Treatment, Success Rates, and Free Will

2 years, 8 months ago 0

At Loaves and Fishes Counseling and Rehabilitation, our treatment approach is unique.  What makes it unique you may ask?  We do not follow a theorist, researcher, famous mental health professional, or a formalized curriculum. We also do not allow ourselves to be bogged down by bureaucratic red tape and treatment plans which are developed by those who have no idea what it is like to work with patients day in and day out.  Instead, we have developed a curriculum that is closely guarded.  This plan is holistic, integrative, and evidence based.  We not only use theoretical approaches and interventions that have been proven effective, we also integrate the latest holistic modalities and Biblical Truth throughout the treatment process.  While this approach may not be for everyone, it has definitely made a difference in the lives of many.  We also hold tightly to the belief that the addiction is not the problem.  The problem is the problem.  In other words, underneath the addiction, there is something or someone that began this destructive process.  It may be trauma, grief, anger, abandonment, or mental illness; however, it is our ethical and Christian duty to partner with our patients as they sort through this thing called life.  It is in this partnership of three, yes I said three…Patient, Therapist, and Christ, that true healing begins to take place.  If the problem is resolved, then there remains no more need for the substance.  For the patient, treatment is what you make of it. Although we would love to believe that our program makes all the difference, it is ultimately up to the patient and what he/she is willing to invest.  If they choose to work the system and count the days until they can leave, then they most likely will relapse and return to their dysfunctional behavior.  For those who are truly ready to change their lives, these patients find recovery, but not only that, they find freedom in Christ.  He makes all the difference.

As a therapist, I cannot count the number of times that I am asked, “What is your success rate?”  What people are really wanting to know is, “Does your program work?” or “Can you fix my problem?”.  Numbers, statistics, rates of success, these can all be very misleading and somewhat cumbersome for the clinician who is truly focused on their patients and who strive to provide the highest quality treatment.  Although our “success rate” is upwards of 90% for those who actually complete the program, I myself do not have the time to bother with all of that mean, median, and mode jargon.  I am a therapist, not a mathematician.  Who had the time to deal with all of the endless calculations to formulate a statistic by which the public can judge the efficacy of our program, when we have lives to save?  I like to leave research to the statisticians.  As I stated previously, we have success stories and we have heartbreaking stories to tell, each with its own dynamic.  The core issue with each, is this…did the patient truly want to get better?  Many come to treatment because they have to, some because they want to.  There is a difference between the two; a difference that in the end could be life altering.  Again, as I mentioned before, our success rate is higher than most; however, the true test of lasting sobriety rests solely within the patient.

As patients enter treatment, I am reminded of a statement made to me by a former supervisor.  She said, “Never work harder than your patient.”  At the time, I was new to the business of counseling and I certainly did not take her advice.  Instead, I decided to save the world one patient at a time.  This of course was a disaster waiting to happen.  I soon learned after many years of heartbreaking and utterly tiresome work, that she was right.  I guess you could say the light bulb finally came on.  I finally understood that I could not want sobriety for the patient.  They had to want it and work for it themselves.  I share this revelation for several reasons.  When asked questions about counseling, treatment, statistics and such, I am reminded of this element of addiction and recovery.  There are those who will enter treatment and truly want to find joy, peace, happiness, and healing; while others simply need a place to stay.  I can say this with much conviction, I no longer work harder than my patient.  Why, you may ask?  It is somewhat like the old adage, “You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him drink.”  This rings true in recovery.  For those who want it, their is no limit to what they can accomplish.  For those who do not want it, they simply return to their dysfunctional behavior and continue to spiral out of control.  It is all about free will…the will to choose.  I believe with all of my heart that if our patients will “choose life” then they will ultimately find true sobriety and healing.  It is not so much about the program as it is providing an environment that is conducive to healing and a will to not just survive but thrive!

Jarod Cruthis, MA, Ed.D, LCAS, CSI, QP (Clinical Director)

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