by Dr. Richard Powell

Healthcare is shifting and with the new and up and coming healthcare reform in 2014 the effect upon the mental health and addiction recovery industry may be surprising at how this change will affect the industry as a whole.  Cut backs, loss of grants and the increased risks of government programs being discontinued it is now becoming a reality that need services may be a thing of the past even though these programs are still strongly in demand.  That leaves us in a state of disarray and in what I would call a conundrum.  Unfortunately, drug abuse and alcoholism are on the rise rather than declining leaving us in a state of confusion.  So, what are we to do?

The answer to that question lies within one word, accountability.  Now most might immediately perceive that we are talking about accountability with providers and/or mental health and addiction recovery programs and centers but the truth is when I speak of accountability I am actually talking about the accountability of the clients within these programs.  For years healthcare providers have been shouldering the client’s responsibilities and in most cases have become a mothering figure to the client.  The recovery professional listens to the clients stories and then like clockwork the healthcare professional takes the clients hand and leads them along through a program that is certain to provide them with the essential tools needed to stay clean and sober.  Unfortunately, the recourse to this approach has been a high reoccurrence of relapse cycling the client back through the programs over and over again until either the client finds long term sobriety or the patient simple gives up on recovery.  What’s missing?  Why do we find clients relapsing time and time again?  The answer is accountability.

The client rather than being hand held throughout their journey in recovery need to be provide with tools and skills that will increase their probability of a successful recovery but most importantly the client needs to be given the opportunity and the empowerment to make their own decisions.  We as healthcare providers have spent a lifetime learning and acquiring various tools that support recovery but what we have been lacked along the way is putting the responsibility and accountability of the client’s recovery back into the client’s hands.  This is accomplished right from the beginning of the client’s journey by informing them that we the provider are there to provide them with a positive forward focused approach, tools and skills, positive mentoring and a clear and concise coaching format that will support the client  throughout their recovery.  The client then must empower themselves and propel themselves forward in their recovery plan by making their own decisions in their recovery program.  It is this approach I believe will become the new and improved recovery program  in long term recovery.  Simply put, putting the accountability back in the hands of the client will ensure that more and more client’s not only make it through a recovery program but at day’s end they will have found permanent long term results.

With respect,

Richard Powell, DCM(P),NMD, OMD, Ph.D., Psy.D., CAc

To learn more about the tools that will help with accountability or to schedule a time to speak with Dr Powell – please contact Doug Nuss at either or direct at 954-610-8598 (Ft, Lauderdale, Florida)

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