Unfortunately, there are a number of people who are addicted to illegal substances who only attend rehab and counseling because it is court-ordered, rather than choosing to do so on their own. This is not to say that when someone is ordered to go to counseling, rather than choosing it for themselves, that it will not be effective. However, with those cases, many addiction counselors are faced with the task of not only battling the addiction but the addict's opposition to treatment. The interviewer wants to know that you are able to address a situation like this professionally.
"Being understanding is key to working with any client. With someone fighting addiction, it is especially important. When someone with a substance abuse addiction comes for treatment, it is not always because they want to. Whether it is court-ordered or the family gives an ultimatum, many of them come in unwilling. However, there are times that, even if they come to us with some resistance, with support and encouragement, they begin to see some hope of what life can be like if they are drug free. Knowing this information, I always try to be sympathetic to their fears, but also offer them a look at what they can accomplish if they overcome their addictions. Confrontation never works; so, if someone tells me they are not going to stop using, I tell them it is their right, but while they are with me, we still have to address what could result with continued use and the possibility of what life could be like without drugs."
"Despite my personal feelings, it is the client's right to do what he wants when he has finished treatment. However, while the client is in my care, I will attempt to address as many things as I can with regard to his feelings of needing to use drugs rather than live independent of them. Many times, people with addictions to drugs get to a point that their body needs the drug so much that they can't seem to imagine life without it. I will spend what time I am allowed with the client offering alternatives to drug use and encouraging him to use resources available with the hope that, although he may initially be there because the court ordered him, perhaps he will begin to see the importance of living a drug free life and opt to continue with rehabilitation efforts."
"I would start by asking questions in an effort to help them gain insight into the importance of getting and staying clean, inform them that I can't stop them if that's what they want to do, but that we're here when they decide they're ready to take the rehabilitation serious. I'd also explain the future consequences of continued use including declining health, estrangement from family and friends, homelessness, legal problems and possibly death."
Great answer! Your answer shows you know how to communicate with a client who is only seeing you because of a court order. When responding to your interviewer's question, try to use their words at the beginning of your response like I did in your revised response.
"If I were working with someone who was only there because it was court-ordered, I would start by asking questions to help them gain insight into the importance of getting and staying clean. I would also inform them that I can't stop them if that's what they want to do and that we're here when they decide they're ready to take the rehabilitation seriously. I'd also explain the potential future consequences of continued use, including declining health, estrangement from family and friends, homelessness, legal problems, and death."
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