We have been pretty hard on this profession, but we know there are many other great programs that just may be a better fit for you and your family. Thus, it is hugely important to express our great respect for these programs and professionals who work tirelessly in this field. Many of these individuals and programs have given us their time, expertise, supervision, and knowledge base. Thanks to them, we have been able to stand on their shoulders while we were designing our clinical approach.
So, what is our approach? We believe many of the clinical issues our clients face are linked to their interpersonal relationships. Through the lens of attachment theory, we are able to work with our clients and their families to redefine and reframe their relationships with one another. This requires us to help all stakeholders redevelop trusting relationships, set appropriate boundaries and rely on others to share their emotions. This also creates space for everyone to work toward feeling comfortable with their own self-worth. This is also known as Secure Attachment and it’s vital. Our experience has shown secure relationships, although usually present at some point, have taken a backseat during the times of substance use and relapse. Out of sheer survival, families, who once had secure relationships, transpose into insecure relationships, or rather, attachment, resulting in negative perceptions of self and others, preventing them from developing meaningful relationships. Family members become hostages to the whims of their loved one as he becomes a hostage to his lack of self-control, self-worth, and self-esteem. The good news is these relationships can begin anew. It requires all family members to learn new ways of dealing with emotions while detaching from the behaviors and developing capacities to build and sustain healthy relationships.
We all make mistakes, for that is the most human part of being, well, human. The problem comes when we fail to learn from the mistakes while closing the door on new information or being unable to admit when we are wrong. It’s not just our clients reserving these detrimental traits, family members are quite capable of those traits as well.
Humanistic approaches require seeing the innate worth in all people. We work through empathy, positive regard, therapeutic alliances, and building safe relationships with both our clients and their families. We find the best modalities for these aims are Emotion-Focused Therapy (EFT) and Inner Child concepts, which allow us to get to the root of the causes of addiction. Further, evidence-based practices such as Narrative Therapy, Dialectal Behavior Therapy (DBT), and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) allow us to help our clients separate themselves from their problems, negative thoughts, and uncomfortable emotions. Such interventions help people gain clearer understanding of their innate strengths while realizing they are not as broken as they may think they are.
Traumatic experiences throughout a person’s life leave indelible marks, affecting his perception of not only himself, but also others. Trauma comes in many forms, from being bullied in school to any type of abuse. Death of a loved one can also create traumas for an individual, especially when the death was unexpected. Many times, these experiences require the individual to seek out a way to blunt memories of the event and the overwhelming emotions accompanying those memories. Research suggests a strong correlation between traumatic events and substance use disorders, although trauma can also cause other self-harm behaviors such as cutting, eating disorders (yes, plenty of men also have eating disorders), and other mental health issues.
Treating the whole person requires acknowledging his past traumas and the intricate coping mechanisms he uses. Trauma-Informed Care requires us to dig deep with our clients while using psychotherapies such as Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR). Research is clear on this subject. Trauma takes time to heal, sometimes taking years to make a difference. The outcomes put forth through extensive research show the mind can, in fact, heal from psychological trauma much the same way as the body recovers from physical trauma. The trick, as always, is creating space for our clients to experience this healing through their own strengths, positive regard, and the unbreakable therapeutic alliances we build with our clients.
Why adventure? As young men it is imperative to go and experience adventure. There is such a need for people to detach from the mundane and to step out of their comfort zone in order to more fully experience life. And this is so easily achieved while our clients are engaged in the adventure component of our program. There is no greater practice of trusting your community than being belayed while rock climbing by one of your peers. There is no better practice of teamwork than whitewater rafting. Here at EVNSQ we know that there is no place richer with metaphor and no greater teacher than the wilderness and the outdoors.
Our Adventure Programming consists of:
- Fly fishing
- Paddle boarding
The basic notion is to get young men out of the 4 walls and away from screens and let them have an adventure and experience life in the truest form.