Hi Jacob and Katelyn,

Jacob, you asked if anyone has ever run into a situation where a client wants to use a form of alternative medicine. While I haven’t had this experience with any of my EPI clients as of yet, I have had an experience with a client in the past requesting prescribed cannabis from their psychiatrist. At that time, we had an up front discussion with the client around evidence-based practice and the fact that there is not enough research to support the use of medicinal cannabis for the client’s current condition. I had cautioned the client on the risks and benefits of cannabis use for the symptoms they were experiencing and offered psychoeducation around same. However, I also honoured the client’s right to choose their treatment path and validated their ambivalence around the western medical model approach and simply asked that they notify us if they decide to go down the alternative route so we can stay informed. In the end, the client decided to stick with the recommendations of their treating team.

Katelynn, I have also had discussions with clients around wanting to stop their medications due to side effects. I find having the discussion with them up front about finding that balance between a high enough dose to treat their symptoms and low enough dose so that they don’t have side effects can be helpful. I try to reassure them that it sometimes takes time to find that right balance and emphasize that we want them on the lowest dose possible to treat their symptoms without side effects but also don’t want the dose so low that they are struggling.
Very cool that your team has created a group venue for clients to potentially bring up sexual side effects! I’d be interested to hear how that goes! It sounds like it would be a very beneficial group for our EPI population. The only way I’ve successfully brought this up with clients is by normalizing the symptom (ie. “a lot of people taking this medication experience this symptom, is this something you are experiencing?”) and addressing it specifically as most clients find it a hard topic to bring up on their own.