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Want a quick fix, or an effective fix for behavior health issues?

By Comments off By the Numbers: Want a quick fix, or an effective fix for behavior health issues?

“The customer is always right! Right?”

This expression works great for most organizations providing a service to a client/customer. But what should providers do when the customer is asking for something we know will cost more, take more time and perhaps be less effective?

Car mechanics deal with this tension all the time. The customer might want them to do something for cheap. When the mechanic recommends a more expensive option—which is needed to accomplish the best results—the customer assumes he is only interested in generating revenue.

I just went through this with my provider of HVAC services. There wasn’t much air coming out of the vents in our house and the temperature of the house varied from room to room. The technician showed me a very old and dirty fan coil. He explained that he could clean it, but it really should be replaced. He then outlined the time and expense involved in doing so. “Yikes!” I said. “Let’s just clean it.” Three weeks later, we had same problem. You get the idea.

What seems to be the problem?

Many of the families referred to FRrē come in with very definite ideas of what the problem is and what needs to be fixed. Sometimes their perception of the problem is skewed. Sometimes they are minimizing what is happening, and other times they’re catastrophizing a situation that is not as acute as it seems. This is the nature of the field we are in. Even more important, once we get involved with a family, we often recognize patterns that the family might not see as contributing to the problem they engaged us to resolve.

It’s easy to fall in to the existing system and attempt to help a family by doing the same things they have been doing, only better. In most of those cases, what is actually needed is for the family to do different things.

Faced with the concept of the customer/client is always right, we sometimes find ourselves feeling tension. Should we make recommendations involving a long game of healing that will result in a long-term and effective solution? Or should we succumb to what the customer/client wants in their desire for a quick fix? It’s a tough situation for us and for them. Sometimes, what the customer wants is less expensive, quicker—and sometimes less effective.

Quick fixes don’t usually work in behavioral health

It’s easy to say, “I’d rather get someone the help they need in a fashion that the problem doesn’t re-occur.” It’s easy to say, “For the most effective solution, the whole system needs to adjust.” This sometimes leads to an uncomfortable discussion with a client. We are passionate about what we do. When we do it well, the whole family benefits, including the unborn descendants, as generational chains are interrupted.

We have occasionally had staff meetings where, in discussing a family that clearly just wants a quick fix, we decide, “Hey, that’s all the family is interested in and we can deliver that.” We have also experienced a few times where we have had to tell a family, “Let us give you a few recommendations for another provider,” when the course they are insisting on, in our opinion, will cause more problems than it will solve.

If you are experiencing a problem with a relationship or mental health, substance use, communication, boundaries, codependency, enmeshment or other behavioral concerns in need of resolution, call for an initial consult. There is not a charge, and we can determine if it’s a good fit.