Do Involuntary Clients Have a Right to Self-Determination?

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Coercion of medication

Hello, what do you believe about coercing a client to take medication so that they can maintain housing in a program? They have schizophrenia and find their hallucinations ego-syntonic.

d.j. more than 6 years ago


Requesting the client's permission to inform the target of the crime of client's intentions clearly violates the rights of the intended victim should the client state 'no, I don't want them to know'.
That is where the client needs to be aware of the boundaries of confidentiality and where info with the intent to harm others takes precedence over the right to confidentiality of the clients in this case.
Would you agree?

Betty Madsen more than 7 years ago


Thanks Allan for this piece. It is very helpful. Please how do I reference this work? Thanks

Queenie more than 8 years ago


This article is from the Spring 2014 issue of THE NEW SOCIAL WORKER. If you go to the "magazine" section of this site, and then the "digital issues" page, you can download that issue. Then you will be able to find the volume, number, and page numbers to cite. more than 8 years ago


This article is from the Spring 2014 issue of THE NEW SOCIAL WORKER. Go to the "magazine" section of this site, and then the "digital issues" page. You can then download that issue and see the page numbers and other details for the citation. more than 8 years ago

Slef-determination Vs future Life

In HK, We have heaps of cases like that: Women with intelligence disability who keep giving birth but are not able to look after their children. They refused to relinquish their parenting right.
Eventually, All the children like that, they are now under care of foster care / hostel.
I am always frustrated, If the women with intelligence disability , who are not able to take care of themselves and their children, what can we do to stop her giving birth.
Their children have to stay in foster care / hostel until 18 years old.......
I am so sorry for them.
Children deserve a family.
Is there similar case in OZ?

Rachel more than 8 years ago

Self-Determination and future life... children's interests

Sometimes, we need to explore the context in which clients are making these choices. Why is this client "choosing" to have children if she is not able to care for them effectively? How can family, community, and others be brought into the situation to increase choices, enhance client self-determination... and improve the life opportunities for the children?

Allan Barsky more than 8 years ago

Self Determination

[In these situations], our legal system is basically saying that the safety of others (the public, children, and so forth) is more important than self-determination.<<
I interpret the above quote somewhat differently: I think it's basically saying that the rights of two persons' Rights might be be equally important but preventing possible or probable harm to (the public, children, and so forth) is the more prudent path to take.
Go well

Michael Mallows more than 8 years ago


I had a teacher in my MSW program who discussed how he dealt with mandated clients. He would have them show up to his office during their appointment time, but they didn't actually have to "attend" the appointment. Eventually they became curious why he was doing this, to which our teacher responded, "If you don't want help I'm not going to force you." He said he had many mandated clients who started coming and working on their problems and established goals. Putting the choice in the client's hands can be incredibly helpful for change.

Liz more than 8 years ago

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