When we pause to think about it, people have multiple needs – it takes a lot to keep us going. A well-being or personal care plan incorporates health and mental health (emotional, physical, spiritual, and relational), finances, education and career, place of residence, leisure and recreation, and so on.
Counsellors and psychotherapists may be one of many components of a client’s personal well-being team. Like any team, information, open communication, and collaboration are important elements. Other members of the team might include, for example, a physician, physiotherapist, psychiatrist, chiropractor, pastor, school guidance counsellor, life coach, and sports coach. When a client is working with more than one professional or practitioner, there are many benefits; at the same time, however, there are some key tips to keep in mind when counsellors and clients are working together as part of a larger team.
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Tip #1: Role Clarification. Identify all the members of the team and clarify the role of each member. This helps prevent working at cross-purposes. When clients and counsellors are meeting for the first time, a broad overview of other services and resources being accessed helps bridge to the conversation about the client’s goals and the counsellor’s role.
Tip #2: Keeping Track of the Plan. Sometimes the plan can become complex when there are multiple care providers, insurance companies, and employers. In this regard, counsellors can facilitate a case management role, helping the client develop a way to organize their plan. I have found this to be a beneficial conversation with clients that can also help alleviate their stress and anxiety.
Tip #3: Checking-In. When clients are working with multiple care providers, it is important for counsellors to check-in during each session about progress, and any changes to the care plan and treatment providers. This is also a great time to clarify the role of counselling and needed changes to the counselling approach, suggested interventions, and how counselling fits with the client’s overall care plan.
Tip #4: Consent to Share and Release Information. If it is in the best interest of the client to consult with another member of the client’s care team, all appropriate and necessary forms (e.g., Written Informed Consent, Consent to Release Information) must be completed. Reviewing the benefits as well as any potential outcomes of sharing information should be discussed with clients.
Working together for the well-being and welfare of clients takes Collaboration, Clarity, and Commitment. A clearly articulated plan that works in concert with the clients key goals helps the client pave the way for their own success.
The views expressed are mine alone and do not reflect the views of the CCPA.
Dr. Debbie Grove is a therapist working in Edmonton, Alberta. To learn more about her, visit her web site at www.learningtolive.ca
*The views expressed by our authors are personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect the views of the CCPA