Improving Client/Patient Collaboration in Treatment
To improve collaboration between you and your clients/patients, simply practice the following behaviors as your norms. See the
list below, and practice, practice, practice.
- Present with an attitude of helpfulness and authentic caring. Empathy and authentic concern are required.
- Recognize the reality that clients/patients are at different levels of readiness to make changes – almost alway NOT where you are in the process.
- Know how to use cognitive-behavioral therapies, mindfulness-based stress reduction, deepo psychodynamics in alliance building, and other effective approaches.
- Complete a cost-benefit analysis grid with the person, and work with pros/cons of staying the same vs changing.
- Do whatever you can to enhance the quality of the clinical relationship.
- Act within an understanding of equality; you are not able to control any person who is suffering.
- Provide psychoeducation where needed.
- Anticipate barriers to making desired changes; offer concrete support and help in doing so.
- Your clinical interventions should be evidence-based for a higher probability of success.
- Use the person’s personal hopes, goals, and motivations.
- Use task analysis as a behavioral method to break down larger tasks into smaller, more manageable tasks.
- Be willing to try harm reduction when people appear pre-contemplative in stages of change.
- Provide direct feedback, with more emphasis on reinforcing praise rather than scolding.
- Remain in the Middle Way regarding too much/too little expected change, as well as the timing and time required for any changes to occur.
- Be highly mindful of both your own emotion regulation and that of the person you are working with. Practice emotion regulation skills often.
- Intervene quickly in anxiety, depression, substance misuse, and trauma. Intervene carefully, intelligently, and again with evidence-based actions.
- Remember in crisis situations that safety is first, stabilization is second.
- Identify people, places, and things that help and hinder progress into healthier life patterns.
- Monitor serious symptoms and act accordingly. If medications are required, be part of the monitoring system and do “check-ins” often.
- Use self-help groups if the client/patient finds them helpful. One needs to participate to know the correct answer here.
- Do GOOD self-care and get effective clinical supervision when needed.
For more information refer to Daley, D. C. and Zuckoff, A. (1999). Improving Treatment Compliance: Counseling and Systems Strategies for Substance Abuse and Dual Disorders. Center City, MINN. Hazelden.
Anthony R. Quintiliani, PhD., LADC
From the Eleanor R. Liebman Center for Secular Meditation in Monkton, Vermont
Author of Mindful Happiness