This topic is important. It is part of both the 12 Core Functions and the 8 Practice Domains. I briefly mentioned it in a previous post, so you will find a lot of similarities. Here I go into more detail.
Treatment planning is a written document developed by the counselor and the client. They collaborate with each other to identify and prioritize problems needing resolution. Treatment planning involves determining important treatment goals; it describes measurable steps toward achieving those goals; and it represents an agreement between the counselor and the client.
A treatment plan is not a one-size-fits-all but an individualized document. It must address the identified substance use disorder, potential mental conditions, employment, education, spirituality, health, social, and legal issues as well as issues related to the progress of the treatment.
As I mentioned in previous posts, counselors need to be familiar with the stages of change and readiness for treatment, and be able to establish treatment priorities based on information from the assessment process.
During treatment planning, we should be able to:
- Explain assessment results to the client in an understandable manner.
- Identify and prioritize problems based on client’s needs.
- Formulate immediate and long-term goals using behavioral terms (book recommendation: Martin, Garry. “Behavior Modification: What it is and how to do it.” 9th ed.)
- Identify the treatment methods and resources to be used as appropriate for each client.
- Develop with the client a mutually acceptable treatment plan and method for monitoring and evaluating progress.
One of the main goals during treatment planning is to collaborate with the client and his/her significant others in order to establish a trusting relationship with them.