Tag Archive: accountability

  1. Teaching Accountability in a Clinical Environment

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    Clinical-medical-setting-teaching-accountability-clinical-environmentWithin the mental health field, accountability can make or break success. Everyone from a clinical director to therapists, counselors, case managers, and even those who provide services such as janitorial or other essential services can work together to create an environment of accountability. This environment teaches clients by example the value of taking responsibility for their actions, which can help considerably in the healing and recovery process.

    Why Accountability Is So Important in Leadership

    As a leader, you not only set the tone for the entire organization, but everyone watches you for an example of how to behave. Accountability is a principle of leadership that has been successful for centuries in many leadership capacities. However, you do not need to be a CEO or a director to provide leadership.

    Anyone in an organization can offer leadership to those around them, and that leadership begins by being responsible for what you say and do. Accountability is a quality that does not go unnoticed and is particularly important when working with adolescents.

    Being Intentional

    One of the first steps in accountability is to be intentional. Don’t wait until something good happens, and try to take credit for it. Set out clear expectations for everyone, including yourself. Also, be clear about consequences, making sure that they are consequences that you are willing to enforce unilaterally. This also means being willing to accept the same consequences yourself if necessary.

    Being intentional creates no misunderstandings amongst anyone in your office or organization and can also empower your clients to meet expectations that are clearly communicated. Developing a habit of clear communication is another leadership quality that anyone in an organization can take ownership of.

    Providing Structure

    Creating an environment that is structured creates the opportunity for everyone to be accountable for their words and actions. Making and keeping schedules and providing the opportunities for everyone to participate in these schedules with accountability allows them to be responsible for their own choices. Whether it is a client, their family, or a co-worker, providing structure is an extension of being intentional.

    Obviously, some flexibility is needed, particularly when working in the mental health field. For example, if you expect your clients to be punctual to their appointments, and they generally are, offering flexibility when truly unforeseen circumstances arise is fair. As a professional, you may need that flexibility returned should you have an emergency or if your meetings with other clients or hospital rounds run long, for example. Structure is important to accountability, while some flexibility is important to being human.

    Allowing Feedback to Maintain Accountability

    Leadership and dictatorship are not the same. Setting out expectations and asking for accountability without allowing feedback is more dictatorial, whereas providing open lines of communication for peers, staff, clients, and their families creates an environment of leadership.

    Offering and accepting feedback at all levels within the mental health environment allows for transparency and personal accountability for all parties involved.

    Taking Ownership of Your Actions

    Being accountable for your words and actions can be very powerful, but you can take it a step further and take ownership of your actions. The added concept of taking ownership involves not only doing what you said you would do and being willing to accept all consequences of your actions but also taking ownership of your work.

    Taking ownership means taking pride in your job and being fully committed to your work. People, particularly adolescents, can tell when you are not giving 100%. Someone who is giving all that they have is not only a leader but also someone who is infectious to be around. Taking ownership of your words and actions helps to inspire healing and progress.

    Acknowledging Accountability in Others

    Another facet of leadership that is always appreciated is when you acknowledge accountability in others. Adolescents, in particular, appreciate being acknowledged, but staff and co-workers do, too. Again, you do not have to be in a leadership role to be a leader, and noticing when people do good things is always appreciated.

    Another benefit of pointing out accountability is that it increases their awareness of their actions, allows them to know that they are being noticed for the positive behaviors, and increases the likelihood of them doing it again. This can help to create a habit of accountability in others, which can, in turn, increase the morale of an office, facility, or even the rapport between professionals and their clients or families. Teaching accountability in a clinical setting happens when you demonstrate accountability by example and create an overall environment of accountability.

    The main keys to teaching accountability in a clinical environment include leadership, providing clear intentions and structure, and demonstrating by example. When you create a culture of transparency and accountability and truly demonstrate your commitment to your profession, others will notice and learn from you. Located in Irvine, California, Sustain Recovery is an adolescent extended care facility that teaches accountability through example and creating clear expectations from our clients. We work with families to help them create similar accountability in the home to allow adolescents to transition back into their communities successfully. Because our program is unique by going beyond the typical treatment length, we can offer consistency and build connections to create a lasting recovery for our clients. Our goal is to bridge the gap between treatment and aftercare. Call us at (949) 407-9052 to learn more about our program or to find out if our program is right for your client or your child.

  2. Holding Yourself Accountable as a Parent

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    As a parent, you may find it difficult to say “I was wrong,” “I’m sorry,” or “I made a mistake.” Some people view this as a sign of weakness or fallibility, something they cannot show to their children. Others view their roles as authoritative and feel it will undermine their power to admit to a mistake. Still others struggle to acknowledge that they did something wrong, but children are always watching. Especially when you do something that you have told them not to do, they will notice. That scenario is likely to happen at some point—we are all human— but whether or not you are accountable for your words and actions as a parent is what truly impacts your child.

    “Do What I Say, Not What I Do”

    Whether it is cursing because another driver cut you off on the road, having your cell phone at the dinner table, or drinking heavily, your child will absolutely notice a double standard between what they are expected to do and what you are doing as a parent. Obviously, your child will have more stringent guidelines to follow, but they will also find hypocrisy when you have asked them to comply with a rule for the benefit of the family and you yourself do not also comply.

    Some parents really struggle with following their own rules and might tell their children “Do what I say, not what I do.” The lack of accountability in that statement alone is not only confusing but can cause anger and resentment toward you as well. If you set an expectation, you need to also follow it and be accountable to your child and the family when you don’t.

    Exposure and Availability of Substances in the Home

    Both the attitudes about and the usage of substances in the home can impact a child’s future attitudes and substance use. The availability of substances in the home can also be a factor, as children often first use substances in the home. Studies have shown that exposure to substance use and the availability of substances in the home are associated with an earlier initial use of substances by children. Additionally, early availability and exposure to substances within the home can be a predictor of heavier substance use even in young adulthood or later.

    Parents can be accountable for their words and actions surrounding substance use. When parents educate children about responsible alcohol use, but their actions demonstrate otherwise, the mixed messages can almost seem like permission to a child. While some children may be so driven to escape that they will use common household products like glue, gasoline, cough syrup, and more, having easy access to prescription medications, marijuana, illegal drugs, and alcohol can make it easier for them to begin experimenting. Parents who keep medications and alcohol locked up or do not keep them in the home demonstrate that their actions match their words.

    To Err Is Human, to Be Accountable Is to Earn Respect

    One of the most important lessons you can teach your child is that making mistakes is human. Even more important is to teach your child to be accountable for their actions. Whether this is about mental health, substance use, responsibility, how you treat others, or any other important life lesson, we all make mistakes. Being able to tell your child that you made a poor choice, be accountable for it, correct anything possible, and then not do it again is a way to truly earn respect.

    Respect is a two-way street. Even more important than you earning their respect is that you are showing by example how they can be accountable, too. If they witness you being disingenuous or dishonest, they will assume that it is okay for them to do that, too. However, when they see that you not only talk the talk, but you walk the walk, they will learn by your example. Taking responsibility for your words and actions is a powerful life lesson for your child.

    Accountability Can Keep the Lines of Communication Open

    When a child sees you do something that is not in line with your values or guidelines, not only can they become confused, angry, or resentful to you, but they may shut down and not be willing to communicate with you. Accountability builds trust, and trust and mutual respect are important to open communication in any relationship, but particularly with the parent-child relationship.

    Trust and open communication are vital when your child is struggling through their adolescent years. At a time when they are trying to be independent, yet still need so much guidance, an honest, open, transparent relationship can help them to make better choices. Accountability as a parent is a crucial component of this type of relationship. When you are who you say you are, your child knows they can depend on you.

    Parents are not perfect, but you can be perfectly accountable. Your child learns the most from watching you, including your attitudes and actions surrounding substances and mental health. At Sustain, teaching our clients accountability is a priority. We also work with the families to help create an environment for the child to thrive in after treatment. Our Southern California residential treatment program for adolescents is committed to restoring accountability and integrity as a part of recovery from their substance abuse and mental health diagnoses. We offer extended residential care for those who need more than the traditional length of treatment, as well as opportunities for adolescents to reintegrate into their homes and community as they transition back home. We also help them stay connected post-treatment and offer involvement opportunities for alumni. Call us at (949) 407-9052 to find out if our program is the right program for you and your family.

The people at Sustain Recovery are truly passionate about their work. They put all their love, energy and spiritual strength in to it. They continue to support me today as I continue my ongoing journey in my personal recovery. I now have over a year of sobriety, my own apartment, a job, true friends and a support network that is always available to me. Although all that stuff is great, what matters most today is that I love myself and have the ability to love others. Thank you to all who had a hand and heart in Sustain Recovery

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