One of the lesser talked about, but oftentimes most important, staff positions in behavioral healthcare and addiction treatment are the techs. Often called behavioral health technicians (or “techs”), these staff members are on the front lines of working with patients and clients while in treatment. They are the support, the peers, and the direct care staff that often has the most interaction and facetime with patients while those patients are engaged in rehab or an addiction treatment program.
Here at Maryland Addiction Recovery Center, the position often referred to as “techs” by other facilities takes on a whole other meaning and job function Here at MARC, our direct line support staff are called Therapeutic Assistants (or TA’s for short), and a therapeutic assistant is exactly what they are in terms of their day-to-day responsibilities and job functions.
TA’s here at MARC are a direct extension of our clinical and medical staff. They are not taskmasters, babysitters, or hall monitors, but rather they are intimately involved and engaged with the patients and their clinical issues. As a staff, they are both integrated into our clinical, medical and psychiatric staff, and work together with those other departments to make sure that a patient is getting all the support needed while in treatment. Each therapeutic assistant works with specific individual primary therapists to help support and oversee the patients on that therapist’s caseload, understand the unique clinical issues and needs of each patient, and work as an extension of that therapist to aid in identifying issues, offering support, implementing and supporting clinical interventions, and overall aiding in creating a positive change for each patient. They are intimately involved in all clinical and medical aspects of the MARC program, sit in on and take part in clinical rounds, caseload groups, group therapy sessions, act as a resource for the patient during their treatment experience, and often, create the most meaningful connections with patients during their treatment stay while at MARC.
The Therapeutic Assistants here are MARC are one of our most valuable resources in the quality care and support that we provide. Here is some of their experience regarding working at MARC, working in treatment, and working with patients suffering from addiction and mental health, in their own words:
Brent Coleman, Director of Support Services
“I went to long-term treatment myself before finding recovery, and while it gave me a space to get clean and sober and to begin the recovery process, I didn’t have the overall best experience. When I decided that I wanted to work in addiction treatment, I decided that I was going to be the person I wish I had had when I was a patient. I understand firsthand what it’s like and I know how important it is for the patients to have a support staff that is understanding, helping, and supportive. I wanted to make a difference and I wanted to help people. I believe we get to do just that at MARC. Being able to be such a supportive and influence on patients, because we have them long-term, is key to showing them what recovery looks like, how to navigate the challenges of early recovery, and that recovery is absolutely available to them too.”
Jacqueline Neubauer, Evening TA Supervisor
“I came into the treatment field because I had the desire to help others and wanted to make a change in the world. I myself went through addiction where I was put into a category of someone who didn’t “deserve” a second chance. By working in the field I am able to help others break that cycle and change the stigma on addiction. There is nothing more rewarding than watching someone come through the doors broken and being able to watch them transform into who they were meant to be. Sometimes when people are caught in the grips they just want to give up, but when they have that one person who believes in them the possibilities are endless.”
“After struggling with addiction throughout my teenage years and early adulthood, it has been amazing to be able to give back and be there for our patients. Over the past four years, I have seen tremendous success stories. Having the opportunity to see our patients at their lowest point when they enter treatment and watching them grow into responsible adults make this job worth it.”
“There’s nothing more rewarding than knowing that you made a positive contribution to an individual’s success, and this job is full of those opportunities.”
“Working with this population is not always easy, but it is definitely rewarding and I feel passionate about working to help eliminate the stigma surrounding substance abuse and mental health. I believe that we are able to teach our clients just as much as we are able to learn from them and that allows me to continue to grow. Working at MARC has exposed me to a variety of individuals from the patients to the staff and has only solidified my passion to work in this field.”
“Despite how stressful and chaotic it can get working with individuals in early recovery, the moments I enjoy the most are when I sit with a patient and they share their innermost struggles and fears with me. This gives me immense hope for them and overrides any difficult and confrontational encounter I have with them. These moments are when I am grateful for being able to work in this particular field, despite the challenges.”
“The best part of being a TA is being able to be a part of and observe the recovery process of a patient while at MARC. A person arrives sad, alone, given up on, angry, confused, in pain, lost, and scared with no idea how to function as an adult on their own without the use of drugs/alcohol, and to help them go from this to a person of confidence and a productive member of society is amazing.”
“Working at MARC has been a revolutionary experience for me in the world of addiction treatment. Being able to watch the progress of others for an extended period of time allows observation of true growth. Seeing someone change and become a productive member of society with integrity is a true privilege. Being able to share my experiences with others to help their growth process go smoother has been a rewarding task.”
“As someone who went through MARC I’m inspired to work as a TA now because I am able to share my experiences with clients and relate to their struggles as well as their accomplishments in this specific treatment setting.”
“While in the early stages of my own recovery, a goal of mine was to work in the field of addiction treatment. When the opportunity presented itself, I was excited to join the field. Since doing so at MARC, I have been able to help and watch others begin their journey into recovery.”
“Growing up it was extremely hard watching my family struggle with their addiction, and not being able to help them was the hardest part about that. I decided to get into this field so that I can help guide others in their recovery, and to give back to the patients what I was never able to give to my family. Working in treatment has opened my eyes and has helped me see things from an entire new perspective, and for that I am forever grateful.”
“When I began my own recovery journey, people believed in me when I couldn’t believe in myself. This saved my life. Because people had faith in me, I am now able to provide the same hope to others. I firmly believe that anyone, regardless of how far they have fallen, is capable of finding a new way to live with support and encouragement. I am grateful that today, I can provide that support and encouragement. I am blessed with the opportunity to work in the recovery field, and to watch individuals grow into people they never imagined they could be.”
“Being an addict in recovery myself, I am very passionate about helping others still caught in the grips of addiction. MARC focuses not only on removing drugs and alcohol from the equation, but helping patients build a strong foundation for a new way of life. MARC offers a college success and a vocational program which helps us go above and beyond in the amount of care provided to our patients. I truly believe that hardships often prepare ordinary people for an extraordinary destiny. I feel that MARC makes it possible for patients to find their extraordinary destiny and I am so proud to be a part of the MARC team.”
“I have been at MARC for about two months now. I like my job so far. The staff has been very welcoming and helpful to me. This is my first job in the recovery field, so it’s been a lot to learn. The training and help from the staff has been extremely beneficial. What I enjoy the most about interacting with the patients is when they ask me questions about recovery. I don’t have experience at this job, but I have a lot of experience in recovery. Helping patients with their recovery helps me as much as it helps them. This is one of the many reasons that my brief time here so far has been so enjoyable.”
“I am an alcoholic who had relapsed several times while attempting to get sober. I went to the hospital with a bad back, where they discovered my blood pressure was off the charts and they were afraid I was going to drop dead right there. They admitted me immediately and placed me in a bed that was alarmed so I would not get out of it, for fear if I did, I would have a heart attack. Once they regulated my blood pressure (after 4 days), they released me and told me if I started drinking again I would be dead in a month. My daughter picked me up and got me into a rehab facility. On the way to the facility She told me that she wanted me to be around ‘to one day walk her down the aisle and to someday be there for the birth of my grandchild.’ At the rehab facility while reading chapter 4 in the big book, “We Agnostics” and the italicized line, “Who are you to say there is no God?” the Lord came into my life (I was a non-believer) and saved me. I believe God did this so that I would help others. I now work at the MARC to this purpose. By the way, I am now sober 4 years and 4 months sober and during that time I have walked my daughter down the aisle and seen the birth of my grandson. God is good and I am blessed.”
“As far back as I can remember, I’ve always had a connection to people. Needing to understand them. A vigorous desire to avail them. I never thought in my life I would be grateful to be an addict. Today, with a strong recovery, I am. See, being a recovering addict has brought me so many blessings in life. I have gained numerous things, not simply materialistic. I have gained a relationship with a higher power, I have gained self-love, and an understanding of what it signifies to be alive. I have additionally gained this wondrous vocation as a Therapist Assistant at MARC. Working here has been one of my greatest achievements in recovery. Consistently, I am able to make an impact on someone’s life for the better. I’m able to comprehend people better. I’m able to understand myself more. Above all, I am able to be the person I needed when I was in treatment. MARC goes well beyond to ensure their patients are safe, and jubilant. The team here cares a great amount about the patients, and one other. Every day I wake up I am excited to go to work, to see my peers, the patients, and to help show them that long term recovery is achievable. That it is possible to have a beautiful, happy, life worth living… substance abuse free.”
“After witnessing family members’ negative experiences during treatment, along with having rocky personal relationships with these family members due to their struggles with recovery, it became clear to me that addiction recovery was something I’m very passionate about. I had the misfortune of watching a family member go through multiple treatment facilities with unsupportive and impersonal environments that only hindered their recovery. I have witnessed firsthand how detrimental a negative environment can be. A positive, strong support staff is vital in this field and I am overjoyed that I get to be a part of the positive experience brought to patients by MARC.”
“Not only do I enjoy working for a great company and team at MARC, I also love interacting with the patients and seeing their own personal growth through the recovery process and the treatment and support offered at MARC.”
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 [email protected]. 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.