Description — Mapping Your Treatment Plan: A Collaborative Approach


About this intervention

This intervention is a mapping-focused guide for working with clients to establish meaningful and useful treatment goals.

Modular applications in this intervention include:

  • Introduction — Mapping, Collaboration, and Thoughtful Plans introduces the basics of node-link mapping, the use of structured maps for treatment planning, and the importance of developing the counselor-client relationship through collaboration. A thoughtful treatment plan with realistic and measurable goals helps focus the therapeutic relationship on a more hopeful tomorrow. This chapter is designed as a primer for treatment staff interested in simple, yet effective strategies to strengthen motivation and engagement in treatment through more effective treatment planning.
  • Session 1 — Getting Started: First Maps sets the collaborative tone for subsequent sessions and introduces the client to working with guide maps. The counselor takes the lead in introducing the guide map templates and inviting the client to add information to the “nodes.” These early guide map discussions center on the client’s experiences, both in the past and present. Clients are then invited to briefly discuss present issues of concern and how they have been coping to date. The session ends with an invitation for the client to consider what they hope to have different/better in their lives as a result of treatment.
  • Session 2 — Mapping Goals and Strategies helps clients identify salient goals to work on as part of treatment and to narrow those goals down to clear, specific, and practical plans. Clients first review their homework guide map about specific issues they want to address. A subsequent map is used to invite a conversation about specific steps to take first, followed by a map focusing on the personal strengths the client brings to deal with identified problems. Next, a “planning rocket” guide map is used to summarize the session and provide the client with
    a reminder of tasks for the coming weeks.
  • Session 3 — Mapping Progress and Future Plans uses further goal planning guide maps to help client summarize and assess steps taken toward goals and plan for future actions toward reaching goals. This session includes maps to (1) process successes to date toward taking a step or action, (2) engage in further decision-making about proposed actions toward goals, or (3) analyze reported problems or setbacks in addressing an issue or taking a step. Clients work on a map that summarizes their work on issues to date and complete a final map outlining the next goal they consider to be important. The guide maps in this session (and those from previous sessions) can be used again with clients in subsequent counseling sessions or as the need arises during the client’s treatment journey.
  • Mapping Bibliography — Bibliography and brief abstracts of mapping research studies.

Recommended Citation: Bartholomew, N. G., Dansereau, D. F., & Simpson, D. D. (2007). Mapping your treatment plan: A collaborative approach. Fort Worth: Texas Christian University, Institute of Behavioral Research. Available: the IBR Website: