Dr. Jennifer Richards: The MARC Clinical Philosophy and Approach
Here at Maryland Addiction Recovery Center, we believe that there is nothing more important to ensure a high quality of patient care than the clinical philosophy a facility operates from as a general guiding principle. When asked what its clinical philosophy is, all too often rehabs and addiction treatment centers use buzzwords or terms like “evidence-based practices” or “patient-centered approach” or “we treat the whole person” in a general sense. While these approaches are certainly valid and important, they do not actually speak to what the clinical philosophy of a treatment center is and how that philosophy is implemented and delivered to patients effectively and successfully.
A clinical philosophy should be the overarching values and outlooks that a rehab or addiction treatment center has that informs their views, approaches, and beliefs on how they deliver care to their patients. It should provide a framework of how addiction and mental health are viewed, how evidence-based practices are implemented, how patient-centered care is individually delivered, the ways in which a rehab and its treatment team define treating the whole person, what a successful outcome looks like for each patient, and the roadmap and treatment plan that guides each patient’s treatment experience.
Here at MARC, we believe that addiction is a complex, chronic illness that requires long-term care and support and that while sobriety is important, true recovery comes from patient’s achieving a high quality of life. We also believe that includes not just overcoming addiction and managing mental health conditions, but improved interpersonal relationships, education, careers, life skills development, engagement in personal recovery practices and other health and wellness practices, the ability for a patient to be self-sufficient and self-supporting, and the creation for each patient to have a purpose-driven life of meaning. We believe that the journey from addiction to recovery comes from challenging patients and their pathologies, learning and supporting healthy attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors, and doing so by individually creating and implementing creative clinical interventions that allows a patient to develop healthy coping mechanisms. We believe that addiction is a family disease, that the identified patient has a better chance at recovery if the family unit also is on a path of recovery, and that a patient’s family must be engaged throughout the entire treatment process. These are some of the core beliefs that inform our approach to care.
Dr. Jennifer Richards, Clinical Director at Maryland Addiction Recovery Center, oversees the clinical approach and implementation with her clinical team, working alongside the rest of the staff to deliver individualized, patient-centered care effectively while still working within the framework of the MARC clinical program. Dr. Richards has extensive experience working with patients with substance use disorder in a variety of treatment settings, including inpatient, residential, and outpatient treatment programs. She is a creative and dynamic leader with expertise in the development of addiction and trauma-informed treatment programming, clinical management, clinical supervision, and psychological assessment.
We thought it would be informative for Dr. Richards to explain the Maryland Addiction Recovery Center clinical philosophy and approach, to better understand how MARC approaches the treatment for addiction and co-occurring disorders with the patients we serve.
Dr. Richards said:
“At MARC, we understand that addiction is a chronic disease that manifests itself uniquely for each patient, and that each patient may respond to various treatment approaches differently. While we focus on individual differences, we also know that our patients often have much more in common with one another than they initially are open to seeing, and a common thread runs through all their stories: Disconnection. Disconnection from self and from others. Too much focus on differences can reinforce a belief of otherness that keeps a person unwell by promoting an idea that they can never get better because their story is so different, better, worse than everyone else’s. At MARC, we strive to balance providing individualized and personalized care with treatment approaches that we feel benefit everyone.
All of our patients exhibit patterns of behavioral and emotional symptoms that interfere with their living authentic and fulfilling lives. Our methods help to uncover the link between emotions and actions through therapies that foster revelation, empowerment, resiliency, and growth. Addiction and co-occurring psychiatric conditions are addressed simultaneously through an integration of a diverse array of therapeutic services. The MARC clinical team is comprised of a doctorate level clinical director, ten master’s level clinicians, and a drug and alcohol counselor. Each therapist has different strengths and interests that inform their clinical perspective and interventions. Patients work closely not only with their Primary Therapist but several members of the clinical team, offering exposure to a variety of therapeutic modalities that all adhere to the MARC philosophy of treatment.
Our primary mode of service delivery is through group psychotherapy. Because of the isolative of addiction and other psychiatric disorders, and because so much of the maladaptive behaviors stems from interpersonal wounds, connection to others and interpersonal healing is necessary. Group work plays an instrumental role in reducing shame and is an ideal place to confront the denial that feeds on the healthy coping mechanics like substance use. Group members learn to establish healthy reciprocal relationships with one another, how to give and receive critical feedback, as well as confronting and exploring the here and now processes that unfold in a group dynamic.
Most individuals receiving treatment for addiction and co-occurring disorders have a history of trauma that relates directly to their current thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. For this reason, MARC delivers trauma-informed care to our patients, meaning that all members of the clinical, medical, and direct care teams’ approach those we serve with the understanding that their trauma histories will require our awareness and respect. At MARC, information and education about trauma and its impact is interwoven throughout the treatment experience. Within this overarching framework, some patients also participate in trauma-focused treatments in both group and individual settings.
At MARC, patients may participate in the following treatment modalities: ACT, CBT, DBT, EMDR, Brainspotting, Psychodynamic psychotherapy, Gestalt Therapy, experiential activities, Relational Trauma Repair, and psychoeducation primarily on the brain, attachment, and trauma. Our therapists typically do not strictly adhere to one treatment modality but offer a blend of treatment approaches to best meet the changing needs of their patients while providing services within their scope of practice.
As one of the guiding principles of MARC, we also believe that appropriate and effective addiction treatment must include family work. Through work with the MARC clinical team as well as outside resources, family members are supported as they embark on their own recovery journeys. Family members explore patterns and behaviors that contributed to unhealthy dynamics in the family system, and work to establish new family norms that support health and recovery for everyone. At MARC, we believe that a patient’s opportunity for success in recovery is best supported and enhanced when their family members are also seeking to heal the family system. So, family members are engaged immediately and participate with their loved ones in the treatment process.
Through this dynamic approach, we also know that time is our friend. Addiction being a complex, chronic disorder, we are fortunate here at MARC that we have the time with patients to fully work with them, walk with them in the early stages of their recovery, support them when they succeed and when they may stumble, so that they learn how to live in recovery. It is this long-term community-reintegration model of care that we believe truly sets patients up for a life of success.”
If you or someone you know needs help for addiction or co-occurring disorder issues, please give us a call. Maryland Addiction Recovery Center offers the most comprehensive dual diagnosis addiction treatment in the Mid-Atlantic area. If we aren’t the best fit for you or your loved one, we will take the necessary time to work with you to find a treatment center or provider that better fits your needs. Please give us a call at (410) 773-0500 or email our team at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information on all of our drug addiction, alcohol addiction and co-occurring disorder services and recovery resources, please visit our web site at www.marylandaddictionrecovery.com.
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