A recent client was a marketing consultant, not our first, and as the week progressed he made the following “helpful” suggestions concerning our practice:

  • “Instead of working together as a team with clients, you should be working with them individually. That way you could immediately double your income!”
  • “And you should be doing groups to maximize profits even more!”
  • “And you should quit doing follow-up. No money in that!”

He’s right financially, obviously, but we like working together because, while we’re both good at what we do, we’re much better together than separately.

We’re also “success” oriented, not recycling you again and again like most everyone else, so we offer what works, not what is most profitable. In suport of our model we offer the following comments:

“A. Thomas McLellan, PhD, a University of Pennsylvania psychiatry professor who has studied addiction for more than 30 years, says, “If you go to just about any addiction program in this country, the major treatment activity is ‘group.’ If that doesn’t work, then they’ll try…’group.’ And when all else fails they’ll suggest…’group!’?”

Unhappily, he’s right for all of the predictable reasons:

  • Groups are cheap;
  • Groups are ineffective;
  • Groups are counter-productive!

In other words, if your aim is to make the most money, then “group” is the only way to go – especially when the group in question is just an endless succession of AA meetings.

On the other hand, substantive programs, or good private practitioners, will be focused on individuals or couples.

But that requires skilled, trained, and experienced staff (read expensive) and reduces relapse rates by as much as half – not a good business model for the rehab mills.

That doesn’t mean good help isn’t available. It is, but you do need to look and compare and that can be hard to do when you’re in crisis.

We’ll simplify that for you with our research-based article:

Ending Alcohol Abuse: What Works

Use it to question any treatment program or independent therapist you talk to.

Remember: Substance, Not Filler

Quotes to Consider

Last year, the highly respected National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University (CASA) released a scathing report, concluding that “only a small fraction of individuals receive interventions or treatment consistent with scientific knowledge about what works.” Much of addiction treatment, the study went on, could possibly be described as “a form of medical malpractice.”

Again – virtually no one who receives treatment gets what the research, and experience, show to be effective.

And, again, that’s not just an accident.

What does work is brief, individual, medically supported, family supported, non-confrontational, and uses all of the available tools in a mosaic custom designed to the individual client.

That would include CBT, assertiveness training, mindfulness training, diet, exercise, nutrition, and lifestyle changes (yes, even geographic cures work a surprising amount of the time).

Some studies suggest that “30-day rehab,” the industry’s standard 12 Step “full immersion” program, may occasionally “work” for as many as 15% of the clients they process.

But remember that most of these successes are in spite of the treatment received, not because of it. Just as it appears that more people stay sober by leaving AA than by staying.

As always, when you want help that’s effective and tailored to you, we’ve created a research-based model that’s helped clients and families for over a decade.