Risk Assessment Scenario
Risk Assessment Scenario
Risk assessment involves the process of determining the probability that a certain negative health issue or event may happen to a client. This helps counselors in preventing any harm that may happen to a client or minimize the negative effects associated with the risk (Hays, 2014). It is important for counselors to identify risk factors at the beginning of the counseling process since they may fail to identify them during the counseling process, which may lead to negative effects on the client, as well as the counseling process (Hays, 2014). A risk assessment should be done based on the risk factors which a client faces which a counselor is able to identify based on his/her counseling skills and the current symptoms affecting a client. This will also help a counselor in determining the best treatment options available for the client and making informed decisions related to the short-term or long-term goals (Hays, 2014).
Part 1: A Scenario That Involves a Client That You Believe Requires a Risk Assessment
Stephen is a male client who has started counseling sessions to address some of the problems he is facing. Some of the issues that the client is facing may pose a danger to him or to other close relatives (Reeves, 2015). From the information collected from the client, the client is at a risk of committing suicide due to the thoughts and feelings of depression, which have led to the client to seek medical help. The client was recommended to seek counseling services after there was evidence of physical harm caused by the client on himself (Reeves, 2015). The patient at one time had tried committing suicide due to the problems, which had affected the patient. Mr. Stephen had been involved in a road accident where he lost one of his legs.
Due to this problem, he spent most of his financial resources in accessing medical help, which also affected his marriage. His wife whom they had been married for twenty years also left him due to the financial challenges that the family was going through. Mr. Stephen was left alone which led to depression and suicidal thoughts as he saw no meaning of life (Reeves, 2015). The client caused self-harm through self-poisoning which led to the patient to develop other health issues in his body. The family has tried to talk to the patient but in vain. The client has also a history of substance abuse, which started after his wife left him (Reeves, 2015).
It is important to conduct a risk assessment on the patient, which will help in determining the mental status of the patient as well as the risk of the patient to cause harm on him or other family members (Reeves, 2015). A risk assessment will help the counselor in determining the probability of the client to commit suicide in future. This is because information collected from the patient and his relatives indicate that the patient has been previously involved in such an act. The client has also other problems, which might contribute to the event (Reeves, 2015). This is a previous accident, which resulted in the client losing one of his legs.
This event led to other problems in his life and might have contributed to the client making a decision to commit suicide. A risk assessment is important, as it will help the counselor in making informed decisions to prevent the client from engaging in the action again and provide solutions to the current problems, which he is currently experiencing (Reeves, 2015). Risk assessment involves a prediction of future harmful behavior, which may harm the client or other close relatives. In this scenario, Mr. Stephen is at a risk of harming himself, which may also affect his close relatives and should be prevented to protect the client as well as those close to him (Reeves, 2015).
Part 2: Specific Behaviors That Lead You to Create a Risk Assessment
In creating a risk assessment, there are some behaviors, which must be present to allow a counselor to make such a decision (Chenail, Somers, & Benjamin, 2009). A risk assessment may be conducted for an individual who is experiencing emotional health issues, which may cause a risk to the patient or other people close to the client. Mr. Stephen has depression issues, which have led him to isolate himself from his family. This is due to an accident, which affected the client previously leading to marital issues where his wife left him. This may have left the patient feeling of neglected by his closest family members (Chenail, Somers, & Benjamin, 2009).
The client has also tried committing suicide in the past and has a history of substance abuse. These behaviors may be caused by other underlying problems, which need to be investigated which may be determined through a risk assessment (Chenail, Somers, & Benjamin, 2009). A risk assessment will provide more information related to the patient, which will help a counselor in addressing some of the behaviors identified. From the analysis of the information collected from the client, it is evident that the patient wishes that he would be dead and is feeling hopeless with no interventions implemented to improve the quality of life of the client (Chenail, Somers, & Benjamin, 2009).
Part 3: How to Assess the Client
A counselor is trained to assess a client based on different aspects, which are meant to provide information related to the problems facing the client. A risk assessment is important since there is no one solution, which fits all, and different solutions are determined based on the symptoms and risk factors affecting a client (Chenail, Somers, & Benjamin, 2009). Counselor should understand the surrounding factors which affect a client and which have contributed to the current problems being faced. Every client may require a different approach and technique in addressing the problems affecting the client. It is the duty of the counselor to identify and determine the best approach to implement based on the risk factors and the knowledge gotten from his/her training (Chenail, Somers, & Benjamin, 2009).
Questions You Would Ask To Determine the Client’s Level of Risk
Have you ever planned to end your life?
What was the reason for making such a decision?
Did you think of the consequences of your decision?
What did you plan to accomplish?
What method did you use as you tried to commit suicide?
Did you have thoughts of resistance to carry out this act?
How do you address some of the challenges that you face in life?
Do you wish that you continued living after the accident?
Do you see a meaning of life?
Do you still have suicidal thoughts even after the first failed attempt?
Do you share with anyone about these thoughts?
What has prevented you from repeating this act soon enough?
Are you willing to receive help in addressing this issue?
Protocol You Would Follow Based on the Client’s Answers
A counselor can analyze the information collected from the client by answering the questions to determine the likelihood of an issue to happen and the degree of probability (Saxon, Ricketts, & Heywood, 2010). Counselors should also consider any other nonverbal signs, which may contribute to the assessment. This will help the counselor in identifying the risk factors of the client in causing harm to him or to other individuals and the best interventions to implement in addressing the issues facing the client (Saxon, Ricketts, & Heywood, 20100. Identifying the risk factors will help the counselor in identifying protective factors to decrease the risk. If the counselor determines that the client is at a risk of carrying out a negative action, he/she might need to involve the client in identifying a course of action based on the degree and severity of the issue (Saxon, Ricketts, & Heywood, 2010).
This enquiry will provide a clear level of risk based on the preparedness of the client to commit suicide. These details provided will also help the counselor in differentiating the different types of suicide attempts (Saxon, Ricketts, & Heywood, 2010). The counselor will then make a judgment to prevent the client from taking any action based on the level of risk determined (Saxon, Ricketts, & Heywood, 2010). This information may also be compared to information collected from other sources that may include close relatives and determine any strategies, which have been implemented to address the current problems. The counselor will determine if the professional care provided is suitable to address the risk and the appropriate intervention to manage the client (Saxon, Ricketts, & Heywood, 2010).
This recommendation should be properly documented based on the organization’s guidelines. All details of the patient should also be included which include signs and symptoms and the recommendations to reduce the risk level and the appropriate professional body to carry out this (Saxon, Ricketts, ; Heywood, 2010). Urgent action may be taken for severe cases where else additional counseling services may be integrated into the counseling process to help address other healthcare services, which may be unavailable in the counseling process. A counselor may also implement a crisis plan, which is meant to help the client in managing the risk factors and improve the health status of the patient (Saxon, Ricketts, ; Heywood, 2010).
Chenail, R., Somers, C., ; Benjamin, J. D. (2009). A recursive frame qualitative analysis of MFT progress note tipping points. Contemporary Family Therapy: An International Journal, 31(2), 87-99.
Hays, D. G. (2014). Assessment in counseling: A guide to the use of psychological assessment procedures. Hoboken: John Wiley ; Sons.
Reeves, A. (2015). Working with risk in counseling and psychotherapy. Los Angeles: SAGE.
Saxon, D., Ricketts, T., ; Heywood, J. (2010). Who drops-out? Do measures of risk to self and to others predict unplanned endings in primary care counseling? Counseling ; Psychotherapy Research, 10(1), 13-21.