Practicing Patience With Challenging Clients

Practicing Patience With Challenging Clients

Clients diagnosed with substance use disorder (SUD) or mental health issues may find it difficult to engage in treatment. Some clients are more challenging than others and require additional support to ensure program compliance. Studies have shown that "[o]nce clients are engaged actively in treatment, retention becomes a priority." However, "Many obstacles may arise during treatment [. . .] Frequently, clients are unable or unwilling to adhere to program requirements." The staff at Driftwood Recovery makes sure all clients feel supported and valued during the treatment experience by practicing patience and empathy.

Identifying and Supporting Challenging Clients

Staff members have the vital job of identifying barriers to program compliance and creating practical solutions. Difficult clients may have more severe symptoms, co-occurring disorders, or other issues impacting their mental health and behaviors. Individuals recovering from chronic substance abuse may have underdeveloped social skills and reduced self-awareness. Some people need assistance understanding how their behaviors affect others. Clients rely on staff to educate and guide them throughout the treatment experience.

Challenging clients can have trouble managing emotions or coping during stressful moments. As a result, they may act in inappropriate or socially unacceptable ways. Client reactions may cause therapists and other mental health professionals to worry about their safety.

Some of the most common challenging situations staff may encounter include:

  • Clients with suicidal ideation, a history of suicide attempts, or active self-harming behaviors
  • Aggressive, violent, and unpredictable clients causing tension or conflict with peers
  • Clients with a history of sexual or physical assault acting inappropriately
  • Knowledge of ongoing domestic abuse, child abuse, or toxic family dynamics
  • An inability for clients to manage any level of emotional or physical stress
  • Client reluctance to engage in treatment

How clients feel about themselves, the care team, and their recovery impacts how they respond to treatment. People who have no support at home, difficulty coping with daily stress, and other complicating factors often require more one-on-one support from healthcare workers. According to The American Journal of Family Therapy, "[W]hen we are dealing with difficult situations, there are multiple layers of information we need to take into account during conceptualizing and creating our treatment plans such as the severity of the issues, access to resources, support systems of the families, gender and culture issues." Experts at Driftwood Recovery consider all factors impacting a client's health and safety to ensure the best possible outcomes.

Practicing Patience Shows Clients You Value Them

Healthcare workers must practice patience every day to provide their clients with a safe and nurturing environment. Practicing compassion and patience shows clients they have value and that their feelings matter. Clients who feel respected and understood are more likely to follow program guidelines and trust staff members.

Managing Challenging Clients

Healthcare workers manage challenging clients by doing the following:

  • Practicing patience and empathy
  • Diving deep into the client's history
  • Finding positive and creative solutions to problems
  • Providing emotional and practical support

People who cause disruptions during treatment have beliefs and motivations influencing their behaviors. Staff members who talk to clients and take the time to really get to know each person often develop a more positive client-clinician relationship. Getting to know the person underneath the disruptive behaviors takes patience and a willingness to be vulnerable and open. Experts in mental health have many therapeutic tools to help them connect with clients on a deeper level. The more clinicians understand about each client, the better equipped they are to manage any challenging or unexpected situations they may encounter with those individuals.

Practicing Patience at Driftwood Recovery

Patience is critical for client care and staff mental health. Individuals working in healthcare have an increased risk of developing depression, anxiety, and other stress-related mental health issues. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), "Health worker jobs in the U.S. involve demanding and sometimes dangerous duties, including exposure to [. . .] violence from patients and their families." However, "Health workers reported fewer mental health issues when they said they work in supportive environments." Driftwood Recovery ensures every staff member has a support system to help them manage their duties.

In many cases, challenging clients become more manageable as they get to know the care team and develop a foundation of trust. Driftwood Recovery speeds up that process with a low client-to-clinician ratio and daily routines involving the care team. Clinicians spend time each day utilizing their skills and various therapeutic techniques to help clients lower their emotional walls.

Practicing Patience Empowers Healthcare Workers and Clients

Treatment aims to provide people with the support and resources to improve their quality of life. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), "With appropriate treatment, people can manage their illness, overcome challenges, and lead productive lives." Driftwood Recovery uses psychotherapy, peer engagement, community activities, and other services to help clients achieve their recovery goals. Staff members patiently guide clients through developing healthier behaviors, routines, and lifestyles.

Healthcare workers often find client transformations uplifting. Most individuals working in healthcare have chosen the career because they want to help others build healthy and happy lives. Watching people transform from challenging clients to fulfilled alumni gives Driftwood Recovery staff a sense of fulfillment and empowers them to continue changing lives one client at a time.

Some clients have more severe symptoms and other factors impacting their ability to engage in treatment. Clients may have poor attitudes or act out in ways that disrupt treatment programs. Healthcare workers have the job of identifying why some individuals have trouble participating in treatment and developing creative solutions. Clients come from all backgrounds, and some may have experienced trauma impacting their ability to build a trusting relationship with the care team. Staff members at Driftwood Recovery use compassion and evidence-based methods to help clients overcome barriers affecting their recovery. Staff must use their skills and resources to guide clients through recognizing the need for treatment. To learn more about our treatment programs and staff, call (512) 759-8330.