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Knowing a client/family personally?

2014 

I'm a CYCW student and also currently working in the field. I come from a semi- large town. But small enough that someone always knows someone. How do we, as CYCW act when we have a client/ family we may know personally or know their family on some type of level? How do we keep work and personal / social life separate and professional. How do we get our clients to gain trust in us that what goes on in the work place is confidential. Would love to hear you thoughts, experience and comments.

Thanks,

Kristen Berglund
Nova Scotia, Canada
...

Hey Kristen,
I am currently a CYCW student here in Newfoundland and can definitely relate to that situation. I work out in the field as a part of my college program and sometimes come across clients and their families that I know personally. I may not know them well but I do know them on some level. In my experiences, I always act professional regardless and treat those individuals as I would treat anyone else. I think to some extent, when they see me out working in the field, that there is a mutual understanding without having to do much explaining, that I am there to do my work. It's all about setting those boundaries and treating those individuals as you would treat anyone else.

Cassondra Parsons
...

Kristen ,

This is more common in the cycw field then most people realize. It all depends on how comfortable you are with the situation and if both person boundaries can be respected. I work in the lower mainland as a Family Support Worker, the organization I work for has four family members that work for the organization. It is by far the best working environment I've ever had.

I also have worked with friend of friends, friends of family. It is not easy to remember that you are the professional in the situation. Having said that there have been situations where the person I have been working with cannot respect my professional boundaries. It is okay to not be able to work with someone. Not everyone is comparable.

You are the best judge in this situation, talk to a co worker and get their point of view.

Best of luck
Shari Rougeau
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