What mistakes did you make in working with this client?

You are an addictions counselor at a mental health agency. Your client is a single, 33-year-old female who comes for addiction treatment on her own. It is discovered during treatment for her addiction that she also struggles with depression. She sees a psychiatrist affiliated with the agency and is prescribed antidepressants. After 2 weeks of addictions and mental health treatment, she overdoses on the antidepressants and kills herself. Even though you have seen her weekly, you did not pick up any indicators of suicidal tendencies; however, you did not chart that she stated she was not suicidal. Also, you did not consult directly with the psychiatrist or a colleague when she was diagnosed as depressed. Your chart notes make it appear that you talked with her only about attending self-help meetings and that she reported being sober. One week after her suicide, the family contacts the director of your agency and states that they will be suing you for malpractice.

1. What mistakes did you make in working with this client?

2. What actions could you have taken to protect yourself better?

3. What is your best course of action now?

4. How will you cope with your fears about the lawsuit?

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