As a licensed psychotherapist and nationally certified counselor with over 17 years experience in the field of mental health and addictions I have had the opportunity to work in a variety of settings. These have included inpatient psychiatric hospitals, emergency shelters, residential treatment centers, private practice and intensive family workshops. I have experience with adults, adolescents, children, couples and families in both individual and group therapy.
For 10 years I served as Director of Admissions and After Care Coordination, Individual and Family Therapist and Consultant at The Life Healing Center of Santa Fe. During my tenure at this residential treatment center which specializes in emotional trauma and co-occurring disorders, I became aware of two trends that surfaced repeatedly.
The first trend is that when I received a call from a family member, loved one or the client themselves, they were feeling completely overwhelmed with trying to navigate through and make sense of the maze of mental health and addictions treatment options. They did not know where to begin their search, what questions to ask or how to pick the best program or facility. I often found that many of the issues the client was struggling with had not yet been identified, therefore, they were unaware of just what their clinical needs were. They did not know what to expect from the treatment process, what the road to recovery would be like or how to maximize their chances of insurance payment or reimbursement. They really needed someone in the field to guide them through their journey, to serve as an advocate and to educate them along the way.
The second trend I noticed was that many people had multiple “failed treatments”. They spent tens of thousands of dollars on treatment programs only to relapse again and again. Upon further discussion I discovered that often they had gone to programs that were totally inappropriate matches for their clinical needs. For example, a person with a chemical dependency and an eating disorder may have gone to a facility that only addressed the drug and alcohol addiction. This would result in the eating disorder escalating during their sober periods. Another example is someone with a history of trauma and abuse being treated for his or her behavioral problems, but never treated for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. I have also seen people who have been overmedicated for years and had never been referred to therapy to address the underlying core issues. As a result they became dependent on the medication to alleviate their symptoms rather than ever treating the cause.
These experiences leave clients feeling let down, angry and hopeless about their chances of healing. My heart went out to these clients and their family members who had become discouraged with the recovery process and have lost faith in the mental health field in general. When this happened it was very unfortunate for, all too often, it was not that the client had failed in treatment at all but the treatment failed them.
These stories and the desire to help place clients in the right program has resulted in the creation of TREATMENT COORDINATION and ADVOCACY.
“I hope you find us to be a valuable resource in your path to recovery.”
Amy Lashway, MA, LPC, NCC