Solutions Method® Therapeutic Theme Descriptions
As someone enters treatment at Solutions, it’s important for them to explore their own personal goals for recovery. With the Solutions Method®, clients are encouraged to look at various aspects of their lives and identify short term and long term goals they want to achieve during the the treatment process. Goals in the areas of relationships, sobriety, emotional health, career, health and wellness, work and finance are just a few examples. Ultimately the goal is to support clients in increasing their overall life satisfaction. During treatment at Solutions clients will experience success in accomplishing small goals along the way in preparation for continued success after discharge.
Clinical techniques utilized by The Solutions Method® during the Personal Goals week include; vision boards, guided imagery, solution focused techniques, step by step maps for success, practice setting small achievable goals to boost confidence, time management strategies and acknowledgement of barriers met with creative ways to work around them.
Many clients come to Solutions without a deep understanding of who they are and who they want to to be. Our sense of self is largely defined in our younger years and highly influenced by our childhood experiences with our families, schoolmates, teachers and the world around us. When children experience traumas or losses, often times they are left feeling responsible even when this is the furthest thing from the truth. Positive experiences and feedback boost our self esteem and confidence. As we grow, our life experiences continue to reinforce those beliefs about who we are and how we fit in the world. When life events are significant enough, it can rock our sense of self and leave us searching once again to identify who we are. What are my values, my beliefs, am I a good person, am I worthy, do I deserve to be happy are some of the questions our clients come to us asking. At Solutions, we find it crucial in a client’s long term healing to begin examining their inner world. Clients are encouraged to think about their wants, needs, desires, hopes, dreams, fears, and who they are in different relational contexts, especially in context to themselves. Our goal is to help clients identify who they are at their core and develop a positive relationship with oneself.
Clinical techniques utilized by the Solutions Method® during Identity week include; The Johari’s Window, mask work, psychodrama, art therapy techniques such as inside out work, processing childhood photographs and auto-biographies, role playing and psychodrama.
FAMILY OF ORIGIN
The families we grew up with are typically the most influential in the development of our personal belief systems, personalities, decision making skills, and behavioral traits. Our families of origin are likely the ones we love the most yet also have the power to cause the most pain. Regardless of how functional, loving, chaotic, or dysfunctional our families are they are the ones we learn how to relate to others from. As children, we do not have the awareness of how influential the family dynamic is and have little or no control over them. As adults we have the opportunity to reflect on these experiences and heal past hurts, traumas, resentments as well as learning to appreciate the gifts and lessons our families provided to us. It is not uncommon to have conflicting emotions and memories of how we grew up. The reality is you can love and hate the same person at the same time. Challenging one’s core beliefs and accepting that things are the way they are is crucial in recovery. By doing this clients learn to release the unconscious grip our childhood beliefs have on us, and make healthy, conscious life choices going forward. Our goal is to help clients identify family issues and heal past hurts, resentments and emotional traumas which sets the stage for deeper healing throughout the Solutions program.
Clinical techniques utilized by the Solutions Method® during Family of Origin week include; family trees, genograms, both individual and multi-family therapy, empty chair work, identifying family roles, psycho-drama and timelines.
When we go through emotionally charged events as children our experience of those events are influenced by our chronological age at the time. When a child encounters a traumatic event, they do not yet have the affect tolerance skills an adult would have and they interpret those events based on the developmental stage they were at. Many children blame themselves for traumatic events such as divorce, death of a parent and natural disasters and internalize negative message about themselves as a result. At Solutions, we believe it is imperative to re-examine the event and the beliefs that were formed at the time, from an adult perspective. Often times learning to reparent or reassure that inner child that they were not responsible for that event is essential in in healing. Adults who have experienced this kind of loss have also lost a sense of innocence, wonder and play, and we work to help our clients get back in touch with that sense of wonderment.
Clinical techniques utilized by the Solutions Method® during Inner Child week include; psychoeducation, timelines, guided imagery, cognitive behavioral therapy, art therapy, reparenting skills and play therapy.
SELF DESTRUCTION & ESCAPE
Over time many we develop unhealthy and destructive ways to escape (also known as self medicating) our unpleasant emotions. Substance abuse and addiction, eating disorders and gambling are some behaviors that are common coping mechanisms, however, more subtle behaviors can also have a strong effect on our ability to feel content and satisfied with our lives. During this week we find it invaluable for clients to explore some of the less obvious ways they engage in self destructive behaviors including relationship patterns, self sabotage, unhealthy eating habits, lack of self care, overspending, and codependency. Clients are then guided to identify and practice healthier ways to cope with difficult emotions.
Clinical techniques utilized by the Solutions Method® during Self Destruction and Escape week include; relapse prevention plans, solution focused therapy, 12-step meeting attendance, mindfulness based relapse prevention, cognitive behavioral therapy and therapeutic journaling.
HEALTH & WELLNESS
Often times our own self care takes a back seat to life’s responsibilities, expectations and the care taking of others. It’s easy to lose sight of our own issues around health and wellness and the importance of addressing them. The Solutions Method® presents clients with information on the benefits of nutrition, exercise, and meditation and they are encouraged to identify what supports them and what constitutes self care. They explore small ways they can bring joy into their lives on a daily basis. Clients are supported to add healthy habits in to their daily routine including walking, making art, and listening to music.
Clinical techniques utilized by the Solutions Method® during Health and Wellness week include; psycho education on nutrition and healthy eating, guided imagery experientials, health and wellness assessments, meditation walks, mindful eating practice and guest lectures from healing and medical professionals.
During this week clients are provided with the opportunity to explore important relationships in theirs lives and the influences these relationships have on their well being. The relationships they examine may be familial, people from a distance, at work, friends, online and social media relationships, with loved ones, and even their pets, however, the most important relationship our clients delve into is the relationship they have with themselves and the world around them. This week clients are encouraged to look at their relationships to self and others, discover ways they can improve them and in some cases, identify those they may need to terminate.
Clinical techniques utilized by the Solutions Method® during Relationships week include; timelines, psycho education on the various types of relationships, art therapy to visually depict healthy and unhealthy relationship dynamics, psycho-drama establishing healthy relationships, learning about healthy relationship styles and the impact negative relationships have had on themselves, couples and relationship counseling.
Boundaries can be physical or emotional, and can greatly impact our sense of self. When we have unhealthy boundaries we may be easily hurt, influenced, manipulated and controlled by others. When boundaries are too rigid we can lose out on emotional connection and enjoyment in life. The overriding goal of this theme is to work with clients to develop skills in setting healthy boundaries with others regarding how they wish to be treated and to explore parameters around personal space and safety. This tends to be a big step in the journey toward wellness as many clients find they have had little exposure to healthy boundaries.
Clinical techniques utilized by the Solutions Method® during Boundaries week include; Psycho-education, role playing, cognitive behavioral therapy, therapeutic journaling, art therapy to create a physical representation of healthy and unhealthy boundaries, sand tray, practice boundary setting in group and family therapy and experiential therapies.
How we communicate with others says a lot about ourselves. Some messages convey what we want to say while sometimes we are unconscious of our communication styles and how they may be interpreted. We may not say what we mean to say or think we said something we did not. Nonverbal communications may convey unwarranted messages that we don’t intend such as disinterest, threats or anger. At Solutions, we look at ways that we communicate verbally and nonverbally. Clients are given the opportunity to practice more direct and less confusing styles of communication such as using “I” statements, role playing, and identifying ways their body postures and movements are expressing their message.
Clinical techniques utilized by the Solutions Method® during Communication Skills week include; Empty chair work, role playing, mirroring, psychodrama, solution focused and cognitive behavioral therapy. Through group therapy, family therapy and working in dyads, clients are able to give and receive feedback regarding communication styles and practice ways to be clearer that they want to convey.
The shadow self is defined as those parts or aspects of ourselves that we try to hide from ourselves and others. Often times denying these aspects leads to their strengthening and the consequent subconscious expression of the “negative” traits that we are trying so hard to deny. The shadow self theme may be one of the most intense yet important themes that the Solution’s Method® has to offer. Only by acknowledging and accepting these sides of ourselves can we decrease their hold on us. Once acknowledged, we can then make the conscious choice to change these aspects going forward.
Clinical techniques utilized by the Solutions Method® during Shadow Self week include; The Johari’s Window, mindfulness meditations, cognitive behavioral therapy, role playing, psychodrama, dyad work around projections, art therapy including mask making and Window of Tolerance work.
WORK & FINANCE
Another aspect of our lives where the influence is underestimated is our work lives and our financial beliefs and patterns. As part of the Solutions Method®, clients are offered the opportunity to explore how their work lives, careers, education, and financial beliefs and patterns, impact their stress levels and affect their daily lives. Clients are also encouraged to examine family behaviors and beliefs about money and wealth or lack thereof has impacted them as adults. They identify ways in which healthy changes may need to be implemented. Even our work choices can reflect our inner struggle and can be unhealthy and sometimes a career change is in order. Our younger clients they can explore their educational experiences and choices as well as their career goals.
Clinical techniques utilized by the Solutions Method® during Work and Finance week include; psycho-education, experiential therapy, timelines, addiction and self destruction emotional and monetary cost analysis, creating a financial bibliography, solution focused strategies for stress reduction and money management, identifying emotional triggers within our work environment and taking inventory of our work history while creating a cost benefit analysis.
GRIEF & LOSS
During grief and loss week at Solutions, clients explore ways in which they have experienced grief and loss issues in their lives. While loss due to death is one of the most common and universally and socially accepted, it is just as important to acknowledge and honor other losses that we may have endured such as loss of innocence, childhood, futures we had envisioned, loss of our addiction, relationships, and a sense of meaning and purpose as evidenced by empty nest syndrome, retirement and the like. Clients are given an opportunity to grieve and honor such losses in a safe and nurturing space.
Clinical techniques utilized by the Solutions Method® during Grief and Loss week include; process therapy groups, psychoeducation on stages of grief, letting go ceremonies, letter writing, bibliotherapy, experiential therapy and art therapy.
LIFE CHANGES & TRANSITIONS
Life is continuously changing and evolving and is full of transitions. We have a tendency to downplay the impact that common life transitions like moves, divorce, children going away to college or getting married and retirement have on our emotional health and well being. It is important to take note of such transitions and acknowledge the significance they have in our lives. When certain events are common, we have a tendency to diminish the power that these events can have on us and our need to grieve or process that impact. The Solutions Method® helps clients honor and integrate the life changes they experience and assists them in identifying the changes and directions they want to go in while putting them back in the driver’s seat and in control of their lives.
Clinical techniques utilized by the Solutions Method® during Life Changes and Transitions week include; life transition time lines, guided imagery and meditation, ceremony, group psychotherapy and process groups, family therapy, art therapy, body centered psychotherapy and experiential work, solutions focused techniques and goal setting.
Stress, time constraints, pressures, and responsibilities often lead us to live life on auto pilot. We forget to stop, notice the life around us, pay attention to what our bodies are telling us and be aware of our needs and sensations. We are also often times unaware of how stress impacts our body and emotional health. During this week, clients are asked to reconnect with their bodies, get out of their heads, and notice that they can ground and be present in the moment.
Clinical techniques utilized by the Solutions Method® during Mind Body Connection week include; mindfulness based meditation and practices, breathing techniques, body centered psychotherapy, guest lectures and therapeutic yoga that help teach clients to pause and create space to be aware of their thoughts and sensations and how thoughts and feelings are connected.
FORGIVENESS & AMENDS
Forgiveness and amends may be one of the most difficult topics clients are asked to work through during their time at Solutions. Clients explore the people, places, things, and events for which they have been holding resentments. They are encouraged to look honestly at the pros and cons of holding such resentments and to consider the possibility of letting go. It takes more energy to hold onto resentments and blame than it does to acknowledge the pain it has caused and move forward. Clients are also encouraged to looks at ways they have hurt themselves and others and to make amends for the pain they have caused in relationships with others and most importantly with themselves when possible.
Clinical techniques utilized by the Solutions Method® during Forgiveness & Amends week include; letter writing, Gestalt work, volunteer activities, role playing and dyad work, art therapy and psychotherapy process groups, psychodrama, cognitive behavioral therapy and mindfulness based practices. Clients may also be encouraged to explore the role of spirituality and how it may serve as a source of support.
TRANSFORMATION & ACCEPTANCE
It’s the goal for each and every one of our clients to leave Solutions feeling as if their lives have improved. This occurs by learning to accept and acknowledge all aspects of themselves – the good the bad and the ugly – and realize it’s the combination of their experiences, thoughts, histories, gifts, imperfections, talents and decisions that make up the amazing people they are today. Clients are encouraged to reflect on their experience with the program and to acknowledge the areas of life they have experienced some type of transformation in.
Clinical techniques utilized by the Solutions Method® during Transformation & Acceptance week include; journaling, timelines, psychotherapy process groups, meditation, trauma informed yoga, cognitive behavioral therapy, recreational therapy, and through art or movement therapy the creation of some type of physical representation of the changes they have experienced.
MEANING & PURPOSE
A core tenant of the Solutions Method® for treatment is the importance of the value that one feels when they are a contributing member of society. When our clients experience themselves as making a positive impact on others and the world around them it is a palatable shift. During this week, clients identify their core strengths, gifts and unique abilities in which they feel can contribute to others and the world at large. Clients are encouraged to move forward and put these contributions into action through volunteer work, mentorship, teaching, and service programs. Contentment in who we are comes from our sense that we matter to others and the world around us.
Clinical techniques utilized by the Solutions Method® during Transformation & Acceptance week include; volunteer work as a group, identifying ways to share our gifts with one another and putting them into daily practice, random acts of kindness, process therapy, experiential therapy, guided imagery and guided meditation, cognitive behavioral therapy and most importantly, the group therapy dynamic is critical in learning to see ourselves as others see us.