There isn’t a Human-Services program out there that doesn’t have “client-centred” on the brochure.
And yet, when you talk to practitioners and clients alike (which we do a lot of), you start to wonder what, exactly, “Client-Centred” means?
We hear stories about arbitrary and unchanging rules that seem to only be in place to benefit the staff or the program.
Stories about rigid programming that doesn’t flex (even a little bit) to the individualized needs of a client.
Stories about client’s “failing treatment” instead of treatment “failing clients”.
In a nutshell, we hear a lot of stories about expert-driven, program-centred practice. The opposite of client centred.
And there’s a good reason for that.
We don’t trust our clients. (And they probably don’t trust us, either.)
Client-Centred practice starts and ends with our ability to build an environment in which the people we serve can trust us with the most vulnerable and painful parts of themselves. Parts of themselves that they’ve become extremely adept at hiding from people like us.
The place for us to start is recognizing that trust is an outcome, not an expectation. We can’t lean on our credentials or hide behind our good intentions.
We need to understand that trust is a felt experience, and that our presence as a real, empathetic, non-judgmental human is foundational to that experience.
If you can do that, you’ll be well on your way to truly client-centred practice.
Interested in centering your clients in your Case Planning practice? Join us for an online mini-course starting Monday, March 18th.