Addiction to alcohol, opiates, cocaine, meth-amphetamine and other drugs has been universally identified as a “chronic brain based disease.” As with any chronic, progressive disease (diabetes and hyper-tension are others), there are varying degrees of “severity.” For example, those who suffer from high blood pressure may be able to regulate it easily through diet and exercise, while others struggle to keep their blood pressure at safe levels even with proper diet, exercise and medication. The same variations exist for those battling addictive disorders. Addicts often display an abandonment of values, morals and, at times, the very instinct to survive. An addictive disorder can totally derail a human life, causing great pain and suffering for the affected person, as well as the loved ones watching in horror and disbelief.
Unfortunately, most people with addictive disorders have been treated as “bad” people for so long that believe it and are highly affected by shame and depression (often felt as anxiety). Professional medical/behavioral treatment is a means for them to understand their illness, overcome depression and regain self-confidence.
Pathways integrates the 12-Step process throughout the treatment experience. The effect of combined therapeutic interventions and 12-Step recovery activities are proven to provide higher rates of abstinence and improved results. Daily attendance at 12-Step meetings not only promotes new recovery orientated behaviors, but also helps clients build a sober support network. Through this participation, clients are exposed to the vital roles that regular meeting attendance, accountability through sponsorship, and step work play in building a strong foundation for ongoing recovery.
Therapeutic groups, focusing on the first three steps, help clients move through the initial denial and uncertainty often common in early recovery. Additionally, yoga, with an emphasis on embracing spiritual principles behind the step, has been integrated into the treatment process.
Regardless if a client lives locally or is from another geographic region, involvement in 12-Step activities helps ease the transition as clients return to their communities.
Pathways utilizes treatment strategies that specifically address anger management and relapse prevention. The Anger Management treatment strategy provides a cognitive-behavioral construct for understanding how anger results in destructive behaviors. The program also assists individuals with identifying healthy coping mechanisms to reduce these destructive behaviors. The Relapse Prevention treatment strategy utilizes cognitive-behavioral techniques to assist individuals with creating a thorough plan for the prevention of future relapses.
Motivational Enhancement Therapy (MET) is a client-centered counseling approach for initiating behavior change by helping clients resolve ambivalence about engaging in treatment and stopping drug use. This approach employs strategies to evoke rapid and internally motivated change in the client, rather than guiding the client stepwise through the recovery process. This therapy consists of an initial assessment session, followed by two to four individual treatment sessions with a therapist. The first treatment session focuses on providing feedback generated from the initial assessment to stimulate discussion regarding personal substance use and elicit self-motivational statements. Motivational interviewing principles are used to strengthen motivation and build a plan for change. Coping strategies for high-risk situations are suggested and discussed with the client. In subsequent sessions, the therapist monitors change, reviews cessation strategies and continues to encourage commitment to change or sustained abstinence.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is based on the scientific fact that our thoughts cause our feelings and behaviors, not external things, like people, situations and events. The benefit of this fact is that we can change the way we think to feel/act better even if the situation does not change. CBT is based on the scientifically supported assumption that most emotional and behavioral reactions are learned. Therefore, the goal of therapy is to help clients unlearn their unwanted reactions and learn a new way of reacting. While CBT therapists do not present themselves as “know-it-alls,” the assumption is that if clients knew what the therapist had to teach them, clients would not have the emotional/behavioral problems they are experiencing.
Specifically designed to meet the needs of clients with a long list of substance abuse related legal issues, the Extended Care Forensic tract uses a treatment method called Moral Reconation Therapy (MRT). Pathways pioneered using this evidence-based treatment method in a community-based addiction treatment setting, however, MRT was first used in the criminal justice system with great success. In short, MRT fosters the development of “pro-social” thoughts, relationships and loyalties in clients who are diagnosed with anti-social behavioral disorder. Individuals with this diagnosis tend to have no regard for laws or rules, show a lack of remorse for hurtful and illegal actions and often have repeated legal issues.
The co-occurring tract of the Extended Care Program was designed for clients managing an addictive disorder while being affected by mental illness and/or developmental disorders. Clients in this program receive a thorough psychiatric evaluation and, when appropriate, medication management services before learning to successfully manage mental illness and substance abuse disorders simultaneously. The Pathways treatment team is trained in evidence-based practices shown to be effective in assisting co-occurring clients.
Addressing the trauma through a specialized trauma treatment plan greatly improves the chances of sobriety in trauma victims. One treatment methodology is called Rapid Resolution Therapy® (RRT). Developed by Dr. Jon Connelly, RRT® eliminates the negative emotional or behavioral influence of traumatic events, whether these experiences are remembered, repressed or forgotten. It is not necessary to relive past events or experience any pain. The mind is cleared, organized and optimized. There are dramatic improvements in thoughts, feelings and behavior. Unconscious conflicts blocking desired change are pinpointed and resolved. As the root cause of problems is cleared, positive change endures.1
1Information taken from The Institute for Rapid Resolution Therapy website, www.rapidresolutiontherapy.com.