mY TREATMENT PHILOSOPHY
Addiction is a real illness and not a personal flaw or moral shortcoming. I believe people have to be educated about their illness and the thought process that supports it before they can manage it and achieve long term sobriety.
When I graduated college in 2005 I became the lead therapist of a chemical dependency rehab in an inpatient psych hospital. I walked away from those four years with a few invaluable lessons about treating addiction.
I cannot predict who will and will not get sober. In my early career, almost every time I thought I knew someone would get clean or keep using, I was proven wrong. The best way to monitor a person in treatment is listen to actions, not words. In order to change, someone has to have a problem. Professionally, this is called contemplation. When clients have a problem, they can get better.
There is no cookie cutter approach to sobriety. There is a concept in therapy called equifinality. It’s a fancy way of saying there are many ways to get to an end, and because of that there is no “right way”. When I treat people for chemical dependency and substance use disorders, I help my client learn what the options are, not chose the options for them. AA and NA are helpful, but not for everyone. Spirituality is great, but not for everyone. As long as sobriety is achieved, it doesn’t really matter to me how you get there…and there are many ways to get there!
Chemical dependency is deadly and no one is immune. The personal and professional losses I have experienced due to the illness are numerous. People I thought were immune to death because of how intelligent, supported, or loved they were died just the same as anyone else struggling with chemical dependency. I have experience working with families trying to cope with a family member that is using or deal with grief and loss when the family member passes away or is jailed long term.
Creating lasting change
I use the Stages of Change Model to evaluate my clients readiness for change, especially when it comes to substance use disorders.
A person that is in a stage of pre-contemplation does not have a problem and therefore can not be treated.
How would I treat a problem that doesn’t exist? Family members and loved ones of people in this stage are very frustrated and feel crazy trying to manage their loved one, or their behavior. Real life problems such as divorce, car accidents, health or legal problems, job loss, or DUI eventually catch up to a person in this stage, creating a problem.
Click the button below for more information about this model and what is necessary to make lasting, significant changes in your life.