Solutions Treatment Center Blog

Musings and interesting content by Solutions' staff and directors

The Solutions Method® Boundaries Week

At the core of the Solutions Method® to treatment is a 17-week therapeutic themed curriculum.  This week, our core theme for our Intensive Out-Patient and Out-Patient Programs is Personal Boundaries. We will spend the entire week exploring this important aspect of developing relational wellness. The overriding goal of this theme is to work with clients to develop skills in setting boundaries with others regarding how our clients wish to be treated and to explore parameters around personal space and safety. This tends to be a big week in the wellness journey as many clients find they do not have many experiences with healthy boundaries.

Over the course of the fifteen hours that we meet (3 hours a day for five days), we present each Solutions Method theme in the context of four key areas:

  1. Psycho-Education – Providing information on the theme such as definitions, origins and various points of view
  2. Personal awareness – Identify how it applies to the individual and which areas of their lives are impacted
  3. Process – Understand and explore how the information presented effects their lives and where changes may need to be made
  4. Skills application as an ongoing practice – Learn ways to apply the theme in everyday experiences, relationships and means to sustain the new awareness

How much space do you need?
One area we explore in depth is sensory boundaries. This is also called proprioception, or the ability to cultivate an awareness of space and things around oneself using the five senses. This gives clients the opportunity to set up their personal sense of safe space and discover how much space they need in order to feel comfortable. Clients learn to discern where they are comfortable in relationship to another person in physical space. In general we find:

  • 0-2 feet for intimate relationship
  • 1-3 feet for familial space
  • 3-6 feet for strangers
  • 6-12 feet for groups

The benefit of this work is that it helps clients to clearly identify and recognize where oneself ends and another person begins.

Activities
Throughout the week we engage in boundary exercises through visualization, role playing, experiential techniques or by physical creation using clay, pen on paper, or other art materials. The purpose is to have a hands-on experience of boundaries and to process how it feels to apply them in relationship with partners, parents, children, coworkers and friends. We want clients to have plenty of practice in establishing boundaries.

Use “I” Statements
In order to apply this principle, we offer the opportunity for role playing which helps the client conceptualize, understand and learn how to use words to set boundaries.

When using Istatements to express what one needs without judgement of self and others, it offers a tool for more productive communication in creating healthy boundaries. We also make time for our clients to role play with a peer who may play the role of the wiser self so they are able to hear what self acceptance and wisdom sounds like through this compassionate voice.

Pattern Exploration
During this week we also explore patterns of family enabling and enmeshment as it relates to boundaries and work on skills and healthy behaviors to avoid codependent tendencies. For example, we recognize that boundaries can often be too rigid, some clients close themselves off and need assistance in learning to accept help.

Seeking Safety
We incorporate some of the tools and worksheets for our boundaries theme from Seeking Safety, an evidence-based, present-focused counseling manual that helps people who have experienced trauma and/or substance abuse. Examples include Setting Boundaries in Relationships in which clients are able to explore ‘Healthy Boundaries’, ‘Too Much Closeness’, ‘Too Much Distance’, and/or ‘Getting Out of Abusive Relationships’. A consistent tool from Seeking Safety that applies to any of our weekly themes is Grounding Techniques in which a client learns to detach themselves from emotional pain in order to increase management of their actions.

Practice New Behaviors
An essential part of the weekly program structure is teaching clients new skills in establishing boundaries and being able to practice them. Examples of these new behaviors may include, role playing in establishing physical boundaries of moving away, moving forward, sitting in a chair or putting an object between themselves and another person, such as a purse or a table. Another new behavior clients may practice is learning how to saying “no.” This sounds simple, but many people with substance abuse or a history of trauma are unable or uncomfortable to say no.

Learning to establish healthy boundaries is critical in long term healing and recovery. When we have rigid boundaries we may not allow others in emotionally and may feel lonely and isolated. Conversely, if our boundaries are too loose, we may take on more than we should or do things for others to our own detriment. Boundaries week is a very important part of our program for all of our clients.   

Working With the Medicine Wheel to Help Heal Grief and Loss

Solutions Treatment Center is proud to host professional training and CEU opportunities for those in the Substance Abuse, Mental and Behavioral Health Treatment Fields 
(Workshops provide 3 CEU credits each)

                                                            Title:                                         Working With the Medicine Wheel   to Help Heal Grief and Loss

Date:                                       December 16, 2017                           9:00 am-Noon

Presented by:                                   Carol Parker PhD, LPCC

Description:                                                                                                                                            This workshop will integrate age-old wisdom teachings with our contemporary   experiences of grief and loss. Carol will present activities and practices that can be   utilized with individuals and groups..

Price:                                                                                                                                                       Single 3-hour Workshop: $75.82
 10% Discount Fee for Students: $68.24

Call (505) 388-2361 extension 809 or e-mail jacquelyn@treatmentconsultants.net for more information or to pre-register. 

Drop-in workshop participants are welcome, but pre-registration is encouraged as space is limited! Approved CEU Provider by New Mexico Counseling & Therapy Practice Board and the New Mexico Board of Social Workers

How Perinatal Experiences Shape our Clients’ Lives

Solutions Treatment Center is proud to host professional training and CEU opportunities for those in the Substance Abuse, Mental and Behavioral Health Treatment Fields 
(Workshops provide 3 CEU credits each)

                                                            “How Perinatal Experiences Shape our Clients’ Lives” 

             November 18, 2017                                 9:00 am-Noon

Presented by:  Emma Simmons MA, LPCC and Scott Zamurut, RCST®

 

Description:  Our birth is a transition from one world to another, offering both triumphs and challenges. How we navigate our birth can leave a significant imprint on mind and body, such as experiences of abandonment and alienation. In this presentation we will introduce 4 themes of birth: meeting obstacles, finding direction, achieving completion, and integrating into the new. We will also explore possible pathways for transformation.

Price: Single 3-hour Workshop: $75.82
10% Discount Fee for Students: $68.24

Call (505) 388-2361 extension 809 or e-mail jacquelyn@treatmentconsultants.net for more information or to pre-register. 

Drop-in workshop participants are welcome, but pre-registration is encouraged as space is limited! Approved CEU Provider by New Mexico Counseling & Therapy Practice Board and the New Mexico Board of Social Workers

Understanding Process Addictions

Addiction isn’t limited to drugs and alcohol. These are substance addiction. However, we can become addicted to almost anything.

Many people know that gambling can be an addiction, but it isn’t to a substance. It’s a process addiction, as are addictions to food, sex, internet, gaming, work, relationships, you name it. These addictions are just as real, and affect all parts of person’s life, including their brain chemistry, just as a drug can.

Any process of thinking about something or choosing behaviors can also become addictive. It depends on how and why we’re thinking and/or behaving the way we are. Is it to avoid feeling too much pain? To avoid dealing with everyday life? Because we’re unhappy with the choices we’ve made?

Are your behaviors negatively affecting your life? Do you keep repeating them, even if you don’t want to?

Process addiction treatment needs to guided by experts who understand the underlying issues. There are important questions to be answered:

  • Why are you behaving this way?
  • How and when did the pattern begin?
  • What can be done now to get your life back on track?
  • Where else might this pattern be causing you harm?

Dr. Melanie Harth

Call and talk with an Intake Counselor, no charge:
877-499-1354 or 505-369-2777– We will be glad to help you understand process addictions and if they might be affecting you or a loved one.

Parenting a Troubled Teen? – Understanding Co-Dependency

Parenting a Troubled TeenThere are many ways to define co-dependence and codependency among troubled teens. However, the essence of what definitions are getting at is that codependency among troubled teens leads to an inability to have mutually satisfying relationships with others. Trying to help a teen with codependency issues is no easy task. It is important to try not to get overly frustrated or lose hope, and know that there are ways to help.

In order to try to understand the effects of co-dependency among trouble teens let’s look at a fictional example of two different families:

In family one, there’s a mom, dad, older daughter, and a younger son. Mom and Dad are well aware of the fact that their son has been maxing out credit card after credit card on his expensive heroin addiction. Mom and dad let their son get away with maxed out credit cards, late nights of partying, and defiance towards all rules. It might be the case that mom and dad do not want their son to stray any further from their family than he already has, and for that reason they tolerate all his negative behaviors. What they also might be thinking is that by bailing him out of trouble, and giving him another chance it will ultimately lead to their son eradicating those negative behaviors on his own.

What might be difficult for this family to understand is that leniency is having a negative effect on their son’s life. Lashing out and disobedience can be signs of a person reaching out for a more intimate and emotional connection. Troubled teens with codependency issues often are unaware of constructive ways of getting parental attention; therefore they rebel and gain attention any way they can.

Now, let’s look at another example: In this family, Mom and Dad’s stance towards parenting stands a greater chance of being helpful. Instead of putting the relationship between them and their son on the back-burner, they actively try to become involved in what he is doing. They provide their son with the necessary tools to make informed decisions about his life, positive reinforcement, and emphasize the power he has to forge his future. Instead of creating an imbalanced relationship wherein one party has all the power, they have created something much more productive; a son who is able to think for himself, who has positive role models, and who is not afraid to ask for help.

Troubled teens with codependency issues are often in relationships where there is a power imbalance; they let the feelings and actions of another person affect them to the point that they feel like they have lost control of their own lives.

If you struggle with a teenager who is showcasing signs of co-dependence, or better yet, if you would like to avoid going down that path all together, practice good communication. Create relationships based on trust, instead of threats. Talk to your teenagers about the importance of learning self-worth, about how people in relationships should be able to speak without fear and with confidence that they will be heard and appreciated.

If your teenager needs help with issues of codependency, or if you as a parent struggle with the same issues, come to Solutions Treatment Center. Our IOP includes a family therapy component that can start mending a relationship in need of a little TLC.

Understanding Anger

Understanding AngerIn my first job as a mental health counselor, one of my clinical supervisors taught me something that has always stuck with me. He said that “all anger comes from fear or pain.” This was a simple sentence that has had a profound impact on my ability to be present with clients even in their anger and rage.

If you add the word shame to this theory, after 16 years I can honestly say that I have never worked with a client with chronic anger issues for whom this was not true. I have learned how important it is to look at what is underneath the anger and to have compassion for the individual for whatever it was that originally created that condition.

In the book Anger Alcoholism and Addiction, authors Ronald and Patricia Potter-Efron list some of the most common ways that chronic anger can serve someone.

If you think that inappropriate anger might be getting in the way of what you want for yourself, or if you’ve been told that you may have an issue with anger, Solutions: Santa Fe can help.

Our treatment team is highly skilled at helping people find emotional balance, and teaching anger management skills including breathing techniques, mindfulness tools, and uncomplicated cognitive behavioral suggestions (CBT).

We also offer specialized services such as acupuncture and Reiki sessions, both of which have been successful in helping people who are dealing with anger management issues.

Amy Lashway, MA, LPC, NCC

Solutions – we can help you find your way again. Call one of our intake counselors for a free consultation – 877-499-1354 or 505-424-3170.

Musings on Happiness

Musings on HappinessIn a society where happiness is thought to be something that can be accomplished by an external force or object such as relationships, wealth, or beauty, it is no wonder why we have such trouble being happy and remaining happy in our lives.

There are plenty of people who think, “If only I had more money I would be happy, it would fix all my problems.” Others may think, “If only I was thinner, stronger, or more attractive I would be able to feel good, be able to succeed in life, and be happy.” Many others think, “If only I could find the right person to spend my life with, then I would feel complete and be happy.” Every person has that one thing, that golden ticket, which they believe will make them happy. These external forces may bring us some temporary happiness and a sense of wholeness, but they are not long-term solutions. Without other tools, they will leave us feeling empty and unresolved.

So, the question remains: What do I need to do to be happy? We have all heard advice from other people about what we should do and what really works for them. To truly be happy, and the only thing that holds for each individual,is to look within: Stop looking outside for the answers. Sometimes when we look inside ourselves we do not like what we see and we find that it is easier to blame others for our shortcomings. Instead of blaming others or even being hard on ourselves, try looking at yourself without judgment and take notice of what is going on. Do you find that there are areas in your life that you struggle with constantly? Areas that are in constant repeat, preventing you from living a fulfilling life? If so, maybe it’s time to take a look at these areas and consider how you can fulfill your needs in a healthy and productive manner. The result is a happy life.

Although we do have common needs as people, each person has different struggles, goals, and preferences. As such, the first step is really getting to know yourself and who you really are. This is not easy, as there are so many subtle expectations in society that bombard us and prevent us from realizing our true needs. Once you know who you are, what you need and–equally important–what you do not need, you can begin the journey of happiness and joy.

Some people look inward with tools like meditation, prayer, or therapy. There are also ways to express these inner feelings and needs with art, music, reading, or writing. Once we look inward, and better know what we need, there is opportunity to embark on a journey and live a life that brings us happiness. It is very hard work, it will challenge you. You will have to constantly work toward it and better yourself and see yourself as worthy of the best. When working toward happiness you will need to work on communicating your needs, taking responsibility for your actions, forgiving yourself and others, and experience your emotions fully. We are often so full of so many things that there is no room for happiness, so emptying ourselves of these burdens and weights that we carry around grants us more room for happiness.

Remember, we are human and we make mistakes. We have our sad days, and we have our bad days. There are road blocks and frustrations in everyone’s life. This is inevitable. Once we know more about ourselves, though, we will be more kind to ourselves and to others when something unpleasant comes up. We can allow ourselves to feel sad or disappointed but know in our hearts that there is hope, joy, and happiness at our core.

Perhaps the most exciting part about going through this journey is that we become better at building and maintaining relationships, while simultaneously attracting like-minded people and great opportunities in our lives.

Anxiety Help Checklist

  • Anxiety Help ChecklistExcessive worry
  • Restlessness, edginess that lasts longer than an hour or so, a few days a week
  • Feeling tired for no reason
  • Irritability
  • Difficulty concentrating; sometimes your mind just goes blank
  • Sleep disturbances; it takes a long time to fall asleep, waking up in the night with a racing mind
  • Fearful thoughts that occur frequently
  • Feeling sometimes as though you need something to stop your mind from racing, thus overindulging in too many sweets or other foods.
  • Excessive use of alcohol or drugs (or regularly take some sort of pill – whether it is over-the-counter or a prescription) to help you get through your day or fall asleep

We can help you if you discover that you are struggling with two of these (or more) on a few days every week.

Solutions Treatment Center offers help with anxiety issues. Call one of our counselors now for a free consultation 877-499-1354 or 505-424-3170.

The Importance of Clinical Supervision

Good clinical supervision is essential for assuring a therapy practice or treatment center is offering the best clinically driven, ethical, client centered services possible. While most clinicians and licensed therapists are required to obtain a certain number of supervision hours for their private practices, unfortunately, many facilities and treatment centers do no place enough (if any) emphasis on their treatment teams getting good, consistent clinical supervision on an ongoing basis.

Clinical supervision provides a number of benefits for therapists and the staff as a whole:

  • Clinical supervision can help staff to identify and cope with the personal and professional stressors inherent in working in the mental health and addictions field. This is especially true for those who work with people who may be dealing with difficult issues and can be damanding as clients. Clinical supervision provides a safe and confidential place to explore their own personal and emotional reactions or “counter transference” issues that may otherwise get in the way of a healthy therapeutic alliance.
  • Clinical supervision can allow the therapist to reflect on their own history and personal experiences that may otherwise, subconsciously affect the client therapist relationship. They can receive feedback and recommendations from another professional on their approach/style that is separate from management or evaluative considerations.
  • Clinical supervision can be an aspect of the therapist’s professional development, and also help to identify developmental needs as well as professional goals and interests.

Clinical supervison can prevent burn out and increase staff retention. Working with mental health and addiction issues is emotionally taxing and without good boundaries, one can easily burn out and feel like quitting. The support of a good clincial supervisor can make all the difference, build staff morale and improve team work.

Clinical supervision can contribute to meeting requirements of professional bodies and regulatory requirements for continuing professional development (where applicable).

At Solutions Treatment Center we recognize the value of excellent clinical supervision and have reaped the rewards. Liz Cervio has been offering supervision to our therapists, counselors and interns for the past year, and we are happy to offer a training titled:

The Supervisory Relationship~Co-creating a Therapeutic Container

Saturday, May 31st 9am to noon.

For more information see our events tab