Skip to main content

Who “Owns” the client?


By Stephen C. Schultz


(Editors Note: This is the written version of remarks and training I did as part of a workshop that included our residential, clinical and academic leadership. I work with a group of therapeutic residential programs. I thought it would be nice to share some of these thoughts with those who happen to view my blog. I hope this is helpful in some way.)


There is a trend in business where the latest language around customer satisfaction and word of mouth referrals is the term “Advocacy”. This is where a customer actually advocates for the organization they are doing business with.

I have chosen a career that specializes in teen residential treatment. Our clients include the student, their family, their therapists, their school educators and counselors and often many others just to name a few. The majority of our clients demonstrate this principle of “Advocacy” in one way or another.



We see this principle in different forms at all of our treatment programs. It comes in the form parents at Redcliff Ascent sending letters, money and friends to the program. At Oxbow Academy, parents come back to family seminars to support others and advocate for the program. Discovery Ranch for Girls had Rachel Patten come visit the girls because of a parent's influence. All of our programs have “parent lists”. These are lists of parents who volunteer to have new parents speak with them prior to admission. This is standard practice. It happens at all of our programs on a regular basis. Is this advocacy happenstance? Not a chance!

It all starts with a strong alignment between what we say we do as a treatment program and the delivery of that promise. The reality is that kids and families do make progress and heal within our individual programs.

Each of our individual programs is a part of an organization that offers a continuum of care. There is the ability for each family to experience both clinical and financial benefits from this arrangement. As their son or daughter makes progress at one program, there is the potential for them to transition to a level of care that matches their progress. So, doesn’t it make sense that all of our programs communicate, collaborate and support one another in these clinically appropriate transitions that are in the best interest of the family and their teen?



Below is a quote from an executive at a company that manufactures engines. I found the principle behind her statement applicable in our “industry” as well as hers.

"When we have the mindset that everyone 'owns' the customer and stop being territorial, the customer can benefit. In the end, the customer is surrounded by multiple departments and they feel that support and connection, making them more willing to be advocates."
--Heather Foeh, Director of Customer Advocacy at Lattice Engines

As we think about the process of a student transitioning from one level of care to another, it is not as easy to accomplish as it is to talk about. There are therapeutic alliances developed with the teen and the family at the current placement. Some parents worry that a “change” will disrupt any progress their son or daughter has made or create a therapeutic setback. Below are some questions that it would be wise to consider whether we are parents or treatment providers.

  1. Are the strength based transitional skills learned and practiced with the students, used in their clinical or scholastic “transition”?     
  2. How do we measure or determine if those skills have been learned?
  3. How do we know when a student is clinically ready for a transition to a different level of care?
  4. Is there a specific clinical criterion to help us decide? If so...what is it?
  5. Who decides when a student has met the criteria?
  6. What is the process for deciding where a student transitions to next?
  7. What can a receiving facility do to help the process be seamless?
  8. What can a sending facility do to help the process be seamless?
  9. How do we prepare families for an inevitable “change” in level of care?


Here is one more quote that is important for us to always remember as we are working with families. It’s from Simon Sinek, a Ted Talk presenter:

“A team is not a group of people who work together. A team is a group of people who trust each other.”

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Lessons I learned from a childhood experience with bullying

By Stephen C. Schultz The dew around the window was starting to bead up. In a classic case of chaos theory, the little beads of water gave way to gravity and randomly bounced and bumped their way to the window sill like a steal marble in a pinball game. There was a small pool of water in the cracked and peeling beige paint. I sat facing the window, staring at the small engraved stone nestled in the flower beds. There weren’t many flowers at this time of year. Mostly rhododendrons and Oregon grapes reaching skyward from the damp bark mulch that covered the planter area.   The month of January in Eugene Oregon was filled with days and days of mist and fog.   In fact, pretty much from October through June was filled with fog, rain, mist, showers, freezing rain and occasionally snow. The local weathermen didn’t bother with predictions about the chance of precipitation; they took pride in developing new adjectives to describe the type of precipitation and how much you can expect.

Perfectly Wicked - A new take on an old fairy tale!

Guest Blogger Amanda Schultz Age 15 There she was…hair as black as night, lips as red as blood, skin as white as snow. Standing by the window, washing dishes, whistling while she worked. Snow White. I shudder with disgust every time I hear her name. What kind of a name is that anyway? “Snow White”. Gahhh, it’s a name that practically begs to be made fun of. Yet, there she goes, frolicking around like she owns the Enchanted Forest. No. I’m the Queen. I’m in charge. My magic mirror was mistaken. I’m the Fairest of them all, not that sorry excuse for a princess. One bite from my poison apple and that air-head will be so ugly not even her mother could love her. And I will be the Fairest once again! I suppose that I should rewind a little bit. It wasn’t always a competition between Snow White and me. In fact, back in the day, we had a nice little system going on. I would rule the kingdom and practice my magic, while Snow did the dishes and tended the garden. She stayed out of my w

"Sugar and Spice" - A Child's Kindness

By Stephen C. Schultz I recall a childhood rhyme that went something like this; “…sugar and spice and everything nice…that’s what little girls are made of!” As the father of three daughters and one son, there is no doubt about the truthfulness of that saying. I was in San Diego a couple of weeks ago with my family. We were down at Seaport Village right on the bay having lunch. It was a beautiful day, sun shining, light breeze and we were eating on an outside deck. We were engaged in a conversation about what we wanted to do later that day when I noticed my youngest daughter, a fifth grader, was focused on something else. So, I turned to see what she was gazing at. She was following the movements of a transient man who had walked up onto the deck and was systematically searching the garbage cans for food. He was looking in each receptacle and reaching in to move the contents around. At one can, his hand came out with a partially eaten sandwich of some kind. He reached back