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Original story location:
Reintegration & Recovery - Therapeutic Alliances

Team Solutions

What is a Treatment Team?

The term "treatment team" refers to all the people who work with you to help you recover. They are called a team because they are all working with you to help you reach certain goals, solve problems, and work toward recovery. You are a very important member of your treatment team. Your treatment team is made up of people who are trained in different professional areas. They have different kinds of education, knowledge, and experience, and they each use their special skills to help you develop and reach your goals.

The goals that you and your treatment team work toward will depend on many things, including:

  • How far along you are in the recovery process
  • What your personal goals are
  • The types of services you need (and are receiving)

Your treatment setting:

  • Hospital
  • Residential program
  • Community mental health center
  • Outpatient mental health treatment program

Examples of goals that you and your treatment team might agree to work toward include:

  • Get symptoms under control
  • Learn about your illness and how to recover
  • Learn how to avoid having a relapse and having to go to the hospital
  • Learn the skills you need to live on your own
  • Find a better place to live
  • Return to school
  • Develop job skills and get a job
  • Improve social skillsReduce side effects from your medicine
  • Stop drinking alcohol or using street drugs

Who Are the Treatment Team Members and What Are Their Roles?

Each treatment team is different. Some treatment teams have only a few members; others have many. Who is on your treatment team depends on a number of factors, including:

  • Where you live
  • What services you need
  • What goals you're working toward
  • The treatment setting you're in
  • The healthcare system in your area

You probably already know some of the people on your treatment team and what they do. They are knowledgeable people who are interested in you and want to help. It's a good idea to find out which person to speak with about specific problems, questions, needs, and goals. Getting to know each person's special skills and talents, and what they can do for you can help you reach your individual treatment goals.

Doctor or Psychiatrist

Your doctor can:

  • Discuss your diagnosis and symptoms with you
    Work with you to find the medicines that work best for you
  • Tell you how the medicines are likely to help you
    Prescribe your medicine and explain when you should take it
  • Talk with you about side effects your medicine could cause
  • Talk with you about other treatments you may need
  • Explain what to expect for the future, regarding the course of your illness


Your nurse can:

  • Help you develop a diet and exercise plan
  • Answer your questions about your symptoms and treatment, your medicines, possible
    side effects, and other health problems
  • Give your medication by injection, if needed


Your therapist may be trained as a psychiatrist, psychologist, social worker, counselor, or nurse. All these professionals are trained to do therapy.

Your therapist can:

  • Listen to and help you explore your concerns, hopes, feelings, goals, and problems Provide support
  • Work with you to take certain tests that will provide information about your problems Help you choose goals and work toward achieving them
  • Talk with you about your diagnosis, symptoms, how to recover, and how to avoid relapse

Case Manager

Your case manager may be trained as a social worker, counselor, or nurse. He or she might be the person you call when you have a question or problem.

Your case manager can:

  • Help coordinate your overall treatment
  • Help you find and get the services you need
  • Support you in emergency situations
  • Represent you in certain situations
  • Help you get your basic needs met (food, housing, financial assistance, transportation, etc.)


Your pharmacist fills your prescriptions and does other things, such as:

  • Explain how to take your medicine correctly
  • Tell you what side effects may occur and how to handle them
  • Tell you if a nonprescription medicine will cause problems for you
  • Make sure that the medicines prescribed by different doctors won't cause a bad reaction when taken with each other

Recreation, Activity, and Occupational Therapist

Recreation, activity, and occupational therapists can help you:

  • Create a balanced lifestyle for yourself
  • Explore your abilities and interests
  • Develop interests, hobbies, and leisure activities
  • Learn stress management and relaxation skills
  • Explore issues and concerns in creative ways
  • Enhance your self-esteem and self-image
  • Improve your coordination

Residential Staff

If you live in some type of group home, the residential staff can work with you at home to help you:

  • Organize your daily schedule
  • Learn independent living skills, such as how to cook, do laundry, etc.
  • Arrange appointments and help you get to your appointments
  • Manage your money
  • Be a contributing member of the household
  • Get along well with others

Rehabilitation Staff

If you're involved in a rehabilitation program, the rehabilitation staff can work with you to:

  • Identify your skills and strengths
  • Choose rehabilitation goals and work toward them
  • Learn the skills necessary to be successful in the things you do

Education Specialist

If you'd like to return to school, an education specialist can help you:

  • Evaluate your academic abilities and needs
  • Choose a program, college, or university
  • Obtain financial aid
  • Decide what kinds of classes would interest you
  • Enroll in the classes you choose

Job Coach or Vocational Rehabilitation Staff

If you're interested in returning to work, your job coach or vocational rehabilitation staff can help you:

  • Evaluate your work skills and abilities
  • Identify the kinds of work that match your interests, skills, and abilities
  • Develop and improve your work skills and abilities
  • Enroll in a trade school or technical school
  • Learn how to apply for jobs and do well in job interviews

Your Family and Friends

Your friends and members of your family can also be very helpful to you as members of your treatment team. They can:

  • Provide information about your personal and treatment history
  • Help you identify problems and set reasonable goals
    Represent you in certain situations
  • Learn about your illness and how to support your recovery
  • Help you in emergency situations


Although all the other members of your treatment team make important contributions to your recovery process, you are the most important team member. You can help your team do a better job of helping you by working with them. Some of the things you can do to help your treatment team be more effective are:

Discuss your needs, ideas, problems, concerns, and goals with your treatment team Provide complete and accurate information about your personal and treatment history Do all you can to reach the goals you and your treatment team have agreed on Learn all you can about your illness, how to recover, and how to avoid relapse Do all you can to work toward and maintain recovery

Meeting With Your Treatment Team and Working Together to Achieve Goals

There may be times when it's important for you to meet with members of your treatment team every day. At other times, you may need less intensive treatment, rehabilitation, and support from them. The amount of contact you have with members of your treatment team depends on many things:

Your treatment setting - hospital, respite care, residential program, community mental health center
The program you're involved in - day treatment, outpatient, case management, assertive community treatment, rehabilitation

The types of services you need - crisis stabilization, symptom remission, skill building Your goals - to get out of the hospital, get symptoms under control, develop independent living skills, find a job, return to school, find a better place to live Where you are in the recovery process - in crisis, relapsing, getting symptoms under control, developing the skills you need to live, learn, and work effectively Some treatment teams meet as a group for "Treatment Team Meetings' - others don't. Even if your treatment team does meet as a group, some members may not be present. You might want to ask someone on your treatment team if they have meetings, and if you can attend them. By attending your own treatment team meetings, you'll be able to let your team members know your wants and needs, and be able to participate in making decisions about your treatment. Since family members may be able to offer additional support, you may want to ask if a family member can attend the meetings with you.


Diagnosis and Medication

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Team Solutions

Professional Issues

A Standard of Care

Finding A Community Center

Achieving Total Wellness in Patients With Schizophrenia

Preparing for your Appointment

Team Solutions™

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