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英語文法學堂﹕The aim of hotline service

【明報專訊】Polly Wong

There was one case which had a great impact on me. She was a woman who suffered from mood disorders. She contacted SBHK about twenty years ago. In the past, SBHK would assign a volunteer to follow up long-term cases. I was assigned to follow up this case. At that time the client was about twenty years of age. Due to her emotional problem, the woman did not feel well all the time and was not able to go to work.

At the beginning, the client was willing to talk to me. However, all she wanted was just talking. She did not want to make any changes. Perhaps she once had a little change, but she thought that such little effort could not lead to great improvement of her condition. So she basically lived with an unhappy state of mind. She hid herself at home. She quarrelled with her mother frequently. She complained about and criticised everything. She called various hotlines frequently and met with social workers. We talked for about two years, but later on the woman stopped calling me.

I felt helpless facing this client. It was difficult to encourage her to move on. She seemed to be stuck in the rut and unable to set herself free. I really felt pity for her. She was young and she made good handicrafts. She was once invited to come to SBHK to have an interview, and she gave me one of the products she made herself.

My original idea was that a volunteer should follow up a particular client, in that case, the volunteer can closely monitor the progress of the client. Thus, a recovery plan could be carried out with an agreed goal. It seemed better than having different volunteers talk to the same client every time the client called.

Hotline volunteers should not follow up cases. However, my experience of handling this client has changed my way of thinking. I re-examined the case and concluded that the aim of hotline service is to help clients at the time when they are in emotional turmoil or bore the thought of killing themselves.

(text edited and abridged)

資料提供:Selflessness: a Key to Wisdom

- by Dr Pak-Kei Kan

◆Editor's Notes﹕Bear the thought of sth 直譯即「承受某個想法」。Cannot bear the thought of sth 即想都不敢想。

■Giveaway

Do you want to get a copy of the book? Send your answer to the following question, your name, address and telephone number to english@mingpao.com. The giveaway closes on 27 December 2018. The winner will be picked and notified.

Question: What do you think is the aim of the hotline services?

◆Last week's winner: Dennis Ip

Thanks: Red Publish

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