Section 2 Practice Dimensions

PD 2 Treatment Planning


A collaborative process in which professionals and the client develop a written document that identifies important treatment goals; describes measurable, time-sensitive action steps toward achieving those goals with expected outcomes; and reflects a verbal agreement between a counselor and client.

At a minimum an individualized treatment plan addresses the identified substance use disorder(s), as well as issues related to treatment progress, including relationships with family and significant others, potential mental conditions, employment, education, spirituality, health concerns, and social and legal needs.

Competency 37

Use relevant assessment information to guide the treatment planning process.


  • The role assessment plays in identifying client problems, resources, and barriers to treatment.
  • Stages of change and readiness for treatment.
  • The impact that the client and family systems have on treatment decisions and outcomes.
  • Other sources of assessment information.


  • Establishing treatment priorities based on all available assessment data.
  • Interpreting assessment information con- sidering the client’s age, developmental level, treatment readiness, gender, and racial and ethnic culture.
  • Using assessment information to individu- alize the client’s treatment goals.


  • Appreciation of the strengths and limitations of the assessment data.
  • Recognition that assessment is an ongoing process throughout treatment.


Competency 38

Explain assessment findings to the client and significant others.


  • How to apply confidentiality rules and regulations.
  • How to communicate assessment data in understandable terms.
  • Factors affecting the client’s comprehension of assessment data.
  • Roles and expectations of significant others involved in treatment.


  • Summarizing and synthesizing assessment results.
  • Translating assessment information into treatment goals and objectives.
  • Evaluating the client’s comprehension of assessment feedback.
  • Communicating with the client in a man- ner that is sensitive to the client’s age, developmental level, gender, and racial and ethnic culture.
  • Communicating assessment findings to interested parties within the bounds of confidentiality rules and regulations and practice standards.


  • Recognition of how biases influence com- munication of assessment data and results.
  • Recognition of the client’s right and need to understand assessment results.
  • Respect for the roles of others.

Uses of The Competencies

The former Caribbean Basin and Hispanic ATTC in Puerto Rico translated The Competencies into Spanish and had widely distributed it in Puerto Rico and the mainland. (The translation is posted on the CBHATTC Web site, TAP21/TAP21.pdf.)

The curriculum of the Substance Abuse Graduate Program of the Universidad Central del Caribe was based on The Competencies.

The Competencies has been used as a resource for trainers teaching workshops such as Clinical Skills in Supervision, S.M.A.R.T., Treatment Planning, and Levels of Care in Substance Abuse.

Some community-based organizations have incorporated The Competencies into their inservice trainings.

The Comisión Certificadora de Profesionales en Substancias Sicoactivas of Puerto Rico (certification board) incorporated The Competencies into its certifications standards.

The Puerto Rico Drug Control Office used The Competencies to develop the Addiction Prevention Specialist Licensure standards in Puerto Rico.


Competency 39

Provide the client and significant others with clarification and additional information as needed.


  • Verbal and nonverbal communication styles.
  • Methods to elicit feedback from the client and significant others.


  • Eliciting and integrating feedback during the planning process.
  • Working collaboratively with the client and significant others.
  • Establishing a trusting relationship with the client and significant others.


  • Willingness to communicate interactively with the client and significant others.
  • Openness to client questions and input.


Competency 40

Examine treatment options in collaboration with the client and significant others.


  • Treatment interventions, client placement criteria, and outside referral options.
  • Current research findings on various treatment models.
  • Alternatives to treatment, including no treatment.


  • Presenting the range of treatment options and settings available.
  • Using assessment data to make treatment recommendations.
  • Considering the client’s needs and prefer- ences when selecting treatment settings.
  • Using the treatment planning process to foster collaborative relationships with the client and significant others.


  • Willingness to negotiate treatment options with the client.
  • Openness to a variety of approaches.
  • Respect for the input of the client and significant others.


Competency 41

Consider the readiness of the client and significant others to participate in treatment.


  • Stages-of-change process.
  • Methods of tailoring treatment strategies to match the client’s motivational level.


  • Assessing the client’s stage of change.
  • Developing strategies to address ambivalence.
  • Eliciting the client’s preferences.
  • Promoting the client’s readiness to engage in treatment.


  • Respect for the client’s values, goals, and readiness to change.
  • Recognition and acceptance of behavioral change as a multistep process.



Competency 42

Prioritize the client’s needs in the order they will be addressed in treatment.


  • Treatment sequencing and the continuum of care.
  • Hierarchy-of-needs models.
  • Holistic view of the client’s biological, psychological, social, and spiritual needs and resources.


  • Accessing referral resources necessary to address the client’s needs.
  • Using clinical judgment in prioritizing client problems.
  • Assessing severity of client problems and prioritizing appropriately.


  • Recognition and acceptance of the client as an active participant in prioritizing needs.
  • Willingness to make referrals to address the client’s needs.


Competency 43

Formulate mutually agreed-on and measurable treatment goals and objectives.


  • Use of goals and objectives to individualize treatment planning.
  • Treatment needs of diverse populations.
  • How to write specific and measurable goal and objective statements.


  • Translating assessment information into measurable treatment goal and objective statements.
  • Collaborating with the client to develop specific, measurable, and realistic goals and objectives.
  • Engaging, contracting, and negotiating mutually agreeable goals with the client.
  • Writing goal and objective statements in terms understandable to the client and significant others.


  • Respect for the client’s choice of treatment goals.
  • Respect for the client’s individual pace toward achieving goals.
  • Acceptance of the client’s readiness to change.
  • Appreciation for incremental achievements in completing goals.

International Applications of The Competencies

International applications of The Competencies are noteworthy. It was translated for use in the Czech Republic, Greece, Hungary, and Slovakia. A Spanish translation has been completed. Committee members have provided consultation on The Competencies in American Samoa, Bulgaria, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, Poland, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, the Republic of Palau, Italy, Slovenia, and the Territory of Guam. The Competencies also is being considered for trainings in Thailand by a Thai delegation through CSAT. In addition, the Web site created for the original version of The Competencies has been visited by individuals from 34 countries.


Competency 44

Identify appropriate strategies for each treatment goal.


  • Intervention strategies, onsite services, and outside referral options.
  • Client’s interest in various treatment service options.
  • Treatment strategies sensitive to diverse populations.


  • Matching interventions to the client’s needs and resources.
  • Explaining strategies in terms understand- able to the client and significant others.
  • Identifying and making referrals to outside resources.


  • Recognition that client retention improves when services are matched to the client’s needs and resources.
  • Appreciation for various treatment strategies.


Competency 45

Coordinate treatment activities and community resources in a manner consistent with the client’s diagnosis and existing placement criteria.


  • Treatment strategies and community resources.
  • Contributions of other professionals and mutual- or self-help support groups.
  • Levels of care and existing placement criteria.
  • The importance of the client’s age, developmental and educational level, gender, and racial and ethnic culture in coordinating resources.


  • Coordinating treatment activities and resources consistent with the client’s needs and preferences.
  • Communicating to the client and signifi- cant others the rationale behind treatment recommendations.


  • Acceptance of a variety of treatment recommendations.
  • Recognition of the importance of coordinating treatment activities.


Competency 46

Develop with the client a mutually acceptable treatment plan and method for monitoring and evaluating progress.


  • The relationship among problem statements, treatment goals, objectives, and intervention strategies.
  • Short- and long-term treatment planning.
  • Methods for evaluating treatment progress.


  • Individualizing treatment plans that balance strengths and resources with problems and deficits.
  • Negotiating and contracting a mutually agreeable plan.
  • Writing a plan using positive, jargon-free, and proactive terms.
  • Establishing criteria to evaluate progress.


  • Sensitivity to the client’s age, developmental and educational level, gender, and racial and ethnic culture.
  • Appreciation for measurable criteria of client progress.
  • Willingness to negotiate a plan.


Competency 47

Inform the client of confidentiality rights, program procedures that safeguard them, and the exceptions imposed by regulations.


  • Federal, State, and agency confidentiality rules and regulations, requirements, and policies.
  • Resources for legal consultation.


  • Communicating the roles of various interested parties and support systems.
  • Explaining clients’ rights and responsibilities and applicable confidentiality rules and regulations.
  • Responding to questions and providing clarification as needed.
  • Referring to appropriate legal authority.


  • Respect for clients’ confidentiality rights.
  • Commitment to professionalism.
  • Recognition of the importance of professional collaboration within the bounds of confidentiality.


Competency 48

Reassess the treatment plan at regular intervals or when indicated by changing circumstances.


  • How to evaluate the client’s response to treatment.
  • When and how to revise the treatment plan.


  • Assessing the client’s response to treatment.
  • Modifying the treatment plan based on review of the client’s response to treatment and/or changing circumstances.
  • Negotiating changes to the plan with the client and significant others.


  • Recognition of the value of client input in revising the treatment plan.
  • Openness to critically examine one’s work.
  • Respect for the input of the client and significant others.
  • Willingness to learn from clinical supervi- sion and modify practice accordingly.


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