Helping Clients Overcome Resistance to Psychotropic Medication: Strategy # 3

The third reason fostering client resistance to psychotropic medication is ambivalence. Here I address that issue, and how you can help.

compassion3. Ambivalence.

Practitioners at all levels of experience know that getting clients to overcome their resistance toward psychotropic medication is not necessarily easy. Many clients assess the odds associated with considering medication options for some time before making the commitment to following through with pharmacotherapy as part of the treatment process. A client’s decision therefore may be long and drawn out.

How you can help: Patience is the key here. Any attempt to rush the client into a premature decision is likely to backfire and could also compromise the therapeutic relationship. Of course, waiting for clients to decide does not mean a clinician cannot offer an opinion. On the contrary, if the clinician knows that evidence-based literature supports a pharmacological treatment of a particular condition, (for example, bipolar disorder) this information should be conveyed to the client. Again, offering reading material or reputable Web addresses can help ensure that clients have as much information as possible. Encourage them to ask questions. Straightforward answers help to demystify the decision making process. In this way, the client can make informed choices regarding the importance of medication for their particular disorder.

Joseph Wegmann, R.Ph., LCSW is a licensed clinical pharmacist and a clinical social worker with more than thirty years of experience in the field of psychopharmacology. His diverse professional background in psychopharmacology and counseling affords him a unique perspective on medication management issues. In addition to consulting with numerous psychiatric facilities, he has presented psychopharmacology seminars to thousands of clinicians in 46 states.

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