The saddest part of watching video’s like this for me is, that change is not happening fast enough. Accountability is not being enforced. Why? Because there are too many rules, regulations, laws etc., that stand in the way of true progress. We spend more time completing paperwork, then we do meeting with our Clients and actually listening to them. I’m not saying this is the only barrier; however, it does play its part. I will say that the rules, regulations and laws that govern funding of programs, does make a difference; however, more has to happen. There is a lack of hands on training. We can read, watch videos and say we know what we are talking about; however, do we really? Remember that time when you were sitting with your client, listening to their story and all of a sudden, you realized, you had no business being in that room. Maybe you did, maybe you didn’t… either way, it takes time to learn, it takes time to practice… just like it takes time to heal. We adapt to things every day… our truth lies within us and if you are fortunately enough to hear our story, “You should Listen”.
I work in a MAT program. Our facilities dosing operations are from 5:00 am to 11:00 am. Every day of the week, we have at least one or two individuals who are three to four minutes late arriving to receive their daily dose of medication. The nurses, “Follow the rules to the letter.” They will lock the door, at 11:00 am sharp and no one is permitted to enter the facility to dose. The reaction from our Patients varies from name calling, yelling and screaming, to throwing objects at the windows and making verbal threats. Rarely, do we have a Patient accept the fact that they were late and go back to their vehicle and drive away without getting upset. I’m using this as an example because many if not all of our Patients have experienced trauma in some way, shape or form. When they are late to dosing, and are not allowed into the building, and no one goes out to talk to them. The Patient is reacting to the circumstances. We do not know if these circumstances are “Re-Traumatizing” our Patients or not. He/she could feel as if they are being punished, ignored or set up for failure. They could be terrified of relapsing. They could be afraid of going through withdrawal. Some of our Patients will say and/or do whatever it takes, including, threatening others to get their dose. And what do we do…
When I sit with a Client, I do not take notes. I listen, validate and when appropriate, use open ended questions to learn more. I’ve been fortunate enough to have had amazing supervisors throughout my career… however, my best teacher, was my childhood therapist. I never liked going to his office because he never looked at me… he was too busy writing in his note pad. I feared he was writing stuff down to tell my parents. When he greeted me, it was with a smile, but I never felt like I could trust him. These key principals are practiced in the agency I work for. When I meet with my Clients, my intention is to provide a safe environment for them to share their story. If you want honesty you need to practice it. If you want to empower, you need to foster it.