Interdisciplinary Collaboration: Best Practices for Partnering In Service of Our Clients

Topics covered:  Best practices for collaborating with professionals who complement our work and offer expertise our clients often need. “Having the right people to call on at the time when you need them.” Length: 45:31

Tip:  Have pen and paper handy, because this masterclass includes an practice exercise.

Class Notes

About Arianna Taboada, MSW, MPH

Arianna is a maternal health consultant for female entrepreneurs. She is trained in both social work and mental health.



Client challenges:

  • Husband in deportation process (incarcerated)

  • Unstable housing

  • Shift in income earning responsibilities

  • Four children

“Clearly beyond what we have the in-house capacity to address.”

  • The importance of recognizing when we cannot address all the needs, as well as when our larger system (our work context) is not set-up for implementing additional resources.

Things that can be done immediately:

  • Brief treatment

  • Crisis intervention

  • Solution-Focused techniques

Addressing therapist agency and feelings of ineffectiveness

Interdisciplinary collaboration is a way to reduce our sense of overwhelm, or ineffectiveness, when our clients are going through a variety of challenges.

What Arianna did:

  • She reached out to an existing countywide crisis system.

  • Marta was required to prioritize her own needs. This process gave her ownership over her requests and solutions.

Questions for apply best practices to your client/specific population:

  • What are the needs that are in my wheelhouse?

  • What are the needs outside of my wheelhouse that I want to be able to help clients resolve?

4 Steps for Practicing Interdisciplinary Collaboration (Application)

  1. Bring to mind particular client with complex needs

  2. Brainstorm a list of all the their needs

  3. Brainstorm the types of professionals that can meet those needs

  4. Assess who you have existing relationships, and identify who you do NOT have relationships on the list

Commit to routinely having “business dates” with allied professionals with the goal of understanding their area of expertise and vice versa.

Tips for Online Work

  • Find a larger/established network in the client’s local community.

  • Identify the type of professional needed, and utilize a network of providers that can further assess your client’s needs and refer to specific providers in their local area.

This topic's application to business

  • The way you design the services that you offer: Use allied professionals for referrals or include their services in your pricing/services.

  • Arianna mentions “strategic partnerships” and “coordinated care.” The result is the client experiences seamless service.

Arianna’s therapist story

  • How did you know you were headed toward burnout?

  • How did you know the answer was stepping away from one-on-one work, for a time?

She was at high risk, due to her client population, for suffering vicarious trauma.  She recognized the pattern of needing to “gear up” in order to do her work.  This was the sign that it was time for a change; self care activities were no longer enough for re-energizing.

Arianna moved from providing care to doing research. This led her to consider:

“What are the different roles that I can have?”

“What is most aligned with my own levels of what I can do day in and day out and feel good about?”

Arianna’s current ideal client:

  • Women who have a career they love, and are trying to balance that with having a baby.

  • Typically, clients are in their second trimester.  

  • She helps clients go through an individualized plan of what maternity looks like for each client’s business model and personal needs.

I asked Arianna, "What is the #1 thing that helps you live refreshed right now?"  Her answer:

"Every other month, I take four hours off, on either a Friday or Monday morning, to do whatever I want."