. Before I released her, I did recheck her intake to ensure that she was not suicidal. Tuesday I was very excited to attend Feed My Sheep today. Overnight I was pondering about how to address the situation from yesterday.
The woman was dressed like a boy, and she said that she wears a wrap around her torso so that she can have a flatter chest. Which tells me that she wants to look like a man and she wants to talk to me about her situation, which also tells me that she wants to connect with a man. My thoughts on this subject were that she should probably be happy with who she is. Unfortunately it does not match with my agency values so I cant encourage that since I am working for a church so what should I do?
I arrive to Feed My Sheep a little earlier than I normally would in order to talk to Ms. Chris who is a retired professor. She said that I shouldn’t encourage it because of the environment that I am in, but what I should do is listen to her and refer her to a LGBT community counseling and group meeting center. I was actually expecting a more complex answer from her, because I knew that already. Unsatisfied I told her thank you for her time and that I had to meet with the female who should be here any minute. I walked back to my corner office and retrieved her file; even though I worked with her yesterday I still want to review her case to refresh my memory.
About ten minutes when by before the receptionist called my phone and told me she was here. I went to the front of the office and escorted her to my office and left the door wide open. This was the first client that I have had who had an issue with the door being open. She said she felt as though I wanted everyone to hear what she was telling me. I told her that wasn’t the case, and that it was just for our protection. She shook her head as if she was ok with the situation but I could tell that she wasn’t. Since we had spent most of our session yesterday building rapport I decided that I would start to probe a little more.
I began the conversation with asking her where does she work. On her data sheet she didn’t put an age or a place of employment, so I didn’t want to directly ask her. I wanted her to tell me when she felt ready, because this would determine what group I would recommend her to attend. After talking for a while she told me that she was nineteen and a single mother. That’s when I recommended her to the LGBT meetings that are held at Grace Bible Church every Tuesday at 6pm. I gave her a flyer and business card. She looked at me like I just did something wrong to her.
Her response was are you telling me you don’t want to see me anymore? I told her that wasn’t the case, but she would be better suited for people who are going through the same problem. Normally I am good at reading people, but I wasn’t sure about this particular female. She had the look of confusion on her face, I wanted to continue our session, but I had others waiting in line for me. So I told her that we she could come back tomorrow, and we could talk more. At that moment, I saw a completely different person her face became enlightened again and gave me a big smile and said ok.
Even though I am following some advice, I still feel like I am just pushing her off to someone else. I can’t even imagine how she’s feeling right now. My reaction to this client was that she needed some long term help and I knew that I would have to probe a little more to find out who is her support group. Wednesday Today is my last day at Feed My Sheep for this week so I am motivated to get this day over with. All this week I have been dedicating a lot of my time researching LGBT community groups. I found a couple of groups that I am going to recommend if she doesn’t decide to go to the group at Grace Bible Church.
I didn’t schedule her a time yesterday, but I know that she will be in early because the last two day she has been coming in early. My client showed up just as I suspected, early. She said that she went to the meeting last night, and she liked it for the most part. One thing that she didn’t like was that they used the bible as a reference too much instead of focusing on experience. This is what I had planned for I knew that there was going got be an issue. I gave her the other four groups name and contact information that I located off of the Internet.
When I gave her the contact information she said that she wanted to know why I could not treat her here in a more private setting. I told her that this was a short-term center; this is not place to be seen long term. My reaction to her statement was that I felt as though she had another agenda that she didn’t want to tell me about. I felt like she was coming on to me. I wanted to ask her, but I felt that there was no reason because she was leaving after this session for good and I would probably never see her again.
I feel pretty good about myself, because even though I couldn’t see her here, she can get some help. After I completed all of my appointments, which were very short I went to my supervisor and asked him why so many people were in line. He said that it just so happens that Feed My sheep partnered with CPS to allow people to go through us as a source to provide parental counseling. I am pretty excited about that because now I am able to refer people to parental classes, and it can assist them in getting their kids back. Even though a lot of our clients are drug addicts and felons, most of them are good people.