I was shocked and saddened to see the news that Relationships Aotearoa was closing suddenly. I did not just find the news saddening but the way it was all handled as being very concerning and brutal. From the evidence I have seen through One News and the interviews I have found Anne Tolley's response to be totally patronising and demeaning towards Relationships Aotearoa. I also find the action and the sudden end for clients without even giving two weeks notice as was expected by the spokesperson for Relationships Aotearoa just brutal. It showed a total disregard and almost pathological Narcissistic lack of empathy for the rights of clients.
As a Counsellor I know that the main indicator of good outcomes for clients is the trust and rapport between Counsellor and client. The typical client will find this hard to build up due to bad outcomes in attempting this in their background leading to destructive behaviour towards others or perhaps this leading them into destructive relationships and behaviour. It is common that the very foundation of Counselling is building this rapport to allow the individual to experience freedom and allow past conditioning to fall apart. This can be a very slow, difficult, while rewarding experience for the client.
The action of an immediate end will in many cases have shattered this trust, maybe forever. I don't want to be overly dramatic and I only hope for the clients best welfare but the action to suddenly end is just so incredible brutal and potentially devastating especially for those at risk. Anne Tolley herself describes 500 urgent cases but yet seems to speak of these people as if they are objects or at best totally calm rational beings who are going to be fine with this change. She seems to completely disregard or have no concept on how such a change could impact them. These 500 'urgent cases' are now at a level (due to Anne Tolley) far far more urgent. The clients are quoted as being at risk of suicide, homicide, also sexual offenders are now at higher risk in each of these categories
Client rights set out by the Health and Disability Commission says that clients are to be treated with 'respect' and that 'effective communication' is to take place. Anne Tolley seems to sabotaged this from taking place. She has broke the rights of the clients at Relationships Aotearoa.
Incredibly Anne Tolley went on to tell Relationships Aotearoa to 'calm down'. A response as a mental health professional I found to be either totally stupid or a deliberate attempt to inflame since anyone is taught when dealing with people who are inflamed (which Relationships Aotearoa fairly are) is to tell them to 'calm down'. A totally patronising and inappropriate response on her part.
There were 7000 clients being helped by Relationships Aoteoroa. It seemed an incredible action magnified even more by the fact that the people affected are those supposedly at the focus of the governments new community investment. If we are really investing in the community and we are acknowledging that Counselling is part of that we need to understand these basic Counselling processes and the fact that we are dealing with people. This does not just apply for Counselling but for any form of Social Care. To not even allow the clients two more weeks as the spokeperson thought to create some kind of ending and gentler moving on for them could prove a key factor in their ability to ever recover. Someone in Anne Tolley's position should know this and should have acted better.
I have been in contact with Relationships Aotearoa to potentially offer clients Counselling sessions at the same fees of Relationships Aotearoa and will be contacting the other agencies where the clients have gone to. The further disaster following this was that the agencies referred to were more based in a social work framework although some of the relationships Aotearoa Counsellors have apparently moved on also to these same places which is some positive. It seems unclear as to whether or not all these clients will be accommodated with new Counsellors at this stage.