§3 ch5: Working with Contracted Treatment Providers
5.4 CTS Referral Issues
Family members may view professional guidance and therapy with apprehension or fear. The Children’s Service Worker should help the family perceive this type of intervention as a positive way to improve family relationships and resolve conflict. Putting therapy in a punitive light will only make the family members feel angry, embarrassed, and resentful about participating.
The family should clearly understand the reasons for the referral and the objectives to be accomplished. When possible, the objectives should be stated in behaviorally specific terms and be measurable. This same information must be clear to the therapist.
It is also important that the therapist understand that the intervention of the Division is to bring families to minimally acceptable community standards. While it is important to give the therapist time to help the family resolve some of the problems and conflicts, the therapist should understand that the provision of services is time-limited.
If all family members are not willing to participate in family/group therapy, treatment should begin with one member or part of the family. Treatment may help those who are participating to resolve some issues and gradually encourage the reluctant family member to participate. Often, families begin to complain when sensitive issues arise and begin to be addressed. It is vital that the Children’s Service Worker encourage the family to continue the therapy.
The Children’s Service Worker should not arbitrarily refer all clients to the same therapist (unless this is the only resource). Workers should determine which provider best meets the family members' needs. He/She may ask the family members how they learn best. For example, do they learn best by talking, through demonstrations, viewing films, reading, participating in groups, or individually. This can help determine the best referral source and can assist the referral agency in planning the treatment. Other factors to consider are the therapist’s empathy for the client(s), a comfortable mix of personalities, the therapist’s ability to help with this particular set of problems, and the therapist’s availability.
Professional treatment may not be the immediate solution or cure-all. It may be helpful only in clarifying client feelings and helping the family find better ways to cope with problems. This may be the most lasting benefit of this type of intervention.