Working with clients engaging in recovery can be filled with ups and downs, just as their personal experiences may be. When things get difficult, it can be easy for clients to give up or lack effort in their recovery. A lack of progress can be extremely frustrating for them. It can also be greatly frustrating for you to continue encouraging them when their sense of care has diminished.
There are many techniques you can utilize to help your client step up in their recovery. Using these strategies, you can stay focused on the best interest of your client and help them move past these obstacles.
Keep Yourself in Check
Remember: helping your client is in your best interest. It can be easy to get your frustrations or emotions involved with the process. Regulating your emotions through this time can help you avoid negatively impacting your client’s emotions. If you show a sense of frustration toward them, they may begin to isolate and avoid working with you to continue their recovery success.
It is important to ensure you are creating a safe environment for them to discuss their frustrations professionally. Allow yourself to be patient with your clients and encourage them to find the aspects of recovery that they may be lacking.
Another great way to help move forward past this halt in a client’s recovery is to help them understand the reason behind a lack of improvement. Review the current recovery plan your client is following and discuss each aspect in detail. Motivate the client to understand the aspects of the plan that do not seem to be effective. You may find that the recovery plan needs some major adjustments. The recovery plan may not be the root of the problem, though.
It is also important to assess the external factors that may be regressing your client’s progress. Discuss potential concerns they have in their life outside of treatment. You may discover that there are high levels of trauma that need to be overcome or negative social influences that are contributing to their substance use. Observing these external factors can help you address the situation at its root and understand the core problem. Implement strategies to help your client overcome whatever external factors may be causing them strain.
It is one thing to say you will remain calm during these conversations with your clients. However, it can be much more difficult to put into action. If you have consistently tried to address the problems and the client is still lacking to move forward, you may develop high levels of frustration towards them. Utilize your coping skills to remain calm in the best interest of yourself and your client.
Conceptualize Their Feelings
Try to put yourself in the shoes of your client. Understand their frustrations due to the lack of progress in recovery. Remember that we all have aspects of life in which we struggle to make progress. It can be easy to judge from the outside, but everyone is dealing with far more than outsiders may realize.
If they show signs that they do not care, try to understand what underlying emotions may be present. This can help you to lower your frustration level towards the client, as you can begin to empathize with their situation.
Identify Unshaped Feelings
Regardless of who we are and what training we have gained, we all have an underlying sense of judgment in one form or another. This judgment can lead to feelings of frustration. You may feel that the client is not putting forth the effort to make change happen in their recovery. Anticipating these emotions and judgments before they arise eternally can help ensure you are keeping your emotions in check during your meetings with clients.
If you are struggling to manage frustration at the moment, consider taking a few minutes to collect your thoughts. Think before you say anything to your client that may come across as aggressive. We all experience high levels of frustration that can lead us to say things impulsively. You must articulate what you say before stating it to your client in a state of frustration to ensure your point is accurately portrayed.
If you notice your client displaying signs of frustration, communicate that they are allowed to step away for a momentary break as well. Having this mutual discussion can help to build trust within the client relationship. It can also allow both of you to take the necessary space to calm your emotions before determining the next steps in the treatment process.
As frustrating as a lack of progression may be, it is essential to recognize the underlying reasons behind the lack of progression. Understanding these reasons can help you create an effective plan to push the client’s success forward and toward sobriety maintenance.
Patience is an important virtue to practice as a professional working with individuals in recovery from substance use disorder. You may reach a point with a client that evokes a high level of frustration within you due to the lack of progress shown in the client. This frustration is valid, but it is important to keep in check out of the best interest of the client. As you move forward, attempt to determine what factors may be contributing to your client’s lack of progress. Understanding these factors will help you implement a strategy to achieve sobriety success. To learn more about the importance of patience as a professional and how to maintain it, contact Dream Recovery at (949) 732-1960.