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Treating the person: The healing power of the relationship

17.08.2017 - Mental health, Therapies

Before coming to work in the Kusnacht Practice I spent many years working in different recovery environments. For any number of reasons one of the things that linked all of the various clinical settings was the fixed nature of the programs they delivered. The person had to fit into the program. There was no capacity for diversity or individuality. The person does not get treated. The presenting condition gets treated.

Where does this leave the person who does not fit the system? Usually it leaves them feeling isolated, resistant, or left behind. Maybe some of the very issues that have caused them problems to begin with get triggered. Their needs are unmet, unacknowledged, sometimes even dismissed. What should be the path to recovery can end up becoming another trauma to add to the collection.

At the Kusnacht Practice we have the opportunity to do things a little differently. We are able to create a program tailored to the individual. We have the space to allow for creative therapeutic planning. The program takes shape around the person. This also gives the clinicians space for innovation and originality. And more importantly the opportunity for growth and change opens up. The freedom of the program becomes a fertile ground for what Carl Rogers refers to as the Core Conditions: acceptance, unconditional positive regard and empathy. These can be seen in our ability to develop authentic and honest relationships with our clients.

Often we see clients who do not believe in their own capacity to change. Change feels like an uncomfortable proposition. Letting go of the familiar, no matter how painful it can be, feels safe. We will walk alongside the clent on every step on the pathway to their growth. Our experience has shown us that clients who are able to stick with the process, and accept the love on offer, have a huge capacity to make the seemingly impossible not only possible, but achievable.

My own reflection on this process of change, that I have witnessed many times over, is that no matter what pioneering approaches that we use, the true core component for growth is the depth of the relationships the staff form with our clients. These relationships grow across the whole team from top to bottom. Every staff member plays their part. Every staff member has the chance to be part of the process of change. Every individual, from the maid to the Medical Director becomes an agent of growth, a provider of tenderness.

Author: Dean Gustar - Head of Clinical Operations, The Kusnacht Practice