On a sunny and joyful February day at Phoenix House Orange County in Santa Ana, California, academics, clinicians, and treatment specialists met to discuss engagement in adolescents undergoing substance and alcohol addiction treatment services. Danica K. Knight, PhD, and Jennifer E. Becan, PhD, from the Institute of Behavioral Research (IBR) at Texas Christian University (TCU) came to shed light to their new study. This study tracks the implementation of new strategies for improving treatment readiness in approximately 50 programs across the US. The Orange County training include clinicians from Phoenix House Academy of Orange County (on February 19 & 20) was a part of Phase 2 of the research project. In addition, clinical staff at the Phoenix House Academy of Los Angeles attended a “refresher” training on February 21.
The purpose of this two-day training was to introduce counselors and treatment specialists to TCU’s Treatment Readiness and Induction Program (TRIP) by familiarizing them in using graphical approaches during their clinical practices. Participants were taught how to: identify adolescents’ barriers in acceptance and involvement of treatment, direct adolescents’ malevolent thoughts to productive thinking, utilize TRIP lessons and activities, strengthen leadership skills, incorporate peer facilitators, and efficiently use Mapping-Enhanced Counseling (MEC) strategies with clients to promote introspection, group discussion, and consequential thinking. MEC forms the core of TRIP, and is listed on The National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices (NREPP).
In order to understand what inspired the creation of TRIP, the organizers had to define the fundamental, underlying causes of such activities. The obstacles to successful treatment engagement rise with the presence of low motivation, cognitive challenges such as inattention and impulsivity, and non-supportive family and/or peer connections. Discussion followed, and then the fun began! Participants mapped out complex problems and potential solutions, played an interactive game that simulates a life of continued drug use, dealt and traded reflection cards, and enacted client activities and behaviors. Ultimately, everyone was able to visualize real-life scenarios and put the training lessons into practice.
Dr. Danica Knight, Co-Investigator of the TCU Adolescent Project, exclaimed that she “had a great day yesterday with Phoenix House folks!” Further, she said that “we learned as much from them as they did from us!”
Those who participated in the training will be awarded NAADAC CEUs and complete sets of TRIP materials to be used at their agencies. For the TCU team to better understand how interventions like TRIP are adopted and implemented in programs, organizers asked participants to complete a set of 4 surveys before, just following, and months after the TRIP training, ranging a total of 14 months.
Providers of residential and outpatient services specializing in adolescent substance abuse were invited to participate this past 19-20th of February. Among those who attended, were several representatives from the Phoenix House adolescent programs in Los Angeles, Orange, and San Diego counties. Dr. Knight observed in retrospect: “Participants got a lot out of it – at least they told us they did! I also think they enjoyed interacting with providers outside [the Phoenix House] organization and exchanging ideas.“ Enthusiastic, dedicated, and knowledgeable specialists coming together for a good cause can only lead to more effective treatments for those in need.
For more information about our behavioral health treatment programs, or to refer someone in need for admission to our substance abuse or mental health services for adolescents or adults at one of our Phoenix House facilities in Los Angeles, Orange County and San Diego, please call our Call Center at 1 888 671 9392. We are here to help you find the information and services you need!