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Individualized Treatment Plans vs Connecting with A Client

Log on to most treatment center’s websites and invariably you will find them touting “individualized treatment plans” as one of the key ingredients that sets their treatment center apart from the countless thousands of others nationwide. On the surface this may seem innovative and downright progressive, but is it really?

Before we dig deeper, bear in mind that individualized care is critical to the success of a client’s time in rehab and it must be considered when entrusting the well-being of your loved one to a particular facility. However, there are, arguably, equally or more important factors to be considered.

Paramount among these is the therapist’s ability to connect with the client. This is a component of the therapeutic process that is all too often overlooked. Most therapists are good at writing treatment plans that satisfy the requirements of the insurance company, but are they adept at getting the client to fully participate in their own treatment program and ultimately, contribute to their long-term success?

This is why the connection with a client is at least equally if not more important than the individualized nature of the treatment plan. Let’s explore the traits of a therapist that can engage the client, giving them the highest chance of success:

  1. Think back to when you were in school…which classes did you do best in? More than likely, those courses in which your instructor was affable and expressed genuine concern for you furthering your education. You must exude that same level of caring and empathy if you want a client to respond to you in a meaningful way.
  2. To go along with the above, he/she had something intangible, the ability to make their students feel a part of something significant and important. You may remember working harder for the instructors that made sure you felt like an integral part of the class rather than just another body at a desk. Even if you didn’t particularly care for the subject, you might have put more effort into completing the work for that instructor because of the connection.

The connection with the client is much the same as the student-teacher relationship described above. And much like school, entering and ultimately completing a course of therapy is NOT easy.

Simply stated, the best treatment plan in the world will be of little help to the client unless he or she feels a connection with the therapist and is, by virtue of that relationship, willing to do the work.