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Counseling Specializations & Multidisciplinary Teams

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The main concept of this study is to effectively display Multidisciplinary Teams and the role they have on the field of Mental Health. MDTs have been proven to be an effective format for collaboration of Mental Health Clinicians to exhibit the core concepts of wellness, resilience, and prevention for the overall health of the patient. Evidence has been shown to prove that when MDTs are being practiced in the field of study, Mental Health Clinicians exhibit enthusiasm of the skills and ideas being learned. In addition, MDTs deliver clinicians a significant amount of chances to collaborate with different clinicians to learn new skill sets and therapeutic approaches to provide exceptional and complete care for the patients. Even though MDTs have had a positive impact in the field of Mental Health, negative consequences still persist. To combat these negative issues, an evolving process on an emphasis to develop critical thinking skills is being encouraged in moving forward with Multidisciplinary Teams (McAllister, Morrissey, McAuliffe, Davidson, McConnell, & Reddy, 2011).

The field of Mental Health has been an evolving process ever since its infancy. In the early stages of Mental Health, individuals who were deemed appropriate for mental health counseling were being labeled as “ill” and in need of serious and immediate treatment. While on the other hand, individuals who were not deemed appropriate for Mental Health were being considered leading a healthy and normal life (Smith & Robinson, 2011). The field of Mental Health can be traced back all the way to Paris, France. The founding father, Philippe Pinel had a firm foundation to humanize individuals in mental institutes by trying to get them to display a sense of being normal. During the late 1800’s, a traditionalist approach started to become increasingly popular where mental clients were being housed instead of focusing on the overall wellness and care of the patient. A little later on in the early 1900’s, a focus more on informing and educating the public were getting a lot of attention and because of this the organization of NAMH had been birthed (Smith & Robinson, 2011).

Mental Health clinicians have seen a rise in patients who have been abusing drugs and alcohol when not on their medications at an alarming rate. Because of this, awareness in drug and alcohol addictions have taken center stage. It is reported that an average of 50 million people in the United States have an addiction problem, which can stem from sexual, drug, alcohol, gambling etc. However, number is somewhat skewed and has been expected to greatly exceed 50 million. Mental Health clinicians in particular are seeking a certificate in addictions counseling for this sole reason (Page & Bailey, 1995). Collaborating with addiction counselors in recent years has had a positive impact on the overall health and well-being of patients in treatment. Understanding all the aspects of addictions can benefit Mental Health clinicians effectively in meeting the needs of the patients. In 1995, the credentials of the certificate of addictions grew when the NBCC (National Board of Certified Counselors) created an addiction certification specialty for Mental Health Clinicians.

In the specific case of Paul, the combination of drinking and feeling anxious after returning from deployment has a dual consequence. First, he is exhibiting a pattern of addiction by using the act of drinking to cope and because of feeling anxious, he is allowing that to dictate what is going on in his life with his wife and in work. Both an Addictions Counselor and Mental Health clinician can play a unique role in helping Paul with his issues. First, the Addictions Counselor will work with Paul to overcome his addiction to drinking which is being a detriment to his overall health and relationship with his wife and co-workers at his job.

Knowing tendencies of individuals that have an addiction, counselors can exhibit a sense of respect and understanding while not being judgmental to ease Paul in having trust and confidence (Miller, 2010). On the other side, the Mental Health Clinician will work with Paul to overcome being anxious after coming back home from being deployed, which is affecting his mental state with leading a normal and healthy life. Mental Health clinicians can exhibit sensitivity and empathy to show Paul they care about his well-being. With sensitivity, it opens up a dialogue with Paul at the initial stages of the counseling process where it limits misunderstanding and negative impacts of the progression of counseling.

If I was a Mental Health clinician working with Paul to overcome his anxiety issues, I would also make sure to utilize a multidisciplinary team including an addictions counselor since Paul has been exhibiting signs of a drinking addiction. I would collaborate with the addictions counselor to come up with an effective treatment plan for Paul. To ensure working in a collaborative environment, I would encourage Paul to have a session with me immediately after he has his session with the addictions counselor and vice versa. This will allow both me and the addictions counselor to meet after the sessions to review everything and to share ideas with one another to see what is working and not working with Paul and to implement the next steps in the treatment process. Both the addictions counselor and I should be able to evaluate treatment outcomes and set treatment goals to ensure a full and effective prognosis for Paul. In terms of Paul’s addiction issue, I would suggest to the addictions counselor to complement Paul to an appropriate treatment rather than a broad generalized one such as: 12 step program or practicing abstinence.

I would also encourage the addictions counselor to utilize a managed care type of approach. This approach has been shown to have a significant impact on substance abuse treatment programs in terms of increased length of outpatient treatment and an emphasis on individual therapy instead of purely just medication. In terms of dealing with Paul’s anxiety, I would try to utilize a group counseling type of approach where I will work with Paul and other patients who are dealing with anxiety issues. This will allow Paul to have a support group of individuals going through similar issues and letting him to be comfortable in a nonjudgmental environment.


McAllister M., Morrissey S., McAuliffe D., Davidson G., McConnell H., & Reddy P., ( 2011).Teaching ideas for generating critical and constructive insights into well-functioning multidisciplinary mental health teams. The Journal of Mental Health Training, Education and Practice (Vol. 6, No. 3, pp. 117-127) Miller, G. (2010). Learning The Language of Addiction Counseling. Hoboken, New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons. Page, C.R., & Bailey B.J (1995). Addictions Counselor Certification: An Emerging Counseling Specialty. Journal of Counseling & Development (Vol. 74, Nov/Dec.) Smith H.B., & Robinson C.P. (1995). Mental Health Counseling: Past, Present, and Future. Journal of
Counseling & Development (Vol. 74, Nov./ Dec.)

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