Why You Won’t Find Psychologists or Psychiatrists On Our Current Team…

Some of you may be surprised that in improving team dynamics and cross-cultural communication within the context of patient care and medical professional well-being, we don’t have any Psychiatrists or Psychologists on our team. In this post, we’ll explain why this is our current model.

1. The first reason why we don’t have any Psychologists, Psychiatrists on our current team is because we partner with departments and individuals at the clients’ locations that specialise in those fields. We also work with Social Work and HR teams in conjunction with the aforementioned departments and our direct clients’ departments. Example: If our client is the Department of Radiation Oncology at an institution, we connect to their department and any other department that would be able to collaborate with us and our client to develop strategies to overcome the problems at hand.

2. Along with point 1, we prefer to tap into existing systems and resources that our clients have in place and save the client money. We don’t want the client to have to pay expensive consulting fees for mental health professionals when they have exceptional individuals working with them on their staff.

3. Moreover, we have noticed that many Physicians and Surgeons are wary of seeking the help of mental health professionals, because of concerns regarding renewals of licences and the way that seeking mental health looks on their record. Some even suffer silently, because they are worried about losing the permission to do their jobs. When it comes to patient care, it’s easier for them to collaborate with other professionals.

4. At present, we are taking a slightly different approach to cross-cultural communication and well-being, in that we are focusing on a language and cultural approach. Our model takes things from interpersonal communication, diversity and linguistic angles, focusing on strategies to build teams and prevent breakdowns that can lead to more serious situations and the need for mental health professionals’ guidance. Also, we help our clients ‘clean up’ in the aftermath of a messy situation involving language, culture or diversity, and develop tools for avoiding the same situation in the future. In all of these cases, we regularly collaborate with mental health professionals, but our lens is more focused on the culture and communication piece.

5.  As language and culture professionals, we focus on consulting and coaching, not counselling. Here are a few definitions for your consideration:

  • Coaching: Coaching develops leadership, strategy, relationships and communication through facilitation, accountability, listening, and challenge.
  • Consulting: Giving expert advice, strategies, expertise, and experienced opinions to clients on decisions and situations of importance. Consultants are specialists in their field.
  • Counselling: Helping people resolve psychological or mental health problems, through licenced mental health counselling.

Again, let it be very clear: We do not offer psychological, psychiatric or other mental health counselling in our sessions. We also do not offer therapy.

So what is our focus more specifically? 

The main focus is on helping each client navigate and enhance cross-cultural relationships, improve communication with peers and patients. We also use the aforementioned language and cultural tools to foster positive environments that improve well-being and efficiency in medical teams.

Our coaching/consulting relationship is a partnership which:

  • Unlocks a potential to maximise performance.
  • Allows the client flexibility
  • Encourages accountability
  • Helps clients learn by doing
  • Inspires creative thinking, growth, and strategies
  • Provides structure, advice and guidance

Our Responsibilities When Working With Clients:

1. Ask questions, encourage, advise, challenge, make requests and listen.
2. Keep you on track with your goals, values and vision.
3. Value clarification, identifying plans of action, and examining modes of operating.
4. Giving feedback and empowering actions.
5. Provide and facilitate sessions.
6. Customise sessions to fit each client’s need.
7. Demonstrate 100% commitment to the process.

Responsibilities of the Client:
1. Expect Your Best – Give Your Best Effort.
2. Be Willing to Change and Take Action.
3. Be Open to Feedback.
4. Do the Required Homework.
5. Let Your Coach Know How You Feel About the Process.
6. Be Committed and Focused.
7. Request Adjustments as Needed to Help Your Learning.
8. Understand That You Will Grow.
9. Be Willing to Step Up to Face the Challenge.

Will Coaching Really Help?
Check out this helpful article from the Harvard Business Review for more information: https://hbr.org/2015/04/will-that-cross-cultural-coach-really-help-your-team.

To learn more about us and our model, please visit our website.

©Allison J. Weaver Consulting, LLC 2017

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