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Module 7-Unit 1-CaseStudy 1

“George is a 40 year old social worker, working in an NGO providing support to vulnerable teenagers. His client Sara is 14 years old and he has been providing counselling to her for the last 6 months, both face to face and online. Sara sent George a friend request on Facebook and he accepted it, as it would make it easier to arrange appointments with her and it would give him a better understanding of her background and how she interacts with others. From what she posts on Facebook, he gets a different idea of her: she often uses derogatory when talking with others, she posts angry songs and generally writes around 30 posts a day. How she behaves online puzzles him at the beginning, but then he realises that her online habits allow him to form a better understanding of Sara’s personality, and a better needs assessment for their sessions.

One day, George posts a photo of his workplace on Facebook, to celebrate his 10 year work anniversary. He doesn’t realise this at the time, but Sara’s face is visible in the background of the photo, as she is entering the building for her session with George. Sara sees the photo and gets furious, as she does not want her friends and family to know that she is seeking therapy. She demands George to take it down immediately, which he does, but she then continues sending him angry texts and threats, saying that George ruined her life. She comments under his pictures and posts, sends him private messages and threatens to speak to his managers at work.

George feels embarrassed and guilty about what he has done, and he is afraid to speak to his colleagues because he knows he violated his organisation’s code of conduct and may lose his job. He hopes Sara will get bored and stop, but her online harassment continues for weeks now. “