What is a treatment plan focused on?

A treatment plan may describe a plan for treating a mental health condition, such as depression, anxiety, or a personality disorder. Treatment plans can also be applied to help people overcome addictions, relationship problems, or other emotional concerns. The objectives are the basis of the counseling treatment plan. It is on which all the following components rest.

The SMART framework for goal setting can keep you focused on writing the goals that are likely to be achieved. Treatment plans provide the structure patients need to change. Model and technical factors account for 15 percent of a change in therapy. Research shows that focus and structure are critical parts of positive therapy outcomes.

While people in similar circumstances with similar problems may have similar treatment plans, it is important to understand that each treatment plan is unique. Staff in a treatment program can emphasize the importance of discretion in this situation by informing the interpreter of strict laws regarding confidentiality in the treatment of substance use disorder. Treatment plans for people with coexisting disabilities should be flexible enough to take into account changes that may occur in a person's condition or new knowledge that may be gained during treatment. The three components of evaluation, diagnosis and treatment planning are intrinsically linked and provide a “roadmap” for counselors to deliver the evidence-based treatment that best suits the client, says Shannon Karl, an ACA member who is a professor and clinical field coordinator in the Department of Counseling from Nova Southeastern University in Florida.

Treatment goals are small, incremental steps that, together, will result in the achievement of a treatment goal. Given the prevalence of people with physical, cognitive and sensory disabilities who require treatment for substance use disorder, treatment providers should be better informed about the particular needs of this segment of the treatment population. Careful documentation allows all treatment providers to see treatment goals and the accommodations that have been made to achieve them. Treatment plans are not necessarily necessary to give or receive successful treatment, but they can be extremely helpful in facilitating a smooth and hassle-free treatment experience.

A treatment plan also helps counselors monitor progress and make adjustments to treatment when needed. This documentation of the most important components of treatment helps the therapist and client stay informed, provides an opportunity to discuss treatment as planned, and can act as a reminder and a motivating tool. To keep treatment going, it is important that case notes reflect the client's progress or lack of progress toward treatment goals. However, because counselors will often be included in treatment plans for clients with those types of diagnoses, they need to be competent enough to understand any DSM diagnosis and its treatment best practices, even if they don't diagnose the client on their own, says Karl.

As treatment progresses, she works with clients to change or change treatment goals to go beyond symptom control and focus on problems that are below their original concern. A treatment plan may be very formalized or it may consist of a less structured scheme for a treatment plan. The treatment plan should document all alterations to the usual treatment procedures being performed. If a customer believes they need an accommodation, the treatment provider will have to determine whether the request is legitimate or an attempt to manipulate the treatment schedule.

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