Accountability and Mental Health

Several years ago I had a patient tell me they had a former counselor who didn't hold them accountable. They contacted me for their therapy because they knew I would hold them accountable for the goals we set together in treatment. 

This got me thinking about the role of accountability and responsibility in a person's mental health. A patient could have years of counseling and medication services, yet if there is no accountability on the patient’s part then what good would they do? 

My goals are to help the patient become accountable and responsible. Without these traits, then how could a person succeed in work or school? If an employer asks for the employee to be there at 8 am will it matter if the employee shows up at 8:15?

Most employers would not stand for repeated infractions. What about school? Just because the teacher requires a student to show up at 9 am for a test, does it really matter if a student is 15 minutes late?

These are ridiculous questions, right? The American culture does not tolerate being late or not showing up. Yet, surprisingly, many people have difficulty with these concepts. 

So, when I check your homework assignment that I gave you, this is to help you progress. You are helping yourself when you do the work. And when I require a 48-hour notice on cancellations, when I require a 3-day notice with refill requests, or if I require payment at the time of service and I hold you accountable, think of it as a therapeutic technique. I am honoring my training and skill by asking that you follow through payment and scheduling procedures, and when you do, I do everything I can to help you get back on your feet.

You will thank me for it in the end.

Author
Satu H. Woodland, PMHCNS-BC, APRN Satu H. Woodland, PMHCNS-BC, APRN Satu Woodland is owner and clinician of Hope Mental Health, an integrative mental health practice located at Bown Crossing in Boise, Idaho. She sees children, adolescents, and adults.  Ms. Woodland with her background in nursing, prefers a holistic and integrative approach to mental health care that addresses the mind and body together. While Ms. Woodland provides medication management services in all her patients, she believes in long-lasting solutions that include a number of psychotherapies, namely cognitive behavioral therapy, exposure and response prevention therapy, attention to lifestyle, evidenced based alternative psychiatric care and spirituality. If you’d like to gain control over your mental health issues, call Hope Mental Health at 208-918-0958, or use the online scheduling tool to set up an initial consultation.

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