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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.

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.

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.

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.  

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.  

5 Tips to Help Engage your Patients and Clients (part II)

5 Tips to Help Engage your Patients and Clients (part II)

Are you ready to make engagement part of daily practice?  As stated in Part 1 of this article series, engagement is a process; it does not happen overnight, and it requires patience, flexibility, and a different mindset, a willingness to consider a strategic approach.  As a result, to be successful, you need to desire it, and to decide to make it a priority.

Effective Writing Skills for Court: 7 Reasons Why

Effective Writing Skills for Court:  7 Reasons Why

“I want to make a difference in the world and in people’s lives. I am a social worker; I am an advocate.” Jackie articulated these words in response to the question: “What motivates you?”

Symptom Contextualization: 2 Reasons Why

Symptom Contextualization: 2 Reasons Why

“I used to just equate hearing voices with schizophrenia,” said Clara, a clinician employed at the Hope Center. “Now, I know how naive of me that was. I walked in the room expecting it to be psychosis related to schizophrenia, not realizing that it could have been a physical or a different mental health issue. I feel embarrassed and wonder how often I have misdiagnosed clients who have been under my care,” Clara added.

Symptom Contextualization: Introducing a New and Key Concept

Symptom Contextualization: Introducing a New and Key Concept

Arianna’s dream was to become a researcher.  “My older brother has been sick and suffering a lot, and I want to help him and also help stop suffering in the world.”  She often said these words to herself, as a way to remember that keeping her promise alive meant hard work, keeping up with great grades, and maintaining her extracurricular activities.  Arianna wanted to be sure she was doing all the right things to get ready for college and in preparation for graduate school.  At age 15; however, Arianna suddenly developed some unusual and disturbing symptoms…

Engaging Challenging Patients and Clients – Wood Did It Best

Engaging Challenging Patients and Clients – Wood Did It Best

“I’m here because of Mr. Wood. For the first time, I felt like someone listened to me, treated me with respect and like a human being.” Jose said this to Danie at the front desk, when he arrived for his first follow up visit with Wood.

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.  

Skills for Working with Clients with Borderline Personality Disorder (agency and system’s perspective)

Skills for Working with Clients with Borderline Personality Disorder (agency and system’s perspective)

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.

Skills for Working with Clients with Borderline Personality Disorder (Clinician’s Perspective)

Skills for Working with Clients with Borderline Personality Disorder (Clinician’s Perspective)

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.

Preventing Burnout From a System Perspective

Preventing Burnout From a System Perspective

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.