Caplan`s model of mental health consultation is based on the idea of interaction between a mental health professional with another professional on consultant-client/consultee basis. The model uses a psychodynamic approach and can be applied in various ways. One of the major ways is through the assisting the consultee to understand the subconscious influences from his environment and live in harmony with the environment to avert mental health disorders. The Caplan model indicates that for true behavioral change to be achieved, consultees must deal with unresolved conflicts from their past as such conflicts likely cloud their views of their clients issues. For instance, the consultee`s feelings, attitudes, and beliefs about some certain elements in his work environment must be analyzed and related to inner conflicts. Where inner conflicts are not causes, of mental health problems, Caplan suggests that consultees lack professional help in their field. Nonetheless, the consultant should enable consultees to be objective in dealing with their clients.
Types of consultation
a) Client-centered case consultation: In this approach, the consultant assesses the client, makes a diagnosis, and gives out recommendations on how the consultee can improve the relations with the client and develop a plan. In this case, the consultant spends more time with the client and assesses the client through the implementation of the recommendations is the consultee`s mandate. A good example is a teacher seeking consultation services to aid in solving specific problems with an individual student.
b) Consultee-centered case consultation: In this approach, the consultant identifies possible sources of difficulty in the consultee`s professional relationship with a client. A good example is a family relationships counselor seeking help from a consultant on ways of assisting a client couple to open up about their intimacy.
c) Program-centered administrative consultation: This type of approach is similar to the client-centered case consultation only that in this approach, the consultant deals with probable problems to a new program. For example Virgin Airways hiring a consultant to assess how added work shift hours will affect employees output.
d) Consultee-centered administrative consultation: this is a long term relationship between an organization and a consultant where the consultant agrees to improve professional functioning of the organization`s staff. A good example is Wal-Mart hiring a consultant to aid the organization encourage more open communication amongst employees.
Client-centered case consultation: As a consultant under this approach, my work will entail assisting a consultee identify a possible pathway in dealing with a problem with his/her client by examining the client. For instance, a counselor might be having trouble with a client who has refused to go to rehabilitation voluntarily for drug abuse. When the consultee informs me about this, I will rely on background information about the client from the consultee to understand the issues at hand and make a recommendation on how the counselor can enable the client to see the need to check in to a rehabilitation center. A follow up session with the consultee is necessary.
Consultee-centered case consultation:
A family relationships counselor seeking help from me as a consultant on ways of assisting a client couple to open up about their intimacy. The first thing will be to assess how the counselor approaches the topic of intimacy. The analysis will be to examine the counselor`s subjective views on intimacy and the couple. My idea will be to talk about the issue of intimacy, examine how comfortable the counselor is with the topic, and also assess how deep he seeks to know about the couple`s intimacy. Thirdly, I will seek to know his subjective opinion about the couple all which could hinder how the couple is willing to discuss the topic. I will make a report with recommendations to the consultee based on my observations.
Program-centered administrative consultation:
This kind of approach can be applied where a school career guidance and counseling program is being implemented. Where the desired results are not being achieved in time or results are not being achieved at all, as a consultant, my services would come in privy. As such, my analysis would assess the details of the program as opposed to the clients who happen to be students and neither the organization or the consultee but the program itself.
Consultee-centered administrative approach
This kind of approach is applicable where supervision for counselors is needed. Supervision for counselors is important in organizations that offer counseling services to clients. For a supervisor, the roles of counseling and supervision should be separated to avoid conflict of interest,. By having the role of supervision only, the consultant is able to be thorough and remaining fully focused on supervising and even upraising individual counselors.
Case 5: human services consultant
In case 5, the consultee-centered administrative approach can be used to assess the prevailing communications problem at the organization. This is because the consultant understands and knows the behaviors of the manager very well since college days. It is important to use this approach because the manager seems to have lost control in his unit. The fact that there has been a history of substance abuse in this unit is a sign of poor leadership assuming that some employees report to work under influence. This is a clear pointer to poor enforcement of workplace regulations and poor leadership on part of the manager. The reluctance by supervisors to relay information from subordinates without interference shows a sense of mistrust and lack of harmony. It could be that supervisors are distorting information to gain power and fill in a power vacuum left behind by an incompetent unit manager.
The supervisors are directly undermining the efforts and authority of the manager. The acts of the employees in terms of substance abuse and poor top-down communication are evidence of poor leadership. The manager has not addressed the talks of the company merging with a Japanese firm. In essence, there is communication breakdown. The manager has not been able to deliver his message and influence the subordinates as supervisors have blacked him out. On the other hand, subordinates have no direct communication with the manager as supervisors distort information of their own good. One possible issue to examine is the leadership qualities of the unit manager and his ability to motivate other people and gather them towards a single cause. After making my analysis, I would write a report to the manager with a number of recommendations.
Dougherty, M. (2009). Psychological Consultation and Collaboration in School and Community
Setting. New York: Cengage Learning.