As summer is slowly slipping away from our hands, I have been trying to make the most of the weather, the culture as well as firing my neurons—almost like buffering up for the colder months. I have been trying to diversify my counselling portfolio, trying to work with clients from different areas and also keep my private practice alive.
One of the dilemmas that I face often-I do not know if it is self imposed or it is circumstantial …it has to do with refusing clients who are not able to pay my fees at all. I have often done pro bono work on one hand that always challenges me financially and on the other hand I am trying to break down the ‘isms’ and always looking at the ways in which to accommodate clients irrespective of their socio-econominc status. I always feel at the back of my mind that financial affordability should not stop me from offering my services. Many clients are on welfare and some of them are just poor and I refer them to free services…. so does that mean that in some way I am biased and that I have issues with ‘classism’. There is also a vast amount of literature exploring the role of class in terms of psychotherapy. Proctor (2002) writes clients are more likely to be poorer than their therapists and from a working class rather than middle class background. Tidwell (1992) argues that crisis counselling is the preferred format of therapy for the underclass with an emphasis in therapy upon issues which she sees are significant, for example issues around low income, health problems and stressful life events. She argues it is the preferred format because it is inexpensive, brief and symptom oriented. I do not know if that is the most appropriate way of delivering the service but if clients who really need my service and can’t pay $100 an hour, am I not practicing what I am advocating, that being free of ‘isms’ in my practice? Well that is something for me to explore for the rest of the summer.
*The views expressed by our authors are personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect the views of the CCPA