A Collaborative, Effective Approach
At Balance House, we believe in individualized treatment planning, intensive family involvement and collaboration with professionals. Having a professional alliance as we walk patients and families through this difficult time is crucial and we want you with us every step of the way. That includes weekly progress reports and phone calls and/or whatever you need that will support the patient’s success. Discharge planning and reintegration back to the community is high on our priority list and we will collaborate with you as we discuss the next phases of treatment.
Research has shown time and time again that long-term treatment works. What do we mean by long-term treatment? Titrated clinical services are provided in all four levels of care (phase 1, extended care, structured sober living, and transitional living) so that we can get the mind (thinking), the heart (emotional stability), and the feet (action-based programming) all moving in the same direction. This requires our team to observe benchmarks (Is he going to school? Is he smiling more often than frowning? Is he cleaning his room? Is he telling the truth? Is he laughing? Is he home by curfew, for Phases II and III? Is he saving money and sticking to his budget? Etc) that clearly show where in our program he will be successful, and when he is ready to leave. Such benchmarks are based on the Balance House Philosophy (what we’ve seen work), what you, the professional, recommend, what the family would like to see, and most importantly, what the client’s wishes are. When patients stay for our full continuum of care, they leave with over one year of sobriety, employment, healthier relationships and self-sufficiency. With that being said, we also understand that every person is different and there is no “one size fits all.” We also understand telling someone they are coming to treatment for a year can be terrifying and we are happy to work with them at any stage. If it is only 30 days to start, that is okay. Our clinical team and medical director can assess the patient’s level of functioning and treatment needs to determine where the patient is and how to set them up for success.
Our clinical team at Balance House believes in viewing clinical issues through the lens of attachment theory. Attachment refers to a quality of our interpersonal relationships. Securely attached individuals are typically able to develop trusting relationships, set appropriate boundaries, rely on others to share their emotions and feel comfortable with their own self-worth. Insecure attachment includes negative perceptions of self and others, that prevent people from developing intimate relationships. Helping those struggling with addiction develop a capacity for healthy attachments is the core of addiction treatment. Relationships not only help the recovering person learn new coping skills and find support from others, but to provide an alternative way to regulate affect and deal with emotions. At Balance House, we believe that people in recovery must first detach from addictive substances and behaviors in order to develop the capacity to build and sustain healthy relationships.
Along with attachment theory, we believe in using humanistic approaches, such as Emotion-Focused Therapy and Inner child concepts to get the root of the causes of addiction. Through evidenced-based practices like Narrative Therapy, Cognitive Behavior Therapy, Dialectical Behavior Therapy and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, patients are able to separate themselves from their problems, negative thoughts and uncomfortable emotions. These interventions help people rely on their own skills to minimize problems they are facing. Throughout life, personal experiences become personal stories. Helping individuals start to realize they are not as broken as they think they are and finding confidence, self-worth and self-determination is our vision and hope for all of our patients.
We believe in trauma-informed care. Our clinical director, Catie Cartisano, has years of experience working with some of the most traumatized populations including combat veterans at the Department of Veterans Affairs and inmates at the Utah State Prison. This experience has prepared her to work with severe cases of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. She and our clinical staff are highly trained in evidenced-based modalities and have experience in approaching treatment from a trauma lens. Our clinical director and MFT are both EMDR-certified therapists and believe in using this specialized psychotherapy to treat trauma. EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) is a psychotherapy that enables people to heal from the symptoms and emotional distress that are the result of disturbing life experiences. Repeated studies show that by using EMDR therapy people can experience the benefits of psychotherapy that once took years to make a difference.
We also have a strong recreational therapy component, as we live in one of the most beautiful states in the country. The mountains and lakes in Utah allow patients to longboard, hike, fish, ski, bike, snowboard, paddleboard and engage many other activities. We will have moonlight process groups, daytime trips to the lake, and camping under the stars. There will be a lot of therapy going on outside of the group room.
By the time a person has reached this level of care, there are usually other underlying issues. Our doctor and clinical staff will assess and recommend patients for psychological testing when necessary. We believe in waiting to do any testing for at least 30 days, just because we believe the testing is more accurate. Testing someone right out of detox is not the best time; however, we do believe they will be crucial as a person moves forward in their recovery. We are open to testing right away if there is an Advanced Directive or if you, as the referring professional, thinks it would be helpful. Again, we want to work with you every step of the way.
A medication evaluation will be completed upon admission by our medical director. If the patient is prescribed medication, our staff will manage the meds for the duration of stay, even during aftercare. We believe teaching patients medication management as they go through our phases of treatment is vital for success. It is not uncommon, as I am sure you know, for patients to stop taking their medication because they “feel better.”
We believe in the family being highly engaged in the treatment process. That includes one family therapy session per week, family intensives every 4-6 weeks depending on length of stay and weekly updates from a therapist and program director. We will ask the parents to come to our facility, if feasible, for the family intensives. We will keep these small and intimate, so their will only be three to four families at a time. They will engage in family therapy, have meals together, learn about how to reconnect with each other and have some fun. If this is not possible, we can do the intensives via skype or zoom. We also understand that some family dynamics can be detrimental and/or unsafe for our patients. We will adjust as needed and again, ask for your support in managing complex cases.