Drug and Alcohol Treatment Program
The Arbor treatment program is located on the San Gabriel River just outside of Georgetown, Texas. The landscape is serene with an urban ranch feel that provides a relaxing, down-to-earth setting. Our intent is to provide a comfortable environment away from the distractions of life where one can focus on his or her recovery. The program provides:
- Residential care with the development of a comprehensive continuing care plan,
- Treatment of dual disorders and other addictions,
- Gender specific programming,
- Introduction and advancement in 12-Step programming,
- Hope for individuals who have chronically relapsed, and
- Extended lengths of stay
The journey of treatment is a very challenging process. Individuals enter treatment with varying emotional and psychological states. Some present with high levels of denial while others enter from a place of much willingness to change. Regardless of their state, we meet each individual at that place and begin guiding them down the path of recovery.
Our standard residential program is a 90-day experience. Outcome research indicates that abstinence rates increase with more time in structured programming. However, we do recognize individual differences and needs. We have the ability to work with persons that may need longer than 90-day stays, or that may be suitable for shorter durations. Furthermore, we understand that individuals present to treatment with multiple life challenges (e.g., trauma, other addictions, psychiatric disorders such as depression, and unstable relationships) and these must be addressed in order to achieve stabilization. This process takes time. Moreover, if transitioned prior to achieving stabilization, the person is highly vulnerable to relapse.
There has been much research demonstrating the sustained impact of substance use on the brain. It often takes weeks to months for the brain to regain stable functioning. A few examples of instability include difficulty concentrating, frequent fluctuations in mood, indecisiveness, and memory problems. A mistake that newly sober individuals and their family members make, is expecting that the person should be able to return to normal life functioning after a few weeks of sobriety. The danger of acting on this expectation is that the newly sober individual easily becomes overwhelmed by seemingly menial tasks and will often relapse. Individuals need much sustained support and structure to stay on the path of recovery.
Developing a continuing care plan is a main focus throughout each person’s time at the Arbor. As mentioned, stabilizing in recovery requires sustained structured effort. Residential treatment is just the beginning of the journey. We individualize continuing care plans based on several factors; such as the presence of mental health challenges, living conditions, family functioning, and willingness to change. We also include the family in the development of the continuing care plan. The family has much needed insight on the individual’s challenges that need to be addressed within the plan.
At The Arbor, we provide gender specific treatment. We do this to minimize treatment distractions and to provide a safe space to explore issues that may be uncomfortable in a combined group.
The Men’s Program at The Arbor
The Men’s Program at The Arbor offers a unique and integrative approach to chemical dependency treatment. While at The Arbor, men are provided with a safe and secure place to address the inner issues which have contributed to their addictions. They are also supported to explore emotions and develop emotional awareness as well as develop knowledge and understanding of their disease. They are provided with the clinical and medical support necessary to begin on their path of recovery. The Arbor Men’s Program provides a holistic approach which addresses the whole individual encompassing mental, emotional, spiritual, physical and developmental aspects of the client.
From intake to discharge, each client’s specific needs are addressed. Upon arrival at The Arbor, each client is assigned a counselor with whom they collaborate to develop and create an individualized treatment plan to address specific areas of concern. We address 12-Step recovery by providing each client with a Recovery Manager to meet with weekly. Additionally, The Arbor Men’s Program provides on-site and off-site 12-Step meetings and intensive Step study groups. Clients are provided with numerous opportunities through the duration of treatment to build sober supports, attend local 12-Step conventions, and participate in alumni events.
Family involvement and support occurs throughout the duration of treatment. Families are provided with weekly updates from their loved ones individual counselor to ensure that the whole family is involved in the recovery process. Families are also provided with the opportunity to attend our intensive on-site Family Program with their loved one.
The Arbor provides yoga and fitness five days a week, to promote both physical and mental wellness. Our Executive Chef incorporates a balanced diet to address proper nutrition while also keeping in mind dietary restrictions and needs. Nutritional Education is provided to equip clients with the tools to lead a more balanced and healthy lifestyle. Clients participate in education groups throughout the week to increase knowledge and application of coping skills, mental health, relapse prevention, lifestyle development, emotional awareness and chemical dependency education. Weekly individualized therapy is provided through individual sessions with assigned individual counselor and equine therapy with the Equine Specialist. Group therapies include Process group, Art-based therapy group and Equine-assisted therapy group. Support of spiritual growth is provided through daily meditation and evening review, meditation groups, spiritual development groups and opportunities to explore and attend various religious services in the Austin area. Each client’s discharge needs are assessed by our clinical team and a custom recommendation is provided to address opportunities for further growth and to give each client the best chance for success. An individualized discharge plan is created and coordination of discharge needs are provided to each client and their family.
Our dynamic and passionate team in the men’s program consists of Recovery Support Technicians, Recovery Manager, Counselors, Program Director, Director of Family Services, and Clinical Director. The Men’s Program staff pride themselves on team collaboration, communication, problem solving and support for every client to ensure that each individual is provided with World Class treatment.
The Women’s Program at The Arbor
The Women’s Program at The Arbor offers women a critical opportunity to take time away from life’s distractions and focus on their needs. Women frequently share that the 90 days at The Arbor was the first time in their life that they have had the space and encouragement to focus on themselves rather than others.
Our staff is committed to creating a safe and supportive environment for women to address the various issues underlying substance use with special attention to trauma, self-esteem, and body image issues. Our team believes that if left untreated, these factors will trigger relapse on drugs and/or alcohol. For this reason, it is imperative that we treat any other self-destructive behavior during the 90-day program. Normalizing co-occurring disorders promotes open sharing and healing in The Women’s Program.
We treat Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, keeping in mind that clients who have experienced trauma are often self-medicating to cope with life events. Conversely, we see that clients suffering from the disease of addiction are more likely to experience trauma by increased exposure to unsafe situations. We utilize individual and group modalities for the treatment of trauma including cognitive behavioral therapy and Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing (EMDR). Our clinicians office inside the house, facilitating a true open door policy where counselors are available at a moment’s notice, should the need arise.
Women are also given a personalized experience with the 12 steps of Alcoholics Anonymous. While in treatment, clients work with a temporary sponsor/Recovery Manager. This allows the step work to be tailored to the individual to accommodate for religious or cultural influences that might play a part in the spiritual awakening. We take clients to a variety of meetings in the surrounding Georgetown and Austin community and foster relationships between current clients and Arbor alumni. These efforts appear to ease the transition into attending meetings and working a 12-step program after leaving The Arbor. Overall, there is a strong emphasis on finding community and support among other sober women.
Our multidisciplinary team meets regularly and role models open communication and collaboration. Clients are often included in team meetings and given space to provide feedback on their treatment experience. We include family members to the fullest extent possible which broadens our understanding of the individual in their home environment and increases our ability to work effectively with clients. We find that this collaborative approach provides our clients and their families with a sense of ownership in the process and sets the stage for open and honest communication.
Our Family Program is a combination of educational and therapeutic modalities. It is a three and a half day intensive program offered monthly, and is ideal for family members, partners, and significant others affected by addiction. It is lead and directed by masters-level clinicians, and is an experiential program which includes equine assisted therapy, group interaction, individual sessions and other therapeutic activities.
A basic aspect of the treatment philosophy at Arbor West is to view addiction as a family disease. As a family disease, everyone in a relationship with the addict is affected. Statistics show that the addicted person generally affects the lives of at least four other people. And, everyone in the family system is hurting. This perspective is a widely accepted component of the disease model of addiction and is considered the systems approach to addressing imbalance in the family unit.
This approach states that whenever one member of the family adopts an unhealthy behavioral pattern, the entire family system is affected negatively. The consequent result to the family system can be the development of corresponding behavioral patterns by family members which are often as unhealthy or in some cases, even more imbalanced than the original individual who was identified as being “sick.” Ultimately, those patterns intertwine in ways which perpetuate the family difficulties as the system functions to promote personal adaptation rather than growth.
Based on this theoretical view of addiction, as it relates to the family, it is the mission of Arbor West to assist family members and significant others in changing the negative effects generated in their lives due to being emotionally close to and personally involved with someone suffering from addiction.
- Why the American Medical Association defines addiction as a disease
- Relapse and relapse prevention
- What Al-Anon is and why it is important for you to attend
- What “working a program” means
The 3 C’s:
- You didn’t Cause the addiction
- You can’t Control the addiction/addicted person
- You can’t Cure the addiction
You will learn how to:
- Regain your self-respect
- Establish better boundaries
- Identify & effectively express emotions
- Cope with stress
- Deal with anger and resentment
- Forgive yourself
For more information about our Family Program, please click Family Program or contact our Admissions Director now at (844) 413-2690.
Equine Assisted Therapy
“Working with the horses is a way to return to nature, expand our hearts and minds in ways we never thought possible. It facilitates healing at a deep level, those wounds that have left us diminished and fragmented.”
– Mary Lynn Szymandera, LCDC, CEIP
The Arbor Equine Psychotherapy Program
The majority of people presenting for treatment at The Arbor are disconnected from many internal aspects of themselves. This disconnection stems from various painful life experiences and challenges. Often admitting clients will struggle if asked simply to identify a feeling at any particular moment, much less be able to define what is causing the feeling. A consequence of such disconnection is that the individuals lose the ability to release painful or negative emotions through healthy channels such as openly sharing with another human being. Therefore, many turn to alcohol and drugs to manage such emotions.
Our equine assisted therapy program utilizes the innate gentleness and natural instincts of horses to help our clients reconnect to authenticity, intimacy, communication, and trust. Horses respond to what is occurring internally rather than to what is being said or presented outwardly. For example, if a client presents externally as calm but internally is struggling with much anxiety, a horse will reflect this incongruence by not connecting with the client or by being uncooperative. The horse itself becomes anxious because of the incongruence. Through repeated work with the horse, the client learns how to reconnect and identify feelings followed by learning how to openly and honestly express such feelings. This process supports our clients down the path of recovery.
The Equine Therapy Staff
The Equine Program is directed by Kris Gonzalez, M.S. Kris joined The Arbor in 2012 under the mentorship of Mary Lynn Szymandera, LCDC, CEIP (founder of The Arbor’s Equine Program). Kris has over 10 years of experience in equine assisted services and therapies, and over 20 years of experience in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. Kris is a Therapeutic Riding Instructor, Equine Specialist in Mental Health and Learning, and is certified by the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship. She also received training in Equine Assisted Growth and Learning Association and Natural Lifemanship™. Kris has worked with children and adults with addictions and disabilities, at risk youth, children in foster care, veterans, and the homeless.