Pivoting to Meet the New Resiliency

It is important to understand that as a chronic illness, addiction requires a long-term continuum of care and ongoing recovery support to achieve optimal results. Long-term sustainable recovery often comes from long-term clinical care, recovery support and engagement, and ongoing monitoring. That is why, here at Innovo Detox, we try to reiterate to individuals and families that addiction is simply the first step in a long-term, ongoing process of addiction treatment and recovery.

Intensive Outpatient (IOP) services are a vital treatment level of care within the continuum. Many patients at Innovo Detox upon discharge immediately engage in intensive outpatient (IOP) treatment programs, while others may go first to a residential or inpatient level of care before then stepping down to IOP. However, during this time of great uncertainty, many people have questions regarding how intensive outpatient (IOP) programs and other aftercare treatment options are best supporting patients and clients in their programs.

Michael Blanche, LCSW, of ETHOS Treatment has over twenty years of experience as a clinician providing direct clinical treatment for those who are dually diagnosed with addiction and other psychological issues. Mike is also Co-Founder of ETHOS Treatment, a person-centered intensive outpatient (IOP) therapy program based in Pennsylvania, with locations in Philadelphia, PA, West Chester, PA, and Plymouth Meeting, PA. Mike was gracious enough to offer this educational and informative look at how ETHOS Treatment and their team have remained open by transitioning to telehealth IOP solutions to support patients and clients in need of addiction treatment during the time of COVID-19. Mike’s guest blog follows:

“We have all had to make sacrifices, some lost loved ones while others have lost employment. Our population of people struggling with substance use disorder and their families are at major risk in COVID -19 isolation. The beginning of the pandemic brought uncertainty and preceptory anxiety of what was to come to situational grief due to all the losses. Multiple shutdowns of classic social supportive in-person activities and protective factors evaporating as our nation asked us to remain home. For trying to recover from substance abuse, their home is a major trigger. Their home could remind them of the strained relationships due to their substance use which created a shame spiral, ultimately resulting in relapse.  For others, that’s where they used the most, in isolation. Lacking traditional intensive outpatient, in-person mutual support meetings, fellowship, or other outlets programs, providers of treatment and self-help movement all rapidly reconfigured their resources to Telehealth.

I was personally and professionally blown away by that rapid response from the 12-step community to clinical programs. Witnessing first-hand how within a week my program ETHOS, from the admissions team, all therapists to all clients were completely trained and jumped to the Telehealth world. It may have been one of the hardest pivots of my career. The transition was not seamless, more awkward than anything. But at this point, all indicators show this evolution is was worth the work. What was most surprising is how many of our clients adjusted to the format more efficiently than we ever thought.

Numbers don’t lie. We at ETHOS have seen a higher attendance rate, longer lengths of stays when appropriate and significantly higher retention rate in our clients. Our clients report starving for the chance to have meaningful connection in the context of COVID-19. Hearing the personal journey of individuals in recovery, redefining how to see each other in groups and developing core coping mechanisms didn’t surprise our team of comprehensive therapists. What was a surprise is how many of our clients are just so grateful to have a safe place to process, talk through, and even engage in experiential therapy with therapists like Karen Levin LCSW.

One of our newest programs dedicated to individuals that are on medication-assisted therapy has seen the highest increase in attendance. The MAT track at ETHOS provides clinical services for individuals that are maintaining recovery with medications, has shown initial signs of success.

Our main adult and young adult intensive outpatient programs are also seeing clients continue to not just remain sober but practice recovery principals immediately in their home as it is almost demanded at this perilous time.  Our Family First Initiative launched earlier this year, lead by Patrick Dowling LPC.  Pat has witnessed family reparative work taking place through this time given the increased family time.  This time family time with one another can be both very rewarding and create conflict.  Patrick has seen families take to more conflict resolution strategies.  In the B.C. (before COVID) world, if family members fight, you can more easily avoid the feelings and the person by sleeping out for a few nights, or just simply leaving for a few hours. Now, families cannot avoid one another and we at ETHOS have seen an extraordinary amount of resilience in these families who are committed to working on conflict resolution. 

Of course, connection is crucial in early recovery. Telehealth made this possible in this physically distant time to remain connected. Reshaping digital connections, redefining technological touchpoints transitions to telehealth. Consistent cognitive interventions in the Telehealth format make early recovery tolerable for our clients during this complex time. Asking for help remains one of the main barriers to accessing treatment. The barrier of physical distancing during this COVID-19 time only magnifies that asking for help can be just as uncomfortable. However, we at ETHOS have found that individuals struggling in early recovery are more resilient than we anticipated, they are participating, showing up and doing the work needed to remain sober.”

Intensive Outpatient Programming in Pennsylvania

If you or someone you know needs help for addiction or co-occurring disorders, please give us a call. Innovo Detox offers the latest in evidence-based medical, psychiatric, and clinical care for those in need of detox and medical stabilization in Pennsylvania and the surrounding Mid-Atlantic area. If we aren’t the best fit for you or a loved one, we will take the necessary time to work with you to find a detox, rehab, treatment center or provider that better fits your needs. Please give us a call at (717) 619-3260 or email our team at info@innovodetox.com. For more information on our company or services, please visit our website at www.innovodetox.com.