Cutting-edge Behavioral Healthcare

As advancements continue to be made with evidence-based practice and practice-based evidence, the shape of cutting-edge behavioral health care has become increasingly clear. The following includes (but is not limited to) a list of important elements & features of effective 21st-century behavioral health service delivery, that will be featured in this blog series over the next few weeks.

  • Client-centered and stage-matched;
    • Discussions in this area will necessarily include accurate identification of client stage of change & treatment, and ensuring that practitioners are matching their intervention attempts to most effectively support clients’ targeted change. The skills, strategies, and philosophy of care represented by Motivational Interviewing/motivational enhancement hold an important place in this section of the change agent’s tool box, and the often neglected element of intentionally optimizing rapport with clients through prioritizing engagement will also be featured.
  • Comprehensively developmentally- and diversity-informed;
    • Research findings around insecure attachment and interrupted development have contributed significantly to our understanding and effective treatment of impaired functioning and disordered personality. Accurate identification of a wide range of diversity characteristics, including ethnic & other cultural health disparities, personality type, sensory-processing sensitivity, and rightly distinguishing between “hard-wired”/nature characteristics, and “software”/nurture characteristics is recognized as being increasingly important to inform effective treatment.
  • Trauma-informed with trauma-specific intervention options;
    • The extremely high co-prevalence of unresolved posttraumatic stress in the histories of individuals seeking behavioral health services elevates the need for trauma-informed care from an exception to an expectation. The Adverse Childhood Experiences study and other research has highlighted the negative impacts of childhood neglect and abuse of various types on adult health and functioning. The “maladaptive coping” or ineffective self-management of symptoms that leads to addiction and other destructive conditions is part of the story of many clients, who deserve effective treatment options.
  • Holistic and integrated with all domains of life and functioning.
    • Behavioral health disorders – including co-occurring chemical &/or behavioral addictions – are whole-person conditions that require whole-person solutions to sustainably resolve or manage well. All domains of human experience and functioning are therefore rightly considered to be coordinated elements of optimally helpful and effective service delivery. The physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, and relational are all important elements of human existence, and the behavioral outworking of health and balance can and should be evident in domains of functioning including social, vocational, residential, and financial.