Home » Counselor Intern » LCDC Exam 2014 » 8 Practice Domains » 2. Treatment Planning

2. Treatment Planning

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.

TAP 21


  1. […] support systems and community resources to meet the needs identified in the clinical evaluation and treatment planning. As competent counselors, we must be familiar with the mission, function, resources, and quality of […]

  2. ninjapanda90 says:

    What happens if a patient has no progress for a long time? Will treatment be stopped? Or would treatment be changed to something else?

    • Hi alice,

      It’s good to hear from you. That’s a good question. When the client is not showing progress, the treatment plan needs to be reviewed and modified. But remember that, although it is the client the one that ultimately decides to stop the treatment, determining whether she/he is making progress is a joint decision between the counselor and the client. The counselor might tell you “don’t worry, it is a process and I can see that you are making progress, what makes you think that you are not?” In this case the client might feel like the counselor is not on-board or on the same page. If your counselor says “I think we should make some changes in your treatment” in this case, the counselor is already considering to adjust, add, remove, increase, or decrease something in the treatment.

      Now, many clients feel that their treatment is not working and that they are not making progress, and when they tell their counselor/doctor/psychiatrist, the typical questions follow ” are you going to counseling? are you going to meetings? do you have a sponsor? are you still using?…These are questions about things that the client decides to do or not to do, the counselor has little control over those since they cannot force the client to do those things, they’re recommendations…the treatment might not be working because the client is not following it.

      Remember, “it works if you work it, so work it.”

      How have you been?

      • ninjapanda90 says:

        Yea that’s how I feel. There’s only so much a doctor or counselor can do, the rest is all up to the addict. Always during my appointments I feel so determined and hopeful to do better with the next few weeks. But, after a few days go by, I forget all about the resolutions I had made. My appointments are always so exciting and hopeful, “yes I’ll do this, yes I’ll do that,” addiction is silly, I’m over drugs etc..But when it actually comes time to decide between doing the same old thing or fighting it, it is so much harder to do than I had thought while I was talking to my doctor.
        I feel like I constantly disappoint him.
        I was just wondering if an addict would ever be kicked out of the program? If he/she continually fails to make any progress? Cause it’s easy to be willing to go to treatment and say you’re trying when you actually really aren’t.

      • What makes you think that you disappoint your doctor? Clients get discharged from the program, but the rules and policies vary from agency to agency. I only know about clients being discharged because of dirty UAs. I mean, they are given some chances, but not many, especially if it’s pretty obvious that the client is not willing to stop using. Do you the rules and policies from your treatment center?

        Also, clients can discharge themselves from treatment; they simply stop going. It is important to be at a place that is a good match for you. For example, if your goal is to decrease your using, you cannot be at a treatment center that expects you to be completely clean; if your goal is to stop using drugs altogether, then you need to find a program that helps you accomplish that.

        What is your goal Alice? Not the doctor’s, or the clinic’s, or your boyfriend’s, or even your parents’…the only goal that really matters is yours. Is it your goal to stop using altogether?

      • ninjapanda90 says:

        Oh and I”ve been okay. Not bad but not super good either. I have made some positive changes though, like going to the gym again and getting better grades at school. I just can’t seem to break my antisocial behavior and it is so hard to come up with a new favorite thing to do on the weekends. How have things been going for you?


      • I’m glad to hear that you are doing better. I’m doing well…I should say that I am doing better. Two weeks ago I got a very uncomfortable fall blues…I’m not sure if there is such a thing, I know about the winter blues…anyways, I don’t know why, I guess it was my thyroid gland (I have a hyperactive thyroid) what was making me a little depressed…I have these ups and downs, very similar to a bipolar disorder combined with drug withdrawal symptoms. But I pushed myself to keep working, keep doing what I like to do, and be patient until it went away. So, I can relate to a lot of what you, and others, go through dealing with some form of addiction…I deal with all the uncomfortable symptoms, except that I don’t need to use drugs to get them.

        Thanks for asking.

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