alternatives to the 12 step approach imageThe 12 Step approach is the most widely used and popular approach to substance abuse treatment. This is because it is the oldest and most effective form of treatment. But what about the person that does not relate to the 12 Step model? The 12 Steps are a spiritual based program and philosophy and many people are resistant to this. For others, the 12 Steps may pose different objections. In order to reach as many clients as possible, a broad based treatment approach must be utilized for successful recovery to assist the greatest number of people in recovering from alcoholism and addiction.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Rational Emotive Therapy (RET) and Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT), to name a few, are some behavioral based therapies that are utilized for treatment. These therapeutic techniques approach substance abuse treatment from a behavioral perspective and can be very effective in assisting clients to change their thinking and behavior.

Motivational Interviewing and The Stages of Change are approaches that can broaden and expand the comprehension of recovery and assist in developing a deeper understanding of addiction. Clients can be met at their level of motivation and readiness to change, without the admission of powerlessness required by the 12 Steps.

Creative therapies including art therapy, music therapy and drama therapy can all provide an experiential and interactive avenue for healing and recovery that can assist in processing unresolved emotions and trauma that can be an underlying factor in addiction. Experiential therapies like Equine Assisted Therapy can offer another approach to substance use disorder treatment for those that enjoy horses and nature.

Holistic treatments that incorporate physical healing can range from Recreational Therapy to Acupuncture and Chiropractic care, as well as Physical Therapy, Massage, Breath-work and Yoga. These holistic modalities recognize the importance of the mind/body connection and are instrumental in assisting patients to begin to care for themselves on a physical basis. They can also aid the detox process by addressing physical discomfort and the removal of toxins from the body.

Of course medical and psychiatric pharmacological interventions are a key component of the treatment equation, especially when co-occurring mental health disorders that require medication are a factor. Medication can also provide relief from the discomfort and potential dangers of the detoxification process.

Spiritual and faith-based recovery programs like Celebrate Recovery and The Life Recovery Bible can be helpful for those that have a spiritual philosophy that goes beyond the 12 Steps, while providing a spiritual or religious focus on a recovery plan. These programs and philosophies can also complement and be utilized in conjunction with a 12 Step foundation to provide a spiritual component.

All of these various treatment approaches, utilized in group and individual therapy, can provide a well-rounded and comprehensive treatment program for substance use disorders and co-occurring disorders. They can offer clients a variety of modalities of treatment that can be an alternative to or a complement a traditional 12 Step approach. This is important for reaching the 12 Step resistant client and to give all clients the most thorough and expansive treatment experience possible. It also offers a wide range of learning approaches to accommodate the varieties of learning differences in individuals. A holistic treatment center that offers a broad based program encompassing all of these modalities can provide an approach that most anyone suffering from alcoholism, addiction and co-occurring disorders like depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, trauma, PTSD, eating disorders, personality disorders and other mental health issues, can embrace and engage in. Beachway Therapy Center, with its diverse team of skilled clinicians and expert Psychiatrist and Medical Director, offer all of this and more.

This post was written and contributed to: Elizabeth Ossip, LCSW