Skill Building in the Therapeutic Alliance and Collaborative Treatment and Documentation



Helping people change involves engaging patients and building a therapeutic alliance.  This workshop will review how people change and the importance of the alliance in treatment outcomes.  Using the structure of stages of change work and motivational interviewing, this workshop is designed to enhance alliance-building clinical techniques.

To empower people in a self-change process, the recovery and treatment plan truly becomes the written expression of the therapeutic alliance with the patient.  The treatment plan and ensuing progress notes should reflect an agreement on goals and strategies and methods with the participant.

Clinicians struggle with how to focus and target treatment; how to change old ways of documentation to reflect individualized treatment, and how to effectively engage the patient into a cooperative and accountable recovery plan.

This workshop will improve participants’ knowledge in providing focused, targeted, individualized treatment.  It will provide the opportunity to practice assessment and priority identification, and translate that into a workable, accountable recovery plan that makes sense to the patient.


Participants will

  1. Describe key concepts about how people change and the impact of the therapeutic alliance on treatment outcomes.
  2. Identify how to build an alliance in a short time frame and facilitate self-change.
  3. Review principles of individualized treatment planning and collaborative services.
  4. Apply ways to individualize problems, goals, strategies and progress notes that have patient “buy-in” and commitment.

Workshop Agenda

9:00 AM         A. How People Change

  • Findings from 40 years of psychotherapy research
  • Research on the Therapeutic Alliance – key principles
  • Treatment as an adjunct to self-change

B. Engaging People in Collaborative Self-Change

  • Stage of change
  • Developing the Treatment Contract

10:30 AM       Break

10:45 AM       C. Principles of Focused, Targeted Treatment Planning

  • Why treatment plans and why use them?
  • Common documentation issues for improvement

 D. How to Organize Assessment Data

  • Multidimensional assessment – ASAM Criteria dimensions
  • Moving from assessment to treatment plans

                        E. How to Target and Focus Treatment Priorities

  • Using the multidimensional assessment to identify priorities
  • Treatment planning and documentation skills
    • problem identification; measurable goals; progress notes

12 Noon           Lunch

1:00 PM         F. Making Treatment Plans a “Living” Document

  • Dealing with meaningless paperwork
  • Implications for Documentation forms and Client Records
  • Changes necessary to “re-tool” treatment planning and services

2:30 PM          Break

2:45 PM          G. Case Consultation and Systems Issues

  • Dealing with angry and resistant behavior if mandated
  • Using a flexible continuum of care to plan for community reintegration
  • Next steps

4:00 PM          Adjourn