In the Dear Collaborative column, we answer YOUR questions about TCOM or the TCOM tools (CANS, ANSA-T, ANSA). Have questions and want answers? Submit your questions through the Contact page and look for the answer in the next edition of Dear Collaborative.
Q1: I find the strengths and needs scoring differences difficult to remember. Can you help?
A1: Absolutely. It can be confusing that the ratings for strengths go in the opposite direction as the ratings for needs. A simple way to remember is that a zero is always the most positive in both areas and go from there. A zero in needs means there is no evidence of a need which is generally positive. A zero in strengths means there is a centerpiece strength which is also positive. So, if you start with a zero in your mind equaling positive you can go from there on any item, be it a need or a strength.
Q2: Asking all these questions to families and clients takes too long and isn’t what I became a therapist for. Why do I have to do this?
A2: Great question! I bet you became a therapist to help people and support them to make their lives better. This is what the TCOM tools were developed for as well. Without tools to organize all the information families and clients share with us, we won’t have a roadmap to know where we’re going. The CANS/ANSA framework helps us make sure that the client, family, and therapist all share an understanding of what treatment is for and what we’re doing together. CANS/ANSA helps us to organize client needs and strengths and track progress throughout our work. Using the tools doesn’t look any one way with clients. Every therapist should think about their own family, client engagement style and strengths and then work with their supervisor to figure out how to share the CANS/ANSA with the clients and their families so they understand the tool and can work with you to identify what their own needs, strengths, and shared goals are for treatment. If you don’t have a roadmap, you’re likely to be lost a lot!
Q3: As a supervisor, how can I help my supervisees learn to be really good at using the CANS/ANSA?
A3: Supervisors are so important in helping the CANS/ANSA be more than just “another form that has to be completed.” You can make sure it’s what it should be: a strategic tool that helps everyone involved in a case communicate and support transformation and change. Learning takes time and has stages. Supervisors can support staff from the first stage of just getting certified through to becoming advanced CANS/ANSA users if you integrate learning into supervision sessions. A few suggestions for early stage users: Ask them to pretend they are explaining to another professional why they use the CANS or ANSA. Make sure you can explain it too! If either you or your supervisor are stuck here, go back to the website materials and videos or sign up for one of our in person trainings like “TCOM in supervision.” Our training calendar is always posted on Schoox.
Blog content is created by the shared effort of the Alameda TCOM Collaborative members. Send feedback through the Contact page.