Coping with the Death of a Client

Coping with the Death of a Client

I’m pleased to have my first article published in The New Social Worker! It’s a fantastic publication and resource I use often when looking for supervision material. If you’re not familiar with it, definitely bookmark it for future reference.

Coping with the death of a client

It’s never easy. Death stirs up a lot of emotions for us. As social workers and therapists, we have unique relationships with our clients that most of our non-social work friends don’t understand. They aren’t “just our clients”. They’re often people who’ve shared their stories with us, who’ve been vulnerable with us, who’ve trusted us. Our clients make a deep impact on our hearts. I know that for me, the clients who passed away will always be a part of me.

The death of a client is a common occurrence for social workers.

I wrote this article about a year ago. And since then, my supervisees have had so many more clients die. I’m a clinical supervisor at an agency that serves homeless people. They are vulnerable and often is very poor health. It’s truly heart breaking that it’s not uncommon for these individuals to die in their 50’s and 60’s. It’s very rough for new social workers (which is who is primarily serves¬†these clients) to lose multiple clients a year.

Be gentle with yourself.

My biggest piece of advice for coping with the death of a client (and for longevity as a social worker) is to be gentle with yourself. This is hard work. It really is. Give yourself loving kindness, patience, and grace.

Please read the full article: Coping with the Emotional Aspects of a Client’s Death by Sharon Martin, LCSW in The New Social Worker.



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Sharon Martin has a passion for clinical supervision, mentoring new social workers, blogging, and reading all things social work related. She is a California Licensed Clinical Social Worker with over 20 years in the field. Sharon has worked extensively in Bay Area non-profits and successfully runs a private counseling practice in San Jose. Sharon writes regularly for PsychCentral and the Good Men Project. She's also the author of Setting Boundaries Without Guilt: A Workbook to Move You From Doormat to Empowerment.

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