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Reimagining The Client Experience During The First 30 Days of Treatment

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Posted Under: Interviews

Clinically Reviewed by: Amanda Fialk, PhD, LCSW, LICSW

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As part of our mission to transform young adult mental health care and recovery, we’re reimagining one of the most critical times in care: the first 30 days of treatment. This time can be overwhelming for clients, as they integrate into a new community and establish key relationships with their clinical team. We realize that new clients and their families need a dedicated, expert guide to help them navigate the transition and act as a resource, so we created a new role to support this time at The Dorm: Assistant Director of Admissions and Client Relations.

Helming this new position is longtime Clinical Supervisor at The Dorm, Jeremy Ware, LCSW, Ed.M. With over 20 years of experience working with young people, he received a master’s degree in Education from Harvard University Graduate School of Education and holds a Masters of Social Work degree from New York University.

We recently sat down with him to learn more about his experience and vision for the new position.

What makes the first 30 days in treatment so critical? How does a better onboarding experience lead to better quality of care?

The first 30 days, the adjustment phase, is almost always the most tumultuous part of a person’s treatment. Most of the time clients come to us from another program or an in-patient facility, so they are still transitioning out of and processing that experience. Simultaneously, they are also being introduced to our clinicians and unique clinical model. Then add in the very real and expected anxiety of meeting new people and adjusting to a new place — that’s a lot of change in a short amount of time! If we can better meet new clients where they are and offer additional support, we expect that they’ll be more comfortable meeting the community and clinicians. Hopefully this will lead to better engagement and outcomes.

We understand that you are just starting in the role, but do you have an idea yet of what your main goals are going to be?

Ultimately, my main goal is to make the transition into our program as seamless and supportive as possible for new clients and families. We know that our program is unique and different – that’s what makes it so successful – which means it can take a few weeks for people to grasp how all the moving parts work, from “what’s the difference between my coach and my therapist?” to “what Dorm resources are there for parents?” I want every client to feel supported and heard, knowing that they can come to me and that I’m a familiar face during a time of lots of change.

How will this role help create a bridge to a client’s clinical team during their first 30 days of treatment? Why is it important to have a clinical background in this role?

It is crucial to have a person in this role who has been a member of this clinical staff for years. I know all of The Dorm’s offerings and can better help find the best fit for a client’s therapist, clinical coach, and appropriate groups. When I work with referrals (individual clinicians or medical groups that referred a client to us), I can use my clinical experience to better translate client needs and outcomes, both to the referral and/or to our Dorm team.

What day-to-day interactions and tasks will you be doing with the families and clients during their onboarding?

I will help orient families and their loved ones and give them one specific, designated person to call, which won’t change for the first month. I’ll also introduce them to their coach who will be there throughout and take over after all the dust has settled, and coordinate with the people who referred them.

Any last thoughts you want to share?

This is a new role that hasn’t existed before and we’re so excited about it: having a current member of the clinical team be so heavily involved in the process beyond admitting. I’m thrilled and grateful to be trusted with this opportunity to help our clients in such an innovative and important way.

Do you or a loved one need help with mental health?

The Dorm is here.

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