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Five Failures of an Addiction Treatment Team

As addiction counselors, we are part of a team and the ability of that team to work together cohesively can be the difference between good and great results. Following, you will find five of the most common failures of the addiction counseling team. This applies to the clinical staff as well as administration and management.

Absence of trust:  How many of you have not trusted yourself, a peer, a coworker, etc?  What was the result?  Not trusting in your team is revealed by your behavior and a team just cannot work without trust.  The faith you have in yourself and others on the team will allow you to conduct yourself professionally in all your affairs.

Fear of conflict: How many of you have either been passive, aggressive, or both? You may not say what’s truly on your mind because you have read into a person’s actions, concluded the conversation or just simply given up? Each one of us has the right to be happy and comfortable in our work environment. Anything less and we are robbed of our professional development. This development comes by knowing exactly what is troubling you and verbalizing it with active listening skills.

Lack of commitment: A lack of commitment stems from cynical intentions, self –esteem, self -worth issues and fear of accomplishment. How many of us have not accomplished goals? How many of us have postponed outcomes and taken the easier, softer way or just simply let it slide for the next-best thing? There needs to be a commitment on the part of everyone on the team to do what’s best for the client, the program and the facility. How are we committed to our professionalism today? How motivated and optimistic are we as professionals?

Avoidance of accountability: To avoid things is to let down the whole system. Many of us have ideas, but are we afraid to stand up and take a chance. We may be heard and we may succeed – or not – but we try. In order to succeed we must immerse ourselves, being curious, engaged and interested. If we don’t know our job who does?  If we are constantly avoiding our responsibilities, why should we be part of the team? Accountability helps the entire facility and offers us a sense of true achievement in our careers.

Inattention to results: If it’s not documented, it didn’t happen. This is not the way a team should work. Everyone should be focused on goals and results and should share these results whether good or bad. Just as important as collecting results is interpreting them and acting on them. The team will be better as a result.

There is no formula to making your treatment team great. It requires open and honest conversation and the understanding that positive reinforcement and criticism are essential parts of the workings of a treatment center. If the team is not cohesive, the client cannot receive proper care – after all, that is our purpose.