Catherine Trestrail, CDP, MSW, ACSW

Founder & Owner

Catherine received her Master's Degree from the UW School of Social Work, her ACSW 2 years later. She's been working in the combined treatment of chemical dependency and mental health since 1982, received her Certificate in Alcohol Studies in 1984, the same year she graduated from the UW with a BA in Social Welfare.

Catherine founded A Positive Alternative in 1990 under the name Women's Recovery Center, and has pioneered the use of a number of critically different therapeutic approaches to addiction treatment. For over 25 years Catherine has advocated gender specific treatment, offering one of the few programs in the nation providing an effective holistic approach that does not involve the use of AA or the 12-Step method. Catherine advocates for Masters level therapists to be the standard in addiction treatment. Much of the efficacy of our program is dependent upon the advanced training of our therapists.

Her commitment to implementing the most promising new research in the mental health and addiction fields has led her to take some controversial stands within the treatment community. Perhaps her most controversial stand has been her strongly held belief that AA and 12-step is simply one approach to recovery, not the only or best approach for everyone.

Catherine was one of the first to advocate for the diagnosis and treatment of depression and anxiety disorders very early in treatment, when conventional thinking dictated that no diagnosis or medication be given until after one year of sobriety. Without early treatment for depression or anxiety, many people may never be able to achieve sobriety.

Our state-certified outpatient program is a model of responsiveness to the particular needs of the individual, providing a structured skills and insight-based approach to recovery from addictions. Our therapists consistently focus on client strengths and individuality in a practical, hopeful, compassionate and positive manner.