If you were asked to describe your relationships how would you respond? Would you say they are Healthy? Challenging? Complicated? Fair weathered? or Distant?
When we think of our relationships, we tend to consider friends or family. Rarely, do we stop to evaluate our “relationships” with our service providers or para-professionals that interact with us on a daily basis. For instance, how well do you think your doctor knows you? Have you shared too much with your Starbucks barista? Do you find your child’s teacher easy to talk to?
In the behavior analysis world, the term known as “pairing” has often been used synonymously with “relationship.” Through this process of assessing an individual’s motivation level, through time, observation and experience; rapport can be fostered, which in turn, serves to construct a therapeutic working relationship.
The mental health field is at its core, a “relationship” business. The product cannot sustain a shelf-life without the provider-patient relationship. For this reason alone, it is worth it to do some testing to evaluate the strength and durability of your working relationships. To reference an ABA example:
“Your son or daughter has paired with your ABA therapist. They do great work together. But has your ABA therapist paired with you? Have you paired with the ABA therapist? Have you ever felt hesitant to provide feedback about your ABA therapist to the direct supervisor?”
All relationships have boundaries to consider as each is different in its own way. As a provider in this field, I have become fascinated by the process by which relationships can be strengthened, and repaired with all members of the family in tandem with the care provider.
Many of my long-term families and I have shared history together of “hills”, “valleys” and an assortment of interpersonal challenges. I have asked myself, “Will they accept me?” “Is our professional relationship strong enough to tolerate constructive feedback?” “How will the transitioning of the therapist leaving the case be received? How will we all move forward together?”
These are honest questions, but they are critical when deciding to continue any journey with any service type provider. In the spirit of finding a sense of “safety” during this day and age, I propose taking the time to re-evaluate your trust radar with those around you and take some time RE-“PAIR”.
We would love to hear your stories or experiences? Please share.