“Sometimes we don’t fully understand what the client is going through until we take a step back, clean our mind, and look at the situation with new eyes. I like to think of this as if I have cleaned my windshield before driving. How do you accomplish this?”
I first wrote these words in my first year of my graduate program at Alfred University. Since then I have learned more about groups and group therapy; even led multiple groups myself. Currently, as a field therapist at Blackwater Outdoor Experiences I have led groups for individuals that are dealing with anxiety, depression, substance use, low self-esteem, and antisocial behaviors.
In these groups one of the key things we find is that most of the individuals coming to our program because their coping skills have not been effective. As a result, they have been kicked out of their homes, involved in the court system, or been given an ultimatum. In order to highlight their situations motivational interviewing and cognitive behavioral therapy are key in helping the participants start to gain the motivation to change and develop new coping skills.
David Flack, at the American Counseling Association Conference in March 2015 shared his 5 R’s of motivational interviewing: Relevance, Risks, Rewards, Roadblocks, and Repetition.
Relevance – Highlighting why change is important
Risks – Highlighting the risks of changing and not changing
Rewards – Highlighting the gains from changing
Roadblocks – Highlighting the obstacles to changing
Repetition – Reviewing these pieces of information frequently
As a therapist these 5 R’s have been helpful in working with these clients and making a key goal of treatment helping clients develop motivation to change. In order to help participants develop their motivation to change psychopharmacotherapy is discussed as a treatment team at Blackwater Outdoor Experiences as each case requires it.
Psychopharmacotherapy is used to help the participants create and maintain gains by allowing them to get the full benefits of individual and group therapy whether in the wilderness or in a therapist’s office. Typical Blackwater Outdoor Experiences participants have a past history with substances or their personality profile benefit from psychopharmacotherapy in helping them break rigid, circular thinking or maintenance from substances.