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Substance Use Disorders: A Case Study

Decent Essays
Establishing rapport with a client during the intake process is the foundation of a strong therapeutic alliance that is crucial for ensuring client return and prevention of early termination of treatment (Marini, 2015). Yet, counselors often find it challenging to find this rapport with clients who present with substance-use disorder (SUD). They may be ambivalent for being compelled to seek treatment by family or a judge. Denial and unwillingness to give up substance use behaviors can make the client defensive and secretive. Even cultural, ethnic, and gender differences can foster client suspicion if the counselor is perceived as biased or insensitive. Co-occurring mental disorders may also create challenges; clients who have a high risk of…show more content…
A demonstration of warmth, genuineness, and empathy will help the new client become motivated to move toward positive change even when there is a gap in formal training. These qualities are projected with words, body language, and actions. For example, warmth can be shown to the new client with a friendly greeting accompanied by a sincere smile, the offering of a chair and a beverage, and a display of sincere interest while listening to the presenting problem (Marini, 2015). It has been said that employers decide within the first two minutes of a job interview whether to hire the candidate. A counselor would do well to regard the initial client meeting as a job interview of sorts and strive to make a good first impression. Skillful interviewing techniques will project empathy as the counselor allows the client to relate his or her past helping experiences and showcase strong qualities (McClam & Woodside, 2012). There should be a genuine effort to see the presenting problem from the client’s viewpoint, which is the essence of empathy. These methods set the client at ease and more inclined to share openly and honestly, which facilitates better recall while he or she relates past experiences. Most importantly, this approach emphasizes that the client has something to offer in the therapeutic…show more content…
The counselor should review disclosures and other policies with a relaxed manner and non-rushed pace to allow comprehension and time for questions (Marini, 2015). This prevents the client from feeling overwhelmed, powerless, or mistrustful. Sending the client home with a relevant homework assignment or light motivational readings can sustain the client’s sense of involvement and rapport between sessions (Kelly, 2006). Also, follow-up letters of appreciation and well-wishes convey a sense of caring when the client may otherwise lose motivation to change (Kelley,
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