David Earl Johnson, LICSW

2 minute read

Did you know that almost all insurance companies require your therapist and your doctor to negotiate a mutually agreed upon treatment plan with you? I’d bet there are a few of you out there who will say it’s not happening that way. Counseling can easily go astray without an active discussion of your goals. Your counselor may have some good ideas, but if you don’t agree, you will not make progress and may drop out of treatment pre-maturely. If you and your counselor haven’t had a good discussion of goals, you maybe expecting results for which your counselor isn’t helping and your counselor may be spending valuable treatment time on goals you don’t think are that important. Just like all relationships, good communication is essential. The same is true for your relationship with your doctor. If he doesn’t understand what you want from your medication, he can’t make the decisions you need to meet your goals. If you haven’t talked to him about your goals, be sure you jot down a few ideas before your next session with him and bring them up. Both you and your doctor will be more comfortable with the results of a discussion of goals. [Enlightenment Bulletin Board :: The Relationship with Your Doctor is Important][1]

…in a recently published study, commissioned by Janssen Pharmaceutica Products and co-authored by Dr. Diamond,.. psychiatrists and people with schizophrenia were asked to rank their treatment goals. The 199 consumers surveyed and the 291 doctors who participated have many of the same broad goals: improved overall happiness and mental health are at the top of the list of shared goals. Other similar rankings between patients and doctors included improved ability to express oneself to others, reduced depressive thoughts, improved family relationships, less agitation and irritability, fewer suspicious thoughts about others, less dependency on others, fewer sexual side effects and less frequent visits to the psychiatrist or counselor.

But the study also highlighted some differences between the goals of physicians and patients. Doctors valued minimizing the side effects of medication more highly than the patients did. And patients cared more about social activities than the doctors did.

The survey revealed that physicians have higher treatment goals than their patients. It suggests that patients may not have high hopes for the success of their treatment, and are not freely discussing their own unmet treatment goals with their doctors. Because of the survey’s findings, physicians are urged to discuss treatment goals and progress toward these goals with individual patients in order to increase their satisfaction.

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