SWEET Institute

K2 and Marijuana

K2 and Marijuana

Patients and clients bear witness to the dangers and adverse effects of K2. How can we capitalize on the principle of social currency and that of peership, to help our patients and clients, like Raj, who uses K2, a dangerous drug with significant adverse effects? After all, this is in line with the principle of harm reduction.

What Causes Addiction?

What Causes Addiction?

Contrary to popular belief, while personal efforts can contribute to one’s attendance to appointments, groups, and to one taking medications as prescribed, addiction or substance use disorders are caused by a combination of bio-psycho-social and cultural factors, and the treatment also requires the same multidimensional approach. As clinicians, it is our role and duty to follow this framework in our assessment, treatment, and approach with our patients and clients, and especially in how we communicate with them and talk about them and about addiction, as a whole.

Steps to Integrate Substance Use Treatment and Mental Health Services

Steps to Integrate Substance Use Treatment and Mental Health Services

Split treatment remains a challenge and has been shown to be detrimental to our patients and clients. This becomes more significant when it involves a patient population with several comorbidities. Patients with both mental health and substance use treatment needs are particularly vulnerable to split treatment, and integrating substance use treatment and mental health services is not only advised but also essential if we are to make meaningful changes.

Making a Difference in the Lives of Individuals with Substance Use Disorder

Making a Difference in the Lives of Individuals with Substance Use Disorder

The first five questions, described in the previous article, help with establishing rapport, with joining in, and with understanding and formulating a plan. Once you have reached this point, it is time to go to the next step that will prepare you to problem solve. This step involves having a clear picture of the magnitude of substance use, including the related consequences; assessing the stage of change for your patient and client; and discovering which barriers need to be overcome. Here are the five additional questions to ask when conducting a strategic substance use assessment, as part of this second phase.

5 Ways to Serve Individuals with Substance Use Disorder

5 Ways to Serve Individuals with Substance Use Disorder

And so, it went, five questions to ask as part of your New Strategies for Substance Use Assessment. Next time you meet with your patient or client.

Patterns of use;

You will be able to say like Maryann and Edward, “Things have been feeling different with Raj…we feel we have been making a difference in his life.” You also will avoid falling into the trap of unknowingly and unintentionally failing to provide the right care for your patients or clients with substance use disorder.

“Addiction”: How to Work with Individuals with Substance Use Disorder

“Addiction”: How to Work with Individuals with Substance Use Disorder

To be able to identify our biases and think of ways to practice in a more integrated way, will enhance our advocacy skills while working with individual with substance use disorder. Also, to help lead our agency towards this effective way of thinking: enhancing communication, enhancing clinical outcomes, halting the cycle of fragmented care, and upholding educated expectations. Lastly, we will stop falling into the trap of unknowingly and unintentionally failing to provide the right care for our patients and clients.

New Strategies to Working with Individuals with Substance Use Disorder: 5 Benefits

New Strategies to Working with Individuals with Substance Use Disorder: 5 Benefits

You may be failing to provide the right care to your patients and clients with substance use disorder. You may also be using your counter transference and biases to their detriment, unknowingly and unintentionally. Learning the new strategies to working with individuals with substance use disorder will help you avoid falling into this trap. It will also help you promote and practice integrated substance use treatment and mental health care; improve your awareness and advocacy skills on behalf of your patients and clients with substance use disorders; and become a passionate educator to help decrease stigma against substance use disorders.

Clinician Burnout: Does The System Really Care?

Clinician Burnout: Does The System Really Care?

The system has its role to play. It needs to empower clinicians and advocates, patients and clients, if there are interests in decreasing staff turnover and restoring trust. If burnout is to be addressed and prevented and self-care promoted, we all have to work together. And, these efforts must be supported by the system, if we are to reach our goals and continue working effectively and with the passion with which we came into this field.

Clinician Burnout: What’s In It for Agencies?

Clinician Burnout: What’s In It for Agencies?

“It is rather strange to me that all of us in this room came into this field because we love people, we love to help, we want to make a difference in their lives, and yet, suddenly, we all feel defeated and left with a sense of helplessness and hopelessness and, sometimes, even worse than our own clients.” Paul uttered these words with frustration in his voice, as the rest of the group stared at him in disbelief and then at one another and at Rodis, the consultant and group facilitator.

Clinician Burnout: Can It Be Prevented?

Clinician Burnout: Can It Be Prevented?

After experiencing a phenomenon for so long, it becomes the new normal, the new culture, which is then very challenging to change or undo. It is going to be a slow process, which requires a collective effort from all of us—clinicians, advocates, agency leaders and decision makers—and from the system, as a whole. It will be a process, but it indeed starts with understanding “The Why” of preventing burnout and promoting self-care.

Burnout: An Epidemic

Burnout: An Epidemic

Cynicism, depression, and lethargy are some of the manifestations of burnout. Burnout is present in about 21-67% of mental health professionals. The ramifications can be devastating for our patients and clients, our clinicians and advocates, and for our agencies and the healthcare system, as a whole. Burnout can and must be prevented. Self-care can and must be promoted. Here are four reasons why.

Borderline Personality Disorder: The Role of the Agency and the System

Borderline Personality Disorder: The Role of the Agency and the System

A lack of purpose and direction in treatment has been one of the factors contributing to feeling drained when working with patients and clients suffering from Borderline Personality Disorder. This draining propensity is rather common; it adds to negative countertransference and leads to clinician resistance to working with these patients and clients.

Borderline Personality Disorder: Clinicians’ Responsibility

Borderline Personality Disorder: Clinicians’ Responsibility

Prior to learning the skills, exploring the reasons why of the skills helps put things into context and helps prepare the terrain for a successful implementation. Strong Countertransference, Draining Propensity, and Splitting Ability are the three reasons why it is crucial for us as clinicians to learn and master the skills for working with patients and clients suffering from Borderline Personality Disorder.

How do I talk with my patient or client about … ? (Part II)

How do I talk with my patient or client about … ? (Part II)

“I have been talking with Peter about diabetes, and we were working on starting an exercise regimen. He recently started to talk about his migraine medication.”  Kate eagerly articulated these words to Roger, who then responded, “We will get to talk about medications. But before we do so, let us discuss the remaining 7 of the 12 most common physical health conditions.”

Basic Integrated Care Skills for Non-Medical Staff: Likelihood of Death

Basic Integrated Care Skills for Non-Medical Staff: Likelihood of Death

Kate looked at Roger and said: “I am feeling more and more empowered each day. Peter is opening up to me.  However, he keeps talking about dying and about his non-stop cough.  How do I best support him?”

Many of the same principles required for supporting someone going through pain and loss can also be applied to assisting someone who is battling a terminal illness.  

Basic Integrated Care Skills for the Non-Medical Staff: 5 Reasons Why

Basic Integrated Care Skills for the Non-Medical Staff: 5 Reasons Why

Peter received home health care resident visits from multiple providers, including, nursing care, the care coordinator, and the diabetic educator, in addition to visits from Kate, the social worker.  He began sharing medical concerns and complaints with Kate that he was not sharing with the rest of the staff. However Kate was limited in her understanding and ability to best support Peter.

5 De-escalation Principles to Master

5 De-escalation Principles to Master

“What are you laughing about; why are you laughing at me?” Castro asked these questions during his visit with Jack in the ER. He started to raise his voice, then he got up, made a fist, and as the situation escalated, he ended up in restraints.

De-escalation Skills: 5 Reasons Why Patients and Clients are likely to escalate

De-escalation Skills: 5 Reasons Why Patients and Clients are likely to escalate

“How dare you tell me I can’t leave; who do you think you are?  How dare you?”  Harry spoke these words loudly and in anger to Nate, a forensic social worker, who was meeting with him for the first time, for an evaluation.  

De-escalation skills: 6 Reasons Why

De-escalation skills: 6 Reasons Why

“I went to look for help, and now I am going to jail. What do I need to live for?” Matthew said in anger to the medical student conducting the initial interview. Two days later, he was found tying the bed sheet around his neck. His roommate arrived soon enough, and he was placed on “one-to-one” monitoring for suicide watch. After discharge, Matthew found himself in jail, waiting for trial. Three days later, he was found once again, with his bed sheet around his neck, this time, unconscious.