5 Ways to set boundaries for private/residential cases, without feeling guilty.
Hearing a person talk about their fear can be hard sometimes. When a person feels so uncomfortable in their own home or place of work and wanting answers it’s hard to ignore those feelings of empathy.
It takes a special kind of paranormal investigator to look at private/residential cases. A persistence to find answers, skills in dealing with people, the respect of the clients private information as well as keeping a good code of ethics - even before you've entered their home.
But (yes it was coming) you still need to put boundaries in place. Just because it's a "love job" doesn't mean you have to wear yourself thin or be answering calls at midnight. Self-preservation is ok! Yes, you can be of service and still have boundaries. Here are 5 ways:
1) Set up designated "work hours"
Just because it's a free service doesn't mean you have to be available around the clock. Set which days and times you take calls or emails and stick to them. If you are in a team, make sure you are all in agreement with them.
Maybe you can split the days and times between different members if all are available at different times. Of course, it depends on how you run your team.
So if they demand to speak with you right now (and yes, it can happen!) you can politely tell them that you have set “open” or work hours and can respond at within those times. You can also go that one step further and suggest a time that suits them within your open hours = win/win.
2) Have a really good interview process
This will help when it comes to investigating. And yes, although we love it, we only want to do it if it benefits the person in question. No point investigating a location for 10-12 hours when you know the activity reported is down to the structure of the building and nothing more.
Even if the client is wanting an investigation, if it doesn't warrant one, don't do it. It takes hours of planning with floor plans, organising of the team, collaborating witness interviews just to name a few. Plus the fact you are putting someone out of convenience of their home for 10 to 12 hours at a time and yes, they have agreed to the investigation but it’s a long process.
3) Update the client on a weekly basis (same day each week).
If you're working on a case, pick a day each week to report back to the client. This gives an expectation to the client of any updates even if there isn’t any. Open that day for them to ask any questions or for them to let you know of any possible activity that might have occurred that week.
This helps enormously with reducing any midnight phone messages and can help prompt the clients to write down anything else that may happen that they want to have explored further.
4) Work out an emergency situation process
So what do you do if you do get someone who needs help or information at midnight on a weekday? Sometimes things will go bump in the night unexpectedly and maybe just hearing a person who understands the situation might help.
Make this a rare exception to the rule and work out what constitutes an emergency. A door opening on its own isn’t an emergency. Being dragged out of bed and scratched endlessly is.
Work out with your team and put it in place. Again, it can be down to several members on different allocated nights.
5) Clarify what style of investigating you and your team have
This is a great way to let a possible client know what your style of investigating is before deciding there needs to be one. Are you more of a "debunking" style investigator? Or do you rely more so on paranormal investigation equipment to help give you answers?
If the client wholeheartedly believes that they do have something paranormal going on in their home and want it gone, maybe a team that is spiritually/mediumship focused would be the best option. And if that isn’t your team style, you’ve saved yourself a bunch of time.
Remember, you are giving up your personal time FOR FREE to help a person in an area or field that doesn't get the same recognition as other volunteer roles.
Putting in boundaries is important as it helps keep you and your team run on all cylinders and remain focused and without the risk of burning out.
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