Collaboration, Anyone?

Recently I was watching an interview with Sting on Bravo’s “Inside the Actors Studio.” He was talking about his work with the writer and director of his first Broadway musical and that the end result was a collaborative effort, not a competitive one, and that the result was a better play than any of them could have managed independently.

That’s a good analogy for our work with you. Here’s a bit about how that works.

Twenty five years ago, when I was a graduate student at St. Mary’s University in Minnesota, my Masters and Doctoral work focused on treating alcohol abuse with research based methods, not by diminishing people to cult membership. This came out of my own “research project on myself,” since I knew AA would destroy the best parts of me and, frankly, I’d rather be a drunk than do that.

However, my work on creating a model was also influenced by my experiences with the late Dr. Sue Hastings and our work as a team dealing with individuals and couples.

Then fifteen years passed and I did other work, saw a few clients as a typical private practice counselor, and despaired of ever finding the right collaborator.

But opportunity does, apparently, knock at the door of the well prepared. Mary Ellen visited the adolescent psychiatric hospital where I’d been working for a decade and that started a conversation that continued for nearly two years.

Yes, I’d found the right partner to provide real services to selected clients. Together, we spent those months designing the program we now offer to some four dozen clients a year.

As the next article in this Newsletter notes, it’s made it possible for us to provide you with services that no one else can. It also means that, as a team, we provide better services than either us could individually. Throw in the work of our primary consulting physician, Dr. Tim Norcross, D.O., and that’s a lot of experience and expertise focused on you without any of the distractions, “filler,” groups, or chores with which other programs waste your time rather than providing help.

Then there is the most important person in this collaboration: you.

That’s right. You are the missing element in virtually all other programs. But you are the one who will ultimately make the choices and invest the effort it takes to change your day-to-day life in a way that’s more satisfactory than the current state of affairs.

No, we can’t “do it” to you or for you, and neither can they, but we can do it with you and create “your way” that will work for you – not “their way” that doesn’t work for much of anyone and especially not you.

How Does All of This Research & Innovation Work For You?

It’s informative to consider what we do, and what we don’t do, and how that affects your outcomes. That’s a fairly lengthy list.

To begin with, we specialize in alcohol abuse without adding in every so-called “addiction” from street drugs, to porn, to chocolate, to you-name-it, including eating disorders if their client census is down.

Yes, we do look at co-occurring conditions like depression, PTSD, and AD/HD, but we’re well aware that most of these go away with the alcohol abuse, usually within six months.

Next, we only work with individuals and couples. You are never exposed to another client (i.e., no groups) nor do you waste time listening to others’ unrelated stories, history and/or problems. This also preserves your confidentiality, something that no other program in the U.S. or Canada does.

Additionally, we operate on a straight cash basis – no insurance. This again preserves confidentiality, since insurance records are not confidential, while also helping with motivation. Clients with no investment in themselves or their outcomes aren’t apt to make the necessary changes to leave the alcohol abuse behind. Again, we’re not selling magic – for that you’ll need to go to Malibu, Palm Desert, Center City, Atlanta, Nanaimo, Tuscon, or any of a thousand other 12 Step programs.

Of course we also do those things that are proven to work: the oft mentioned CBT, motivational enhancement, assertiveness training, Naltrexone, diet, exercise, and a myriad of other possibilities that are custom tailored to your situation, strengths, interests, and preferred outcomes. In short, we help you learn to empower yourself, not how to regress to the confines of the cult of powerlessness.

We also do follow-up. Regularly scheduled weekly appointments with additional phone access as needed. The others? “Don’t drink, go to AA.” Or the Arizona program who orders clients to subscribe to this Newsletter as their “follow-up.” Thanks a bunch.

Perhaps most importantly, we only accept adults into our program, adults as defined by Dr. Jane Loevinger’s model and measure of “Ego Development.” For over 30 years I’ve done, and we’ve verified, the correlation between precocious maturity and the misuse of alcohol. Our website and Newsletter are specifically designed and written to appeal to you as an overly mature and responsible adult. The pre-adolescent Steppers are automatically self-excluding. Saves us time and energy that we can devote to you.

That’s not the end of the differences and we could continue to run through other aspects like being professionals as opposed to para-professionals, and not being former clients (though I had my own alcohol problems to work through). There’s also affordability, flexibility, and a focus on the present and future.

But the end result always adds up to what we provide, and what “they” don’t: confidentiality; real help; respect; empowerment; support; individuality; real research foundations, not myths; and a host of other considerations that result in “success” rate around 70% instead of the “industry standard” of less than 5%.

That said, what’s your choice?