I had a patient that I worked with a few years back from California (I am in Oregon now) call me and request my long-distance counseling services. “I’ve been seeing a counselor here for awhile and while I have learned a lot since working with her, she doesn’t hold me accountable.”
That got me to thinking about the role of accountability and responsibility in mental health. A person could have years of counseling and medication services, yet if there is no accountability on the patient’s part then what good would they do?
My goals are to help the patient become accountable and responsible. Without these traits, then how could a person succeed in work or school? If an employer asks for the employee to be there at 8 am will it matter if the employee shows up at 8:15? Most employers would not stand for repeated infractions. What about school? Just because the teacher requires a student to show up at 9 am for a test, does it really matter if a student is 15 minutes late? Ridiculous question, right? The American culture does not tolerate being late or not showing up. Yet, surprisingly, many people have difficulty with these concepts.
So, when I check your homework assignment that I gave you, when I require a 48-hour notice on cancellations, when I require a 3-day notice with refill requests, or if I require payment at the time of service and I hold you accountable, think of it as a therapeutic technique. You will thank me for it in the end.