Clients or Collaborators

“Is that person on your caseload your CLIENT or your COLLABORATOR?”

We, as speech-language pathologists, are well aware that for most paperwork and insurance-related things, the people on our caseloads are called “clients.” I get it. But as I continue to grow and evolve as a clinician, I find myself questioning the typical terminology. To me, the word “collaborator” feels better – it feels more real.

To me, “client” feels very one-way. Like, the individual is simply there to take from me, and that’s it. But that’s not how the therapeutic process works. There must be back-and-forth. There must be give and take between both parties involved. This is why “collaborator” resonates with me. I give, but I also take. And my collaborators take, but they also give.

In my definition, to collaborate with someone is to meet them with open arms and an open heart to work jointly on a shared project or activity. The therapeutic process, in my opinion, is a shared journey. We figure “it” out together. We brainstorm together. We are a team. And yes, the paperwork might say “client” or whatever, but that person is so much more than that. That person is my “collaborator,” and I value, respect, and NEED every single thing that my teammate brings to the table.

This is something I’ve been think about a lot, lately.

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