RE: Injustice

Gary Bradley (
Wed, 22 Sep 1999 10:41:55 +0100

Hi Jacqui

Been there before...who counsels the counsellor when objectivity gets fogged
? I can't tell the severity of the situation but here's my thoughts for what
they're worth...

Has the counsellor had a similar experience or has developed an overt
ideological sense of injustice... ? Whatever the underlying reason you may
wish to withdraw and replace the counsellor.

I also suggest a fourth, independent person either to help you remain
objective or to at least temporarily assume the supervisory role while you

Here's one test approach. Get a fourth independent associate to derive and
score a rep grid that all three of you will complete and compare the
results. Use it to explore and inform on 1. personal perceptions and
awareness of such and 2. similarities in perception. Submit yourselves to
the associates guidance.

I get the impression that it may not be enough to present evidence to the
counsellor that contradicts currently held beliefs - you may end up with two
co-existing belief mechanisms - the passionate belief and the contrary
evidence (i.e. the right thing to do is...). Probably a good measure of
dissonance here - could be used to good effect.

A 2 dimensional, multidimensional scaling output on SPSS (v7xx) is quite
handy and reliable for immediate observation of construct clustering .

The bottom line is that impassioned counsellor-client involvement sooner or
later becomes unethical or damaging not only to the client but also to any
legal case simply through lack of clear rational arguement: a counsellor
called to give expert testimony will be ridiculed by a 'good' lawyer. It
won't do you or your departments credibility any good either.

If the department doesn't already have guidelines for coping with this type
of situation, perhaps you might consider developing these ?

Stay focused the clients needs.

I hope this turns out well for all involved

All the best,

Gary Bradley
Tel (+44) 01846 664635

School of Psychology
Queen's University Belfast
Tel: (+44) 01232-272771
Fax: (+44) 01232-664144

-----Original Message-----
From: []On
Behalf Of Jacqui Costigan
Sent: Wednesday 22 September 1999 00:45
Subject: Injustice

Whilst there's a great deal of injustice in the world my focus of concern
arose with a counsellor whom I was supervising. The counsellor has
identified passionately with a female client who experienced consistent
sexual harassment but was unable to prove charges against her assailant
with only 'her word against his'

I then identified passionately with both the supervisee and her client. My
concern is that these identifications could interfere with therapeutic and
supervisory processes. Do any PCPers have any comments / guidelines please


Jacqui Costigan
Senior Lecturer in Applied Psychology
School of Public Health
La Trobe University, Bundoora 3083
Phone: 9479 5799. Fax: 9479 1783 Mobile: 0419 511 283