Emotional abuse

Ruth is a new addictions counselor who just began facilitating a DUI group at her work. She is not a recovering addict, but she is the daughter of an alcoholic. Her childhood was very traumatic for her in terms of physical, psychological, and emotional abuse from her alcoholic father. She has had some short-term therapy for these issues and felt relatively resolved about them for the past year. She has been facilitating the group fora couple of months and overall has enjoyed the challenges. Recently, a member came into the group who looks, acts, and talks like her father. Although she has been very comfortable with group members in the past, when this group member speaks or even sits quietly in the group, she experiences a range of emotions: fear, anger, and hurt Ruth is confused and overwhelmed with the intensity of her feelings. She is afraid to talk with her supervisor or colleagues about her reactions to this member, because she is concerned that they will view her as unprofessional. She has rationalized that it is okay to not say anything to anyone because the DUI group is just about over, she never had another client who elicited such a reaction from her, and she is sure it will not be an issue in the future.

  1. If you believe that Ruth’s course of action is wrong, what specifically is she doing wrong?
  2. If you could intervene in the situation with Ruth, what action would you take?
  3. If possible, what advice would you give Ruth about actions she needs to take for both herself and the welfare of her client?