Michael was referred to me in January 2016. On meeting for the first time he was absolutely impossible to engage with. He did not want to talk about anything other than how he was far too ill to work and only gave one word answers to any questions I asked him. I noticed at our first meeting that he was very “on edge”. There was no eye contact whatsoever and he spent a lot of time looking around the coffee shop. I did not think that he would engage further, however he did turn up for a second and then a third session, by which time he had relaxed a little.

Once I felt that I had gained a little trust it was time to address a few issues. It would have been easy to skip over some of these issues and be intimidated by his demeanour. However, it would have been impossible to move him forward in any way without being completely honest about my observations over our last few meetings. We discussed his erratic behaviour, his appearance (pretty scruffy and grubby) and how he came across as very paranoid, constantly looking over his shoulder and lack of eye contact. I had a suspicion that there may be drugs involved and I asked him if this was the case, which he eventually confirmed.

At our next meeting, he came straight in, looked me in the eye and asked me for help. I booked him straight in for an assessment at a local addiction support group and he now attends on a regular basis. Since this intervention he has become a lot more trusting and agreeable and due to his more positive attitude his work coach has asked if I can go along with him to their next meeting to agree how we can move him forward even further.

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