Our Holistic Approach

The programs at A Positive Alternative strive to treat the whole person through a multitude of therapeutic modalities. We believe that the person is so much more than the addiction, and the addiction is affected by a number of issues such as depression, stress, anxiety, relationships, and work problems. Often the alcohol or drug problem is not the core problem, but became a problem over time when used as a coping mechanism in dealing with other issues. We help identify issues that lead to alcohol or drug use. As the addiction is addressed and the person is more sturdy in their sobriety, we begin the process of teaching the skills necessary to help with underlying issues.

We utilize the best in evidence-based research and combine key pieces of the most effective treatment for addictions. We draw on many fields of research including mental health, addictions, and health care so that we can offer a comprehensive program. Some of the therapy elements we use are described below.

Mindfulness

We offer Mindfulness-Based Relapse Prevention classes as a part of all of our programs. Many of our clients have found this to be one of the most useful elements that they can use on a daily basis to deal with cravings, stress and impulses. This program began as a pilot study through the University of Washington, and has become a regular element of treatment at APA. Our clients find that through Mindfulness practice, they are able to cope with situations that may lead to relapse by becoming aware of triggers, and to be able to manage situations without the need for substance use.

Wellness

Our Wellness component focuses on the nutritional and physical ways of healing the body and brain from the use of chemicals. The brain used to be considered irreparable—there were only so many cells, and once they are damaged they are gone forever. We now know this is not at all true, and that the brain has an enormous capacity to repair itself. Our program helps introduce simple, natural methods to help this process. Lively, interactive discussions filled with information on nutrition, vitamins and supplements are presented throughout our program. An emphasis on improving healthy living choices including exercise options, sleep habits, and stress management are all a part of topics taught and shared. Given the right physical support and psychological training, the brain is highly capable of healing itself, and even surpassing its previous condition.

Therapy Elements

We incorporate cognitive behavioral therapy to help change lifelong patterns of negative self talk, destructive, discouraging self-image, and low self esteem. Research has shown that the continued negative self dialogue affects our mood, behaviors, esteem and ultimately the choices we make. With a strong emphasis placed on the improved relationship with oneself, this component in our program is an essential building block for establishing an alcohol & drug free lifestyle. Techniques for changing the way we think and methods for reinforcing these changes are a crucial part of the new tools our clients incorporate during their time with A Positive Alternative.

Developmental Psychology is used to identify places where one may have become "stuck" during childhood. We teach healthy life and emotion management skills that many people lack. We have refined what we think are some of the most important life management techniques, and offer the skills to prevent relapse and add to the quality of one's life.

Difficulty with emotion regulation is one of the factors that can lead people to relapse repeatedly. Over time, the use of alcohol and drugs to cope with emotional experiences weakens our ability to deal with these problems in a natural, sober state. Some begin to feel incapable of solving problems without the use of chemicals. We spend time during the course of treatment on the experiential process of working through specific instances of difficulty, focusing on resolving these situations without the use of drugs or alcohol. People find that by the end of treatment they are far more capable of dealing with sadness, anger, frustration, abandonment and other strong emotions without turning to chemicals as a coping mechanism. By using skills learned in our program, a shift is often made to more active problem solving in all areas of life. Emotion management becomes a part of a new set of skills that not only aid in maintaining sobriety but also help establish a healthier life in all aspects.

Together, these approaches create a comprehensive way of approaching treatment—treating the whole person, all the things that may have led to an addiction and all the ways out. Our clients are fully capable of successfully leading lives free of alcohol and drugs when given insight into their lives and all the tools to succeed.