Trust is a very important facet to develop in the relationships with your patients. As you increase the level of trust between one another, you improve the recovery potential of the patient as well as your ability to develop an effective plan for their success.

How to Establish Trust

Initially establishing a level of trust with your patients may be difficult with specific individuals. As many people in recovery have had a negative experience in prior relationships, they may be closed off and unwilling to receive help from you at first. Being patient is extremely important in the beginning stages of treatment to allow the patient to feel comfortable around you. Pushing them to open up too quickly can cause adverse reactions.

To begin establishing a level of trust, try to get to know your patient on a more personal level. Tell them about yourself and ask about their life. Taking an interest in their life outside of treatment and outside of their addiction can help them see that you care about their success as an individual, rather than only doing your job to help them recover.

Remind them that you are there for them if they need any assistance while adjusting to treatment. It is common for patients to feel alone or betrayed during the beginning phases of recovery. Ensuring they know that you are there to support them and answer any questions moving forward can help them feel secure in your presence.

Set Clear Boundaries

During one of the initial meetings with your patients, set out to establish a set of mutual boundaries. Setting personal boundaries with each other and establishing a healthy way to communicate new boundaries either of you wishes to implement can prevent many future issues. 

If your patient struggles to adjust to the way you phrase something after a few sessions, you can outline a healthy way for them to communicate that with you. This can help your patients feel comfortable bringing up potential concerns with you and making the necessary changes to allow each of you to feel comfortable.

When setting personal boundaries, it is important to outline the professional manner of your relationship. While you are there to support them and help them through their recovery process, the relationship is still professional. This means that the client should discuss issues with you in a professional manner, and vice versa. If you find that a client of yours is struggling to maintain a respectful relationship, have a plan for how you will address these actions with them.

Setting clear boundaries and expectations can help your patients know what to expect from your interactions moving forward. Allowing the opportunity for transparency can help them feel more confident in opening up about future issues and letting you help them.

Address Previous Struggles

Many individuals who begin treatment for addiction have visited other counselors or mental health professionals to receive help at an earlier stage of their addiction. If these previous professionals did not help them, they may be more inclined to push you away and not take your advice seriously. They may not understand that each professional has their method of practice, and their method may not resonate with each individual.

Discuss their prior experience with mental health professionals and ask them to further elaborate on what aspects did not work for them previously. Many people who have had a negative experience with counseling services adopt the attitude that all therapists are the same or believe that therapists don’t care about helping them. Addressing these concerns and explaining your willingness to help can help them overcome these assumptions.

Letting them know how you wish to implement strategies to help them have a better experience is a good starting point. Remind them that you are not going to give up on them. Patient concerns about your care often arise from feeling that they had been let down and given up on previously. Showing them that you are there to support them can help them lower their barriers, especially as you demonstrate your support over time.

The Importance of Trust

Developing a strong basis of trust is very important for the success of your patients. Some form of concern will inevitably arise during the process of recovery. If you have a strong level of trust, your patient will feel comfortable filling you in on these obstacles and the concerns that arise.

Without trust, the aspects of recovery that are not working will likely be hidden. This may not immediately be an issue; however, it will likely eventually hinder or impede the recovery process. Addressing concerns as they arise can help you and your patient work through them when necessary and move on to further obstacles, leading your patients to success.

Trust is essential in establishing a beneficial relationship between you and your patient during their recovery journey. Developing a strong level of trust can be challenging for many patients; however, overcoming this obstacle can greatly improve their experience in recovery. Taking the time to personally get to know each patient you are working with and addressing any concerns they have professionally can encourage them to open up to you in the future. Establishing mutual boundaries moving forward can keep your relationship professional and healthy for you and your patient. Developing a level of trust may take a great deal of patience when working with some individuals. It is important to remind them you are there for support and to not give up on them. Trust is important to develop to maintain honesty throughout the recovery process. To learn more, contact Dream Recovery at (949) 732-1960.

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