Non-Traditional Addiction Services That Work

March 3, 2015 17,376 Comments

Published blog on Psychology by Sarah Benton:

Navigating addiction treatment services can be an overwhelming process, especially when you or your loved one is in crisis. In a past Psychology blog, I described the traditional levels of care that exist in our healthcare system. However, it is also important to understand that there are non-traditional forms of addiction/mental health treatment that are being utilized more frequently and are becoming more mainstream. It is recommended that in order to determine what type of addiction/mental health services would be clinically appropriate that you or your loved one receive an assessment/consult/guidance from a qualified addiction professional or a Primary Care Provider (PCP). In 2014, my husband Josh Benton and I started Benton Behavioral Health Consulting, that offers both clinical and non-traditional forms of treatment and can also assess and refer clients to other resources that provide services that may include:

Case Management

Case management provides non-clinical care that differs from therapy in that it involves supporting the client beyond face-to-face meetings. These services are unique in that they can be performed in person or remotely. Additionally, case managers bring cohesion to an individual’s treatment plan and are the bridge that connects the individual, family and care providers. Case managers provide a variety of services that include: arranging sessions in an office, at the client’s home, in a coffee shop/restaurant or even while engaging in athletic activities (i.e. hiking, walking, indoor/outdoor rock climbing, etc.), monitoring an individual’s treatment progress from the initial point of assessment to intake in a treatment center to communicating with the client’s clinical team in treatment center to assisting in the creation and follow-through of aftercare recommendations, administering urine screen tests, providing care coordination that includes facilitating ongoing communication between the client and other members of the outpatient treatment team (i.e., therapist, psychiatrist, PCP), being the point of contact for the client which may allow families to set more appropriate boundaries with their loved one.

Recovery Coaching

Recovery coaching is a more flexible and less formal non-clinical support than traditional therapy and can be part of a case management plan. It can also compliment therapeutic work by assisting in the client’s implementation of goals established in therapy/psychiatry sessions. Coaches are also available for less structured communication that can include in-person, remote and bringing/escorting clients to mutual-help meetings (12 Step, SMART Recovery) while addressing treatment goals.  Coaching services can include but are not limited to: Providing 12-Step based coaching and integration into life experiences beyond the scope of a traditional “sponsor”, vocational/academic coaching and support, communicating with the client’s outpatient treatment team (i.e., therapist, psychiatrist, PCP, etc.) in order to reinforce the application of therapeutic coping skills into daily life.


Interventions can often help to accelerate the process of an individual reaching his or her “bottom”. The process of intervention asks, encourages, or demands that the identified patient (IP) change their behaviors in many ways, stop using substances, enter treatment, attend mutual-help groups, therapy, etc. The process of intervention does exactly the same thing for the members of the intervention group as it should encourage that the family to change their behavior by encouraging positive decision making, attending self-help support groups (Al-Anon, ACOA), engaging in therapy, etc. It is ideal for all loved ones to recognize the need for changes for their own sake, even though the changes are often made with the specific goal of getting the IP into treatment.  If the IP agrees to go to treatment, it will only be the beginning of a lifelong healing process for the IP and loved ones. The IP is not “cured” when they come home, and they will need to make many changes in their life that will impact all loved ones. For more information about interventions, you can view my past Psychology blog “The 411 about Addiction Interventions”

Therapeutic and Recovery transports

Getting a loved one or yourself admitted into an addiction or mental health treatment facility can often be stressful and confusing. Additionally, family and friends may not be the most appropriate people, nor available to transport a loved one to a treatment facility, back home or to another program. Therefore, therapeutic and recovery transport services are a valuable resource in terms of streamlining this process and bringing peace of mind to both the individual seeking services and loved ones.

Therapeutic and recovery companions

Individuals with addiction and/or mental health issues may need to have supervision and companionship for a short or longer period of time with an experienced professional. Therapeutic and recovery companion services pair a client with a companion who is of the same gender and for those with addictions, is also in recovery. These companions can accompany clients to necessary appointments, help them adhere to a daily schedule, provide oversight, notify family and the treatment team of any concerns, and attend and/or bring them to 12-Step/mutual help meetings.