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By Gita Mammen

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Individual practitioners, however, tend to develop practice guidelines. Initially these might derive from their professional training. indd 20 16/6/06 10:00:04 AM 21 HOW SERVICE FRAMEWORKS AFFECT HELP AVAILABLE TO SURVIVORS setting. Finetuning might accommodate the needs of the practice location and environment, or the practitioner’s special interests. For a sole practitioner interested to take up abuse-specific work, it is a useful exercise to try and define their practice ethos. A clear understanding of one’s framework helps the vital principle of staying clearly within one’s framework and competence level.

Each of these facets is complex, and needs exploration and fleshing out of detail. Their interrelation will also need to be discussed. For abuse survivors, only then will implemented strategies be successful in the long term. Priorities The next step is to work out abuse-specific priorities. For instance, might your client, at this point in time, be primarily seeking help for distressing flashbacks? Or, perhaps, they wish to deal with longstanding self-harm behaviour and internalised anger? Or is it redress they seek?

You could recruit extra help for your client when needed from the local mental health team or a GP, for instance. indd 30 16/6/06 10:00:06 AM 31 ASSESSMENT AND GOAL PLANS Working with an abuse survivor does not mean you have to take on extra risk. Monitoring ongoing risk allows you to recognise levels that exceed your capability and practice norms, and to adopt your usual protocols to handle such a situation. Risk assessment should be undertaken routinely as an intrinsic component of the initial assessment with every survivor.

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