Alcohol and Drug IOP

People who struggle with alcoholism, addiction and trauma aren’t alone. Small group sessions allow clients to learn and grow together, strengthening the healing process.

The basis for our Alcohol and Drug Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP) is based on the 12-steps of Alcoholics Anonymous and focuses on the philosophy of universality, the theory that no one is alone in the world. As clients are guided and supported by the clinician, they are able to let go of shame and guilt; which are the underlying factors behind all addictive behaviors. During meetings, patients are encouraged to share their thoughts, allowing them to feel heard and speak their minds. As patients release their emotions in the safe environment fostered by the group, they are able to process their thoughts and experiences. Patients can realize their mistakes and recognize the situations that led them to addiction. They can also discover traumas that may have been formative for their negative coping mechanisms which include the start of their substance abuse.

To address the trauma, multiple modalities will be used including trauma narrative (telling the story in order to release the shame) and Movement Desensitization Reprocessing (EMDR). EMDR changes the way the brain responds to external stimuli. Therapy normally involves sensory input such as changing lights, gentle buzzing from hand-held devices or sounds heard through headphones. As the sensory input switches back and forth from right to left, a patient tries to recall past trauma. Though the memories of the trauma remain, the chronic bodily and emotional reactions to the trauma dissolve.

In order to address the problems surrounding uncomfortable feelings we will teach skills from Dialectical-behavioral therapy (DBT). DBT combines cognitive and behavioral therapies to teach people healthy ways to handle painful emotions through acceptance and change. Originally developed in the 1970s by Marsha Linehan, PhD, to treat borderline personality disorders, DBT emphasizes skills like taking an emotional timeout, being present in the moment using all five senses, evaluating pros and cons and thinking about logical consequences in order to treat behavioral issues. Because borderline personality disorders often co-occur with substance abuse disorders, DBT has been adapted in recent years for the treatment of drug and alcohol addiction.

The Alcohol and Drug IOP will meet Monday and Wednesday from 5:30pm-8:30pm.