Becoming Better Helpers
Treatment is always striving to change for the better. New methods and approaches seem to appear every year. That’s especially true in an era of emphasis on Evidence-Based Practice, or EBP.
Put simply, an EBP is any approach to treatment that has been shown to be effective through well-designed, well-conducted research by qualified scientists. For addictions, examples of EBPs include cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), motivational interviewing (MI), and Twelve Step Facilitation (TSF), among others. There are important differences between them, but all three have one thing in common: studies have shown they are effective.
At the Ranch, we hold that treatment works best when it integrates evidence-based practices with the expertise and judgment of an experienced counselor. Our goal is to provide our clients with the tools for successful recovery and the information they need to make their own decisions about how best to use them. Of course, your decisions will be unique to you as a person, and reflect your individual goals, interests, values, and needs. That’s called person-centered planning, and the client is indeed at the center of it.
Because counselors need to continue learning and developing new skills, we place considerable emphasis on professional development. The idea is that as counselors build new skills to use in their work, our clients and their families will benefit through better outcomes.
One way to foster growth is through a professional development plan (PDP). Once a year, counselor and supervisor sit down together to review the counselor’s progress during the preceding 12 months, and set goals and objectives for the future.
For instance, a counselor might decide to target improvement in his or her ability to work productively with couples who are experiencing problems in their relationships. The counselor identifies two workshops he or she will attend during the year, as well as specific skills or competencies that require development, and objective measures of improvement in clinical practice. The supervisor reviews the counselor’s objectives and may add further recommendations. They set up a schedule of meetings going forward to review progress. That can include opportunities for the supervisor to sit in on live sessions and observe the counselor at work.
It’s all part of a larger process known as clinical supervision that we at Clear Springs believe will make us better helpers. And we can’t think of anything more important than that.