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
Author of Mindful Happiness