Outside of a family context
Family Group Conferences can be used outside of a family context. They can be useful to deal with disputes between friends or between employers and employees. Jerome recently worked on a case that encountered both, where the boundary between friendship and work was confused. The man was referred to Jerome last year. He was being taken care of by a friend for over 30 years, and they were having trouble adjusting to the new element of their relationship. He felt boundaries were being crossed, and they were in unusual circumstances because it isn’t often that an employed carer and cared-for adult live under the same roof. In spite of their difficult situation, the man was keen to make the relationship work. They established boundaries on which they could agree. From assessing the contract and their relationship, they put a rota in place to create a visual representation of what is done around the house. After nine months the man reached out to Jerome about reopening the case. Jerome agreed to speak to the social worker, things had been going well, but there had been a change in circumstances. As a coordinator, Jerome felt it was great that the man felt he could self-refer to FGC when he needed help. In the review, they were reminded of the plan. What had changed in the intervening months? They agreed that the man’s carer should get Sundays off, a way to break up their time together. Unfortunately, due to COVID, relationship counselling was not possible. However, he felt that the FGC had replaced the counselling as the review gave them the opportunity to discuss any issues and allowed them to establish a better working relationship.
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