Common Questions


What makes your approach any different from other addiction programs?

We recognize that any form of lasting psychological or behavioral change must fit within the person’s belief system and personal goals.  We see our job as working collaboratively with you to create the changes that you are willing to make.  In comparison, the majority of addiction programs have predetermined goals and tasks for clients and do not take a truly individualized approach.  This one-size-fits-all approach accounts for a great deal of the lack of success in the addiction treatment industry.  

 

How long will I need your services?

That depends on you.  Because we individualize our work with you, we cannot predetermine the length of time it will take for you to feel successful.  We focus on short-term services, providing only as many sessions as you believe to be valuable.  We will collaborate with you on the frequency of appointments, the focus of the sessions, and the expected value of continued sessions.  Lasting change happens outside of the counseling office, so our focus is to help you to successfully manage your real world environment without reverting back to addictive behavior.  Research into the effectiveness of brief interventions has consistently shown them to be as successful as longer-term and more intensive interventions.  Click here for a link to the summary of a meta-analysis comparing effectiveness of various therapeutic approaches to alcohol abuse and dependence (note where 12-Step Facilitation and Alcoholics Anonymous ranked in comparison to other approaches) 


Can I really learn to moderate my use?

That also depends on you.  If your goal is moderation, we will work with you on creating an individualized plan to successfully moderate your use.  We will help you identify and manage the barriers that may interfere with your success.  We have found that few people who have wanted to return to moderate use have actually had a good plan designed to achieve success.  If, despite having a good plan, and troubleshooting difficulties in implementing that plan, you find that your use remains excessive, it may be a good indication to both of us that an experiment with abstinence is worth attempting.

 

Which addictions do you work with?

We recognize the commonalities involved in quitting addictive behavior, whether the addiction is to alcohol or other drugs or to behaviors such as gambling, shopping, sex, overeating, internet, etc.  We recognize that we are working with people who have addiction problems.  We focus on you as a person, not just on your behavior.

 

My loved one has an addiction, what can I do?

We understand the distress caused by having an addicted loved one.  We offer consultations and counseling geared toward helping you manage your own distress and identifying specific behavioral interventions you can use to influence your loved one to change his or her addictive behavior.  We utilize a model known as CRAFT (Community Reinforcement and Family Training), which has been empirically demonstrated to be effective in helping people positively influence their loved one’s addictive behavior.  We do not subscribe to the view that you are “codependent,” and part of a “family disease.”  

 

Do you accept insurance?

No, we do not accept insurance.  We have found that a majority of clients prefer to self-pay, either due to the fear of having a diagnosis of addiction on their permanent medical and insurance records, or due to the limited rate of reimbursement that most insurance plans provide for outpatient addiction services.

 

If addiction is not a disease, what is it?

While the disease model of addiction continues to be supported by many institutions such as the American Medical Association and the National Institute of Drug Abuse, there are significant limitations in its ability to adequately explain the phenomena of addiction.  We hold the view that addiction is primarily based in psychological and social phenomenon.  That is, people choose to engage in addictive behavior based upon their expectations of what the behavior will do for them.  These choices are typically focused on the immediate short-term benefits of the behavior (ex., getting drunk in order to escape feeling lonely), and ignoring the long-term effects (tomorrow’s hangover or anger from a loved one).  The disease model contends that “addicts” are “out of control” having lost the ability to moderate (their disease takes over their behavior).  Our psycho-social view (and common sense) recognize that each time a person engages in their addictive behavior they are choosing to for its expected short-term benefits.  Addictive behavior is not out-of-control behavior, it is purposeful behavior based upon a desire to feel better in the moment.  It cannot be overstated how helpful this view is for people in overcoming their addiction.  Rather than being at the mercy of an incurable disease that can take over their behavior at any time, we teach our clients that they are always in control of their behavior and have the ability to choose addictive behavior or refrain from it.  Understanding that one is in control of his or her behavior fosters a sense of self-efficacy in being able to make desired changes.  Self-efficacy (the belief that you are able to successfully achieve a particular goal) has been repeatedly shown in psychological research to be a key component in a variety of behavior change, including overcoming addictions.  Research in self-efficacy was pioneered by Stanford University professor, Albert Bandura.  Here is link to a chapter on self-efficacy written by Dr. Bandura.

 

 

Isn’t group counseling a necessary part of overcoming addiction?

While group counseling and self-help groups such as AA can be valuable in helping some people overcome addictive behaviors, group participation is not necessary for successful outcomes.  We have worked with many people who are motivated to work on overcoming their addictive behavior, but are not interested in disclosing their problems in a group format.  Most clients prefer the confidentiality offered in individual sessions, particularly when first addressing their addiction.