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As a therapist, how would you handle taking over a case where a patient has worked with other therapists already?

It's hard to stay engaged with a new therapist because there may be some overlap, or they focus on something tangential to what the patient wants to work on.

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Speech-Language Pathologist

Answer transcribed from the Brightway Answers interview with speech-language pathologist Amber Kloess:

This happens quite a bit in my current position as a speech-language pathologist.  We have a lot of long-term survivors - two, three, ten years post brain injury, so they switch therapists a lot.  That can be frustrating but it can also be a positive thing - it's almost like a breath of fresh air with new treatment ideas, new areas that they might want to work on.

I do a thorough case review prior to the patient’s first appointment. I’ll review progress notes from the last speech pathologist, their recent neuropsychological reports, and feedback from other clinical team members.  When I meet the patient, I’ll summarize the case history as much as possible instead of having them repeat their case history again to me. I then ask them or the family member if there's anything specific that is missing.

Motivational interviewing, a person-centered approach to assessment, is also important to make the patient feel heard.  During treatment I give open-ended questions like “what is important to you?”, “what are your goals?”, “what do you want to improve on?”, and this can guide therapy goals and sessions.

Having my patient provide as much input into their therapy as possible is important - if they don't want to work on a certain goal that I have for them, I'm not going to work on that. If they don't want to get better in an area, then we'll find something else that is more meaningful to them. Motivation seems to play a very large part in how successful recovery is.