by Lynne Rice Westbrook
Review by Diana Soeiro on Mar 29th 2016
People can have mental and emotional challenges at any point of their lives. For some, the thought of making an appointment and go to an office can hugely deter them from asking for help in order to find the best solutions to overcome those challenges, being the first challenge, the ability to get to the office, to have an appointment.
In order to break this vicious cycle, for this kind of patients, in-home treatment (IHT) can be the most adequate option.
Lynne Rice Westbrook (M.S. 1996), LPC, NBCC, CHP, a licensed professional counsellor in Georgia, after many years of providing community and in-home based counselling and behavioral health services, decided to compile everything she learned in a book that is a mixture of a personal account with a handbook on community and IHT counselling. The book aims to map where does IHT fits in the vast offer of possibilities when it comes to mental health and in which cases IHT can be the best approach both for the patient and for the counsellor.
The major advantage of IHT is that the environment can have a huge impact, for some patients, on the comfort level, ability to concentrate, connect and break down barriers during treatment, improving the mind-set overall. Following a protocol, the professional can easily assess what is the situation and gradually realize how it can help. In some cases, the rapport-building time can be cut by weeks and in some cases months. (p.x) Being in someone’s house, can enhance the overall effectiveness of treatment leading to greater independence and well-being.
Mental health is a challenging area in any country. Though it is estimated that worldwide there are 450 million people who suffer from some type of behavioral health or substance abuse disorder, according to the World Health Meantal Health Atlas (2011), only 62 percent of the countries have a mental health policy in place and just 71 percent have a mental health plan.
The book does not present any theoretical discussion and it is very practice oriented. It maps out all the possibilities that currently exist, from traditional treatment settings to up close community and IHT. It provides evidence on why community and IHT work best in many cases and what are its advantages, proving also orientation guidelines on how to make a proper assessment and treatment plan. It also covers the process and which obstacles can you expect (and how to overcome them) and finally, how can you judge whether your intervention is concluded.
The book also features several annexes that can be very helpful, though they only apply to the US, that aim to identify all available resources for both counsellors interested in practicing IHT and also fro prospecting patients.
If you are considering doing IHT, this is a book you need to read. If you are considering taking IHT as a patient this is a book you need to read. It focuses on: how to do IHT and what does IHT has to offer — in which cases does it become an advantage over the office based practice.
As long as it is helpful, it doesn’t matter the approach one takes in order to get better. Some people need to go through several different approaches until they get some results and some have successful results with just one. The idea is that you keep trying. On the other side, perhaps you are a counsellor facing the obstacles of an office-based practice and you are tempted to try IHT. On whichever side you are on, Westbrook’s book allows you to evaluate whether community and IHT is for you.
© 2016 Diana Soeiro
Diana Soeiro. Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Philosophy at NOVA Institute of Philosophy /IFILNOVA at Universidade Nova de Lisboa (Portugal).