Client Treatment Matching

Selection of Treatment for Recovery Success

Those who wish to escape addiction have a number of possible options. It is now generally accepted that there is no one addiction solution that will work for everyone. This is due to the fact that people have different personality types and individual characteristics, as well as unique personal histories. It is also acknowledged that the severity of addiction will vary among addicts. It is therefore suggested that finding the recovery option that most suits the individual will greatly increase the chances of success. Client treatment matching involves matching the client to the solution that best suits their situation and personal characteristics.

The Need for Client Treatment Matching

In the past it was usual to assign addicts to treatment programs without any real investigation into their exact needs. Decisions were made based on the reputation of the treatment option, and the willingness of the individual to go along with the suggestion. This led to a situation where people entered programs that may not have been suitable for them. This may have meant that some individuals were less successful in recovery as a result of treatment that may not work as well for them as for others.

Importance of Client Treatment Matching

There is no guarantee that any addict who relapses will ever make another attempt at recovery. It is therefore crucial that the individual is offered the best possible resources in order for them to be better able escape addiction. A one size fits all approach will mean that the treatment offered may only be a good fit for some clients. It is also less effective to haphazardly assign individuals to different addiction solutions. The best way to handle things would seem to be to assign clients to a treatment based on their exact needs.

Client treatment matching is routinely used for other types of medical and mental health conditions. Those individuals who develop cancer will not only be offered one treatment option every time. Instead their personal requirements will be considered so that the best possible solution is found. It seems reasonable then that the same approach should be taken when dealing with addiction.

Client Treatment Matching Protocol

A client treatment matching protocol offers a framework for selecting the most appropriate solution for those hoping to escape addition. It involves using questionnaires and other measurement tools to determine the characteristics of the individual. The factors considered as part of the protocol can include such things as psychological status, level of motivation, and their substance abuse profile. Different protocols will rely on different measurement tools. The professional who is making the assessment will be able to use the information when assigning clients to treatment.

Another tool that may be used to assign clients to the most appropriate addiction solution is five-factor model of personality. This uses the top five personality traits which are:

* Conscientiousness is the amount of self-discipline the individual can exert.
* Openness refers to the willingness to try new things.
* Neuroticism is the strength at which the individual experiences emotions.
* Agreeableness is the level at which a person is compassionate and willing to cooperate with others.
* Extroversion refers to how outgoing and sociable the individual tends to be.

It is hoped that by using a tool like the five-factor model of personality that better choices will be made when offering solutions to addiction. For instance, an individual who does not score high on agreeableness and extroversion might not be a good candidate for a 12 step group.

The Effectiveness of Client Treatment Matching

One study by the University of Kent failed to find any evidence for the effectiveness of client matching. Another study called Project Match attempted large-scale research into the types of treatment options. The goal was to find what the participants in the study responded best to based on personality type, severity of alcohol problem, and a host of other factors.

Overall, there were weak conclusions in the matching protocol, which indicated that for this study three primary types of rehabilitation treatment were relatively equally effective. There were particular findings regarding some personality types. For example, for those clients with higher levels of anger, motivational enhancement appeared to be more effective. However, client matching is not seen as a magic bullet in the therapist’s arsenal against alcohol and drug addiction.

There is support for the use of client treatment matching. One study found that those clients who were matched to a program based on their level of motivation tended to perform better. DeLeon et al found that it was important to match clients based on the severity of their problem. There is a lot of support for client matching within the addiction community. Further studies will be required to more fully understand its effectiveness.

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