- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) – APEX utilizes Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) as part of our integrative treatment approach. We use CBT to help patients change their thinking patterns and behaviors as a means to treat both addiction and mental illness. It’s a very hands-on approach that allows our therapists to work closely with each patient to improve his or her behavior and general outlook. We’ve found CBT to be successful in combating a number of mental illnesses, including anxiety and depression, as well as substance abuse problems.
The way we perceive the world around us is our reality. We behave in line with our thoughts and that’s how our thoughts shape our life. For example, we may never learn how to swim if we are afraid that an animal or a shark would attack us at some point or if we believe we would drown. We think water is dangerous and we decide not to learn how to swim. Sometimes, it can be more serious than that. If we feel and think that we are worthless, we may decide to alleviate the pain and discomfort through alcohol or drugs, like depressed individuals do. For the depressed, their reality is that they are worthless, regardless of how many times others tell them differently.
If we agree that our behavior is based on our thoughts then there is good news – by changing the thoughts, we can change the behavior. This is what Cognitive Behavior Therapy posits.
Cognition is how we think. It includes perceptions, concentration, memory and language understanding – all the processes and activities that give us choices on how we will behave.
When people are suffering from mental illnesses, addictions or comorbid disorders, their cognition is skewed. It could be the root of their disorder, or its consequence. For example, alcohol and drug abuse can alter our brain chemistry and change the way we perceive the world around us. Alcohol and drugs can also impact the way we feel good and compel us to seek more of them – that way, our cognition gets perpetually sucked into a vicious circle.
There are numerous benefits to Cognitive Behavior Therapy, which make it an excellent approach to treating a variety of addictions and mental health disorders:
- It is not a never-ending process. Some other forms of therapy last long and need a lot of time for improvement to show, which is not the case with CBT.
- It can be done in individual and group therapy.
- It is focused on attainable goals and results.
- Therapists and patients work together to develop plans to reach the goals and change problematic thought patterns.
- It is highly practical and aims to equip the patient with the skills and tools they need to reach the state they want to reach and to decide how to get there.
- It provides the patient with coping strategies for stressors and against potential relapse scenarios.
- It is immersive and ideal for residential rehabilitation. The results reached through sessions are reinforced with homework and constant attention to the process of learning new patterns and unlearning the dysfunctional ones.
- It is focused on logic and reality, not our perception of reality. Learning to make rational decisions informed by reality is the key that keeps the patients from relapsing into old patterns.
- Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) – Our therapists incorporate Dialectical Behavior Therapy, or DBT, to promote abstinence from drug and alcohol use and to reduce the possibility and severity of relapses. Similar to CBT, DBT helps patients develop and pursue goals that are independent of substance abuse and other out-of-control behaviors, with an ultimate goal of helping patients better deal with the everyday problems of life.
DBT is a modality of cognitive behavioral treatment, originally developed to treat individuals with borderline personality disorder who were suicidal. Since then it has been recognized as highly successful in helping individuals with alcohol and substance addiction and those with mental health issues, like depression and post-traumatic stress disorders (PTSD).
The skills taught through DBT encompass: mindfulness and aware presence in the moment; pain tolerance and acceptance without attempting to change the pain; interpersonal skills like assertiveness and the ability to say no in order to build self-respect and better relationships; emotional regulation and changing undesirable emotions.
DBT has demonstrated tremendous success in the reduction of suicides, instances of treatment dropout and alcohol and substance abuse. It also helps deal with depression, accumulated anger and pain and improves the overall and social functioning of individuals who receive this treatment.
Apex Recovery is a San Diego alcohol and drug rehab center which has a team of highly qualified professionals who are able to deliver the best possible Dialectical Behavior Therapy available.
- Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) – Apex therapists incorporate Acceptance and Commitment Therapy or ACT (pronounced “act”) to assist our clients in developing a new way of being with emotional and psychological pain and to decrease suffering. ACT incorporates acceptance and mindfulness strategies with commitment and behavior-change strategies to help you change your approach to your problems.
ACT is a scientifically based modality and considered a “third wave” in behavioral and cognitive therapy. It developed from research on how the human mind works, which suggested that many of the tools used to solve problems lead to increase suffering. Using ACT, our therapists assist clients in moving from suffering to full engagement with life.
- Seeking Safety – Seeking Safety is an evidence-based trauma focused therapy, present-focused counseling model that directly addresses both substance use and trauma in a safe manner that does not require recounting of disturbing memories. Seeking safety is a relevant model to a broad range of individuals, and effective in helping individual attain safety from trauma and substance abuse through teaching coping skills.
The key principles as outlined directly by Seeking Safety include:
- Safety as the overarching goal (helping clients attain safety in their relationships, thinking, behavior, and emotions).
- Integrated treatment (working on both trauma and substance abuse at the same time)
- A focus on ideals to counteract the loss of ideals in both trauma and substance abuse
- Four content areas: cognitive, behavioral, interpersonal, case management
- Attention to clinician processes (clinicians’ emotional responses, self-care, etc)
- Family/Couples Therapy – When it comes to addiction, the individual seeking treatment typically is not the only person affected by his or her drug or alcohol use or other addictive behaviors. There’s often a spouse, parents, siblings and/or children involved who feel the pain of the addiction just as much as the patient. We understand addiction from both sides of the coin, having helped hundreds of patients and their families recover from the destruction of addiction. We utilize a patient-centered approach that includes counseling with family members, both during and post-treatment, to ensure a safe, supportive environment throughout the recovery process.
Family therapy combines a number of therapeutic approaches and has two main goals. The first is to use the family’s strengths to support the individual’s life in abstinence. The second is to relieve the impact the individual’s addictive behavior has had on the family.
Family therapy treats the family as a unit and the individual as a component of that system. The sessions can be done with the whole family present or subsets of it, or they can be done with separate individuals. The point of interest of family therapy in the alcohol and drug rehabilitation process is the complex relationships between the members. Family therapy assists the family in making changes within the relationships, the members and the overall environment to aid the process of their coping with the substance abuse. It also guides the other members in defining their own goals, because “better functioning” is not a clear enough goal. With family therapy during the rehabilitation and aftercare, members are better able to understand the changes. And, finally, because everything is “out in the open” the user doesn’t feel the rest of the family are ganging up on them.
Apex Recovery is one of the few alcohol and drug rehab centers in San Diego that incorporates family therapy in individual treatment. This is in line with our view that addiction is a complex problem and needs to be approached from multiple angles, so that all contributing factors can be addressed. Using a systemic approach, the fact remains that the whole family needs to change to help support recovery. We are firm believers in holistic treatment; that’s why we consider that healing the individual must include the whole of which that individual is a part of – their family.
- Holistic Healing – The fact is that there are many reasons why individuals turn to alcohol and drugs. These substances are forms of escape, but unfortunately, the abusers don’t typically know what exactly it is they are trying to escape, or heal. Because holistic healing programs bear in mind the whole picture, they are most likely to be effective for alcohol and drug rehab.
Our San Diego-based rehabilitation center uses holistic healing to complement traditional pharmacotherapy and psychotherapy in detoxification, rehabilitation and extended care. Holistic healing offers diverse therapeutic options that boost the results of traditional intervention. Apex Recovery puts a lot of effort into creating personalized recovery plans that include both traditional and holistic treatment, so that every patient experiences comprehensive rehabilitation.
The way holistic healing interacts with traditional methods of treatment, such as psychotherapy and medications, is that it often “opens up” the patient and makes them more receptive to counseling, introspection, insights and medication.
There is scientific evidence that holistic healing increases the likelihood of rehabilitation success, because it focuses on improving mental and physical well-being and restoring balance. What addicts try to do through their alcohol and drug abuse is precisely that – they basically want to feel good, but the path they choose is wrong and ineffective.
These are the elements of our holistic healing at Apex Recovery:
- Fresh, organic meals that nourish the body as well as the mind
- Meditation sessions
- Massage and acupressure
- Music and art therapy, rock songwriting
- Recreation options such as cardio exercise, weight training, yoga, hiking
- Outings to the beach and nature
- Motivational Interviewing – At Apex, we believe change is the basis of all recovery. That’s why we create an environment that’s conducive to change, starting with the way in which we work with each patient. We employ motivational interviewing as one step in the change process. This therapeutic approach is designed to explore the patient’s current behavior, help them articulate and understand the reasons they want to make a change, and help them throughout their journey in realizing they have the power to change.
A considerable body of scientific evidence supports the view that motivational interviewing (MI) improves the chances for a successful outcome of the recovery process, even when the patients enter rehab involuntarily. MI is about empathy and synchronizing the session with the client, without imposing anything – it is often said that MI is about meeting the patient where the patient is. Even when patients have low readiness for change, this approach can be the crucial introduction for later therapy.
MI is based on the patient’s strengths and their capacity to change harmful behavioral patterns. It focuses on ambivalence and fear of change as the two main barriers for a full recovery. Ambivalence is the patient’s internal struggle with respect to what they really want – their addiction could have brought them some benefits at some points in life, but at other points they felt that it was a harmful pattern. Ambivalence is at the base of every addiction and it’s not a denial or resistance.
These are the key principles of motivational interviewing in counseling:
- Ambivalence is a natural component of addictions.
- The patient and the counselor have to work together and both parties contribute.
- Sessions characterized by empathy, support and direction provide the best conditions for change.
Motivational Interviewing has demonstrated the following benefits for rehabilitation therapy:
- More patients choose to follow through the treatment program.
- More patients participate actively in the treatment.
- More treatments have successful outcomes.
- More patients manage to avoid relapse for longer periods after the rehabilitation.
The main goal of motivational interviewing is for the patient to realize the discrepancy between their current situation, their past behavior and their hopes for the future. The counselor guides and supports the patient on the road to realizing how their behavior is different from how they would like to behave. This is done through raising the awareness of the consequences of their past actions and decisions. The therapist supports the patient to realize that the costs of their behavior outweigh any perceived benefits of the addiction.