Foundations of Mental Health Counseling
Community Agency Simulation Exercise
Gladding & Newsome (2014) state that “ideally, understanding the differences and similarities among various fields will enable professionals to collaborate and complement each other’s work so the client’s needs are served effectively (Newsome & Gladding, 2014, p. 30). Based on this idea, in order to understand the full scope and impact of mental health counseling on clients, the multidisciplinary nature of the field must be explored and understood among professionals. This notion is congruent with ethical guidelines of practice (ACA, 2014), but also historically supported by research regarding collaborative treatment approaches (Vinokur-Kaplan, 1995). The Affordable Care Act of 2010 draws attention to the continued need for collaborative approaches to treatment in the field of behavioral health (Croft & Parish, 2012). Given these treatment, research, and policy implications, this exercise will provide the opportunity to design and plan client services for mental health care based on a collaborative and integrated model.
The Community Counseling Center
The Troy Community Counseling Center (TCCC) is a non-profit community based mental health treatment center that serves the needs of individuals and families, children and adults based on an interdisciplinary treatment team model. TCCC works with clients of all income levels but focuses treatment efforts on those individuals and families of lower socioeconomic status who may not have access to services through other means. TCCC provides services on a sliding scale and receives funding and resources through grants, donations, and other like initiatives. TCCC is staffed with a multidisciplinary team of mental health professionals, including counselors, marriage and family therapists, social workers, psychologists, psychiatrists, case managers, etc.
Step 1. Case Assignment and Review
In small groups acting as a “treatment team”, students will receive a case study for consideration. Cases will have an identified patient as designated in a biopsychosocial assessment along with relevant family data.
Step 2. Treatment Team Assignment
Based on the case review, groups will assign treatment team members specific professional roles (counselor, marriage and family therapist, social worker, psychologist, psychiatrist, case manager, etc.). The team should be multidisciplinary with a professional member to address the various needs of the client(s) in the case. Each group member is responsible for researching her/his professional designation and preparing a brief bio that outlines professional credentials, background, and specialty.
Step 3. Initial Treatment Plan Development
Treatment teams will develop an initial treatment plan to address the needs of the assigned case. Treatment plans should outline specific interventions that target specific needs as well as the professional assigned to that intervention. For example, if assessment for a learning disability is warranted based on the case data provided, that intervention would be assigned to the designated psychologist on the treatment team. Treatment plans should be specific and may require research in order to provide an appropriate level of detail.
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