The 12 Core Functions: Your Therapist and Treatment Path
A sad reality is that many people dealing with the symptoms of schizophrenia simply fail to receive treatment. There are lots of various reasons why this can happen, but one of the reasons is a resistance and fear in not understanding how treatment will transpire. This article is meant to give the reader a general overview of what the therapist is thinking and the guidelines they follow to perform their task. Your treatment will be personalized and tailored specifically to your experiences, symptoms, and receptiveness, but it will also follow a generalized path. This is what we will concern ourselves with here.
All treatment for mental health problems follows a broad set of parameters that lead from one to another based on guides developed over the years that helps the psychology community come together into one cohesive unit. There are many names for this path of treatment, such as the Tap 21 for example. The most popular method and easier to understand for the on-looker or possible patient is called the Twelve Core Functions. By having a basic understanding of these, you can anticipate every step of your treatment as you progress through it, especially because they flow in a chronological order. Let’s take a look.
The 12 Core Functions
Once again, this is how your therapist and any other specialist is trained to deal with any cases they are delivered or obtain, for any type of mental illness from substance abuse to bipolar disorder to schizophrenia. They are trained to follow this path:
- Patient Screening
- Intake Process
- Orientation of People and Programs
- Assessment of Patient
- Laying Out a Treatment Plan
- Individual and Group Counseling
- Case Management
- Intervening in Crises
- Educating the Client
- Referring the Client if Needed
- Record Keeping and Note Taking
- Consultation with Knowledgeable Professionals
The First Portion of the Path
So, this is all fine and dandy, but what does it mean in conversational speech? What it means is that your psychiatrist, counselor, therapist, or doctor now has a framework from which he or she derives accountability and a level of guidance from you, their studies, and other professionals. Here’s how it works.
First, you’ll speak with a nurse and take a battery of exams. These might be quizzes, self-reports on paper or through discussion, blood work being drawn and examined, etc. But you will be screened and it will be determined whether or not you’re experiencing what you say you are (laughable, I know, but some people lie for various reasons like seeking medication to abuse). If you meet the criteria, you’ll move to an intake phase.
During intake, all of your information available will be gathered from your past doctors with your permission and you’ll be interviewed and asked for more information. This is basically so your therapist can get to know you and further understand you more personally now that you’re in the program. Then orientation will begin. You’ll meet the therapist and any other staff. You’ll learn what to expect, possibly be told all of the information you’re reading, set up schedules for coming back, etc. You’ll likely leave and come back next time for the assessment step.
Assessment is the full-blown deep-dive into your symptoms, your life history, your environment, and more. This is very much like being screened and going through intake except you’re qualified and being treated so now they want to know everything that might be pertinent to the case, even the small stuff. At this point, it’s time to create a treatment plan. This means that the counseling sessions, the cognitive behavioral exercises, the medicines… all of this will be planned in one splash. However, don’t worry, you will have plenty of chances to tell the doctor what’s working or what isn’t and the plan can be pivoted and changed on the fly.
The Second Portion of the Path
So now you know about the first portion that represents the first five steps of the 12 Core Functions. The following steps, the second portion, have more to do with the therapist than with you. These are things that they do to ensure that you are well taken care of, that your privacy is held secure as required by the HIPAA Privacy Rule which is law, and that you are safe and have access to everything you need in your recovery.
Counseling refers to any individual, family, and group sessions you will attend. For the therapist, this is their planning and execution of these sessions. Case management refers to the overall process of continuing and maintaining your treatment plan and record keeping. Crisis intervention means that the therapist is there and available for you if times get hard. This can mean a lot of things because keeping you on the treatment path means maintaining a healthy balance in your world outside of the doctor’s office as well. You will have their phone number and can reach out if needed. You will be educated in the next step about what truly is a crisis, how to take your medicines, how to complete your homework assignments and exercises, and be taught and provided materials discussing and explaining your illness, in this case we are talking about schizophrenia. Finally, the doctor will be taking notes about everything because they can’t remember everything for one, but record keeping is required for review to make sure the doctor is treating you appropriately. This is for your safety. Plus it helps track the progress and remember what is working or not working for you. Finally, in any step of the way, there are tons of professionals they can consult with if there is any confusion about how to proceed. Or if you need other types of help that would benefit you in your treatment, you can be referred to other types of professionals, such as halfway homes, shelters, divorce counselors, etc. Anything and everything is available for you and your doctor has the contacts to make sure you get what you need.
So there you have it. Now you know what to expect when you reach out for treatment. Please don’t be afraid. You might feel more anxious during these times because doctor’s offices are like that, but you are moving forward when you ask for help. You are on the path already the moment you decide to ask for help. Feeling better will happen at this point. It is a guarantee, but there might be ups and downs and struggles. It’s not meant to be easy, but you will arrive at the end with a healthier mindset, better ways of thinking, and medicine that helps keep the symptoms at bay! You can’t beat that deal. If you need help, ask. And if someone disbelieves you about your schizophrenia symptoms, ask someone else. Sometimes people are afraid for you and it’s easier for them to pretend this isn’t happening. Just keep trying. If you’re capable, go straight to the doctor instead of asking someone else to do it for you. Best of luck! Be strong!