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EXAMPLES OF PROFESSIONALS COMMUNICATING FOR THE BENEFIT OF THE CLIENT
by Malcolm Miller, Ph.D.
In one of my earlier positions, I would attend school IEP meetings (Individualized
Education Program). Often the school personnel honestly told me they worked
more intensively together than usual to prepare for my attending. I frequently
found their perspective informative and valuable for my work. More recently,
I was seeing a client who felt her migraine headaches were primarily physical
in nature and only wished therapy to help with her emotional adjustment
to having intense persistent migraines--ending up in the emergency ward
visits and missing work. I spoke to her neurologist who instead agreed
with my original thoughts that, in addition to what the client was requesting,
efforts to reduce the migraines through psychological methods would greatly
help the client. She was also willing to discuss this with the client,
supporting my work.
Another time when I spoke to a psychiatrist about a client, I was able
to offer the psychiatrist important information he did not know about
the client that altered the choice of medication. Additionally, since
psychiatric interviews are different from psychologists’, I also
learned new information that helped me with my treatment of the client.
Although mental health professionals and sponsors in 12 step programs
traditionally do not communicate with each other, this can be very valuable.
Speaking to a sponsor in AA about one of my clients, we both learned information
about the client’s addiction we had been unaware of. Also we were
able to support our different but compatible approaches with the client
to greatly increase the impact of AA and psychotherapy. We further limited
the client’s tendency to overly note differences between the sponsor
and me, which reduced the client’s resistance to the therapeutic
and 12 step work.
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