Tuesday, 24 June 2008

Who is the client?

‘Each era of addiction treatment opens with a vision of addicts voluntarily entering treatment and closes when such treatment results almost exclusively from coercion. The “client” whom treatment institutions serve cyclically vacillates between the individual addict and community social and economic institutions. Addiction treatment swings back and forth between a technology of personal transformation and a technology of coercion. When the latter dominates, counselors become, not helpers, but behavioral police. The fact that today’s treatment institutions often serve more than one master has created the ethical dilemma of “double agentry,” wherein treatment staff profess allegiance to the interests of the individual client, while those very interests may be compromised by the interests of other parties to whom the institution has pledged its loyalty.’

William L White in ‘Slaying the Dragon: The History of Addiction Treatment and Recovery in America’ (1998), pp 335.


Anonymous said...

Just as worrying is the quote on page 332:

"Most professionals simply do not like alcoholics and addicts"

I have met many fantastic drug workers in Criminal Justice settings. I have met policemen who have genuine compassion. At the end of the day people change people. Sadly, I have met many self proclaimed harm reductionists who feel threatened by addicts who want or are in recovery because it makes them feel uncomfortable. Because they enjoy a drink, a spliff, a line or a pill, they cant imagine life withour drink and drugs. They dont like the idea of total abstinence and this can easily translate into a dislike for people who practice total abstinence. I remember how excited we all were about Harm Reduction in 1986. I remember putting together the first copy of 'Smack In The Eye'. Harm Reduction felt like the enlightenment. I feel exactly the same now about the recovery movement. So, yes you can be a harm reductionist and a supporter of recovery. But we must "...[escape] the mutual contempt that has haunted the addict-professional relationship for more than a century" p333

tim1leg said...

Under a system of dual agency, that we clearly have at present we have an attempt to represent, and solicite funds/outcomes from both sides of the transaction.

This creates a lack of transparency and fundamental conflict of interest. As it is in any business/industry retaining objective representation in a transaction is crucial to maximizing value and ensuring that all terms are negotiated and executed favorably, in your and the clients best interest if that business is to remain sustainable and successful.

The dual agency brokerage system does not serve the client well plain and simple. As When a broker/worker represents both buyer and seller in the same transaction and essentially our clients are buyers and Agencies are sellers of a servivce, inevitable conflicts of interests occur.

The seller/worker is incentivized to maximize his fees/funding rather than to focus on realizing the client’s needs. Again plain and simple lets not pretend otherwise anymore as thousands continue to suffer.