The Positive Impacts of Psychosocial Recovery Coaching – With Insights From A Specialist

Psychosocial Recovery Coaching

A Psychosocial Recovery Coach works with individuals with a psychosocial disability to empower them to better their decision making skills, and live a more enriched and fulfilling life.

Psychosocial Recovery Coaching is an NDIS supported service that offers a more hands-on approach to treatment of diagnosed psychosocial disability. It is a relatively modern practice, which causes many people to ask – what is a Psychosocial Recovery Coach, and what do they do?

What are the overall objectives of Psychosocial Recovery Coaching?

Psychosocial Recovery Coaching is a service which designs to support those with a psychosocial disability – a term used for disabilities that arise from long term mental health issues. A Psychosocial Recovery coach will take an individualised approach, by working directly with the client, assessing their needs and level of support and monitoring them along their journey. They also play an active role in the client’s recovery and rehabilitation – whether they are living in shared accommodation or independently.

Chrissy Camp, St Jude’s Psychosocial Recovery Coach Coordinator gave some deeper insight into what is a Psychosocial Recovery Coach, and her own approach to the role. She says:

‘Our model is not a clinical approach. It is not about eradicating the psychosocial disability – rather it is about learning how to live with it day-to-day where [the client] leads the journey and takes control, rather than their illness [the psychosocial disability] being in control of them’.

Psychosocial Recovery Coach Coordinator Chrissy

The Psychosocial Recovery Coach approaches every client with the intention of building connection and trust as the foundation. As no two clients are the same, they all will have different needs and thus require a different approach to recovery coaching.

Client empowerment

A key aim of Psychosocial Recovery Coaching is to build personal capacity within the client. Ultimately over time, this will allow the client to become more in control of their mental health, be more independent and live a more fulfilling life.

Some specific examples of strategies that can be utilised to empower clients are;

  • Encouraging the client to take ownership over everyday tasks. Adopting a ‘lets do it with you’ rather than a ‘let’s do it for you’ approach.
  • Teaching better cognitive skills by helping the client prioritise tasks.
  • Facilitating independence in the client by supporting them in making their own phone calls and everyday decisions, no matter how big or small.
  • Providing perspective to the client if they are feeling overwhelmed, continuously fostering a relationship of encouragement and hope.

Success Stories of St. Jude’s

Being a Psychosocial Recovery Coach requires a lot of patience, but is incredibly rewarding. Supporting a client in living a happier and more fulfilled life, where they are in control of their own decisions is the ultimate desired outcome.

Chrissy told us a bit more about a real life case of this positive outcome in action.

‘I was working with Peter* for 15 months. He was in and out of hospital every few months due to his mental health condition, and this became a vicious cycle’.

Due to Peter’s hospital admissions becoming more frequent, Chrissy took a step back and assessed his medication regime. She found out that the heavier nighttime medication with sedative properties, was causing him to oversleep in the mornings. Therefore Peter was missing the timeframe to take his morning medication. When Peter woke up around noon, he was taking his morning and lunchtime medication together, which caused havoc in regards to undesired side effects. This contributed to increased monthly hospital admissions, and hindered the client’s recovery journey.

By simply asking the question relating to Peter’s medication schedule, our specialist was able to put in place an action plan to try and reduce his number of hospital admissions. Peter’s Recovery Coach organised for a support worker to come to his residence every morning as a medication prompt. The support worker would have a morning coffee and a chat with Peter and reminded him to take his morning medication. Following this, Peter was then able to get back on track with his medication schedule and was taking the right medication at the correct time of the day. This resulted in a significant drop in hospital admissions, and Peter’s mental and physical state also improved.

Although only a simple adjustment to Peter’s day to day routine – it had a huge positive impact. Nowadays, Peter is doing incredibly well. He lives in shared supported accommodation at St Jude’s with two other men, and enjoys cooking meals with them.

Peter takes more ownership over his medication, and feels more empowered to make his own decisions. He enjoys umpiring for community football teams and having intellectual conversations with others. He has taken huge leaps forward in comparison to where he was before. Chrissy speaks highly of Peter, and appreciates him being willing to work with her on his recovery journey.

Working collaboratively with families and support networks

A Psychosocial Recovery Coach recognises the importance of the roles other support networks play in the client’s life and road to recovery. Usually these are families of the client, but can also be additional support services and informal support networks such as close friends.

Working collaboratively with this support system is crucial. These individuals have been supporting the client through complex challenges for much longer, and can provide important insight into the client’s recovery process.

Some family dynamics can be tricky, and Chrissy says it is ‘important to be mindful that some family members may be feeling frustrated’. Therefore, the role as a Psychosocial Recovery Coach often entails supporting family members as well. Reminding them that they are not alone in this journey and have that understanding they may be feeling fatigued or burnt out.

How do Psychosocial Recovery Coaches overcome difficulties?

No client’s journey is the same, and it isn’t always smooth sailing. At times there are roadblocks with clients when they simply are not engaging upon visits. It is important to be aware that every single client operates at a different pace, and simply may not be ready to take the next step in their recovery plan. This is where communication comes in.

Chrissy says;

‘If the client is not ready to engage, we cannot force them to. Sometimes it is as simple as asking the questions “Is this still working for you? Would you like me to connect you to another Psychosocial Recovery Coach who may be better suited to you?”. It all comes back to enabling the client to have full autonomy over their decisions – whether that be working with us or not’.

Often Psychosocial Recovery Coaches need to get more creative with their support strategies, whether that be adjusting their communication style, adapting their approach or slowing down their pace. This comes back to how client centered personal care being the key component of Psychosocial Recovery Coaching.

The importance of Psychosocial Recovery Coaching

Psychosocial Recovery Coaching is a hands on, client centered approach to psychosocial support. Not only does a Recovery Coach conduct the face to face model of care, they can also aid in connecting the client with the right services and supports to aid them in their recovery journey. Therefore, a Psychosocial Recovery Coach undertakes an element of Support Coordination as part of their role as well.

Psychosocial Recovery Coaches operate on the basis that there is no ‘one size fits all’ approach and aim to work to understand the client on a deeper level, so they can best adapt their support strategies to best fit the client.

Chrissy sums up why the role is so rewarding by saying;

‘I love seeing clients beginning to find their voice, regain their autonomy and find new purpose in their lives again. I feel privileged to be a part of their journey, and that people allowed me to be in that space alongside them on their journey’.

Want to know more?

If you want to learn more about the fantastic Psychosocial Recovery Coaches at St Jude’s, get in touch today. We are committed to providing the best individualised support for you or your loved one’s recovery journey.


DISCLAIMER:
*Some names in this piece have been changed due to privacy reasons.