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A year or two ago I was teaching a workshop and one of the participants shared a story about an individual who had gone through an addiction treatment program. This person had participated in the program 15 to 20 times over multiple years, and many staff at the facility had given up any hope that the person would ever overcome their addiction.

Many of us have had this experience with someone we have served. Because of the severity of the person’s challenges and/or how treatment resistant those challenges seem to be, staff can get to the point where they stop believing that the individual can learn and succeed. This attitude often negatively affects the way staff interact with and support the person.

In The Mandt System, we teach that our attitudes and beliefs often determine our interactions with the people we serve. If we don’t believe the person can learn and succeed, we are likely decreasing the effectiveness of whatever services and supports we are providing. When having this discussion in workshops, I often like to show a video I found several years ago, called Reversible Thinking, that I have found effective at encouraging people to think about their attitudes toward people served. If you’re interested, you can watch it by following the link provided at the bottom of this post.

One last thing, that person I told you about who had gone through that treatment program so many times. Well on their last time through something connected. The person telling the story said that individual left the program and to their knowledge continued to be clean and sober longer than they ever had and that they believe they still are.

So be careful to never write people off, because you never know when a relationship, interaction, or intervention may be the one that helps someone succeed!

Doug ZehrVogt, Mandt Faculty

Video Link: Reversible Thinking-