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Customized Therapies for Real-Life Recovery

Learn about our three-pronged approach to customizing your treatment plan. 

The Foundation

Gender Specific Treatment

Although men and women can struggle with the same addiction, it does not mean they can have the same application of treatment. Men and women retain inherent differences within the mind and body, so their experiences with substance abuse will also differ. We believe that applying our treatment within the confines of gender is mandatory to the recovery of our clients. 

Supporting MAT

We support our clients that come to us on a medication-assisted treatment plan. We will manage and monitor your medications as needed to extend your professional support as you smoothly transition into your life in recovery. 

Comprehensive Assessment

The treatment episode begins with a comprehensive bio-psycho-social assessment completed by our clinical staff. This assessment allows us to not only gain a deeper understanding of the specific needs of the client, but also supports our team in developing a more comprehensive and individualized treatment plan. 

Individualized Treatment Plans

The individualized treatment plan is driven by the comprehensive bio-psycho-social assessment that is completed by our staff. The individualized treatment plan provides a blueprint for treatment and is designed to meet the specific needs of each client. 

Psychiatric Support & Care

We are committed to offering our clients clinical support, including psychiatric care, as a part of their treatment. Therapeutic staff will work with you if there is an ongoing need for psychiatric support that goes beyond our treatment.

Group & Individual Therapy

Group and individual therapy are the foundations of all treatment programs. We have created a treatment curriculum that is innovative, dynamic, and provides each client the opportunity to explore and experience a wide range of group topic and activities. 

Weekly Family Updates

We take pride in providing weekly progress updates. This is a time that can be arranged by families with the primary counselor. In this time, families can expect to get an update on the overall progress in treatment, and to have a platform to ask questions, and receive feedback and support. 

Physician Visits

Each client will meet with our medical director within the first week of the admission for a full comprehensive health screening. Medication refills, blood work, referrals for specialists, and more can all be completed and scheduled at this time. 

The Approach

Health & Nutrition

Clients learn the importance of health and nutrition in the recovery process and the connection between the mind and body through interactive, engaging, and informative lectures. The intention is to encourage clients to begin making healthy choices as it relates to their diet and nutrition to compliment the commitment they have made to live a life free from active addiction. 

Progress & Barriers

Clients re-visit their established SMART goals from early in the week, acknowledging progress they have made, and are also provided the opportunity to process any setbacks, barriers, and challenges. The intention of the group is to celebrate their progress and to provide support, and solution for their challenges. 

Recreational Outings

Clients participate in various therapeutic and recreational activities such as hikes, ropes coarse challenges, frisbee golf, beach volleyball, whale watching, fishing, etc. The intention of these groups encourages client participation in clean and sober recreation, and to develop cohesiveness amongst the recovery community. 

Sound-Healing & Meditation

Clients participate in a one-hour sound healing process in a therapeutic and safe environment facilitated by world renowned sound healing experts. Group members often report that “this is the greatest meditation group they have ever participated in.” The intention of the group is to promote deep relaxation, decrease anxiety, and to ultimately increase self-awareness. 

Breath Works

Clients participate in breathing rhythmically to music and guided instructions facilitated by breathing specialists. The intention of the group is to demonstrate the impact that breathing can have on overall health and wellbeing, and more importantly self-regulations of emotions when clients experience triggers or discomfort. 

Creative Expression

Clients participate in a creative expression setting that emphasizes the power of creativity and utilizing tools such as music, art, and poetry. The intention of the group is to introduce clients to ways creative expression is not only therapeutic and helpful, but also can be used as a coping skills to self-regulate emotions when triggered and communicate with others. 

CBT Groups

Clients participate in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy with their primary counselor in a group setting. These groups are evidenced based and have been proven to be effective in substance abuse treatment. The intention of these groups is to assist clients in understanding the connection between thoughts, feelings, and behavior and gain insight into various techniques and interventions that promote change and growth. 

Experiential Therapy

Clients participate in groups that encourage actions, movements, and activities as opposed to traditional talk therapy. The intention of the group is to help clients improve their interpersonal skills, enhance their communication skills, and gain insight and awareness towards self and others. 

Process Groups

Process groups are safe environments in which clients can feel safe and supported to discover, uncover, and work through the underlying causes of their addiction with the help and support of their primary counselors. The intention of these groups is to help clients let go of their past, overcome their fears, and to improve authentic communication. 

Psychoeducational Lectures

Psychoeducation and interactive lectures on various topics. Groups are facilitated and led by master’s level family therapists and social workers. The intention of the group is to increase client understanding of addictions and related topics by providing clients with the most relevant, accurate, and informative information 

Four Agreements

Clients gain a deeper understanding of the Four Agreements 1) Be impeccable with your word 2) Not taking things personally 3) Never making assumptions 4) Always do your best. The intention of the group is to provide clients with simple easy tools to help them navigate through the challenges of early recovery and living a life free from active addiction. 

EMDR Therapy

EMDR treatment is a type of psychotherapy that helps people to heal from emotional distress that comes from disturbing life experiences. EMDR stands for Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing. It works mainly through the subconscious to effect change. By contrast, talk therapy relies on the conscious mind to effect change, which takes a lot longer in many cases. 

The Application

Vocational Assessment

Once client admits to Buckeye Recovery Network, they will meet with our vocational specialist for a vocational assessment. This is essentially an interview to see client’s goals, work experience, and education.  

After the client is on step four with their sponsor, in good standing with their primary counselor, and has been a client for 45 days, they will enter job search group. Job search group meets weekly, in which clients check in and are held accountable to their job search progress. Clients will meet one on one with our vocational specialist to create resumes and execute plans for employment weekly.  

Our vocational specialist takes every client to their job interviews and will prep them on the way there. Once employed, clients then meet to create a budget to help become fully self-supporting and successfully transition into becoming a working member of society. 

Alumni Speaker

Having someone who has been through the same program come in and speak to current clients helps connect them from where they currently are to where they could realistically be. Sometimes clients are quick to complain and make excuses especially when they are being asked to grow, in this case, getting a job. When we see someone who has succeeded with the same rules and guidelines, it is good for the clients to see it can be done and that maybe they can change their perspective. 

Time Management

Time management is a hard practice. When we first get sober and are beginning to transition into “real life,” it can at times be overwhelming. We now have responsibilities. We get a job, we have meetings that we commit to, or maybe we are in school or have certain bills we must pay. It is crucial that we learn the basics of time management and utilizing a calendar so that once “life” hits we can cope, rather than get overwhelmed and admit defeat. Time management is a skill that takes time to develop and is different for each client. The goal of this exercise is to learn how to prioritize and organize our week. 

Interview Game

Interview game is a fun and effective way to get the clients prepared for interviews. Most clients will be surprised that some of these questions are asked and have no idea how to answer in an appropriate way that will make them most marketable to their future employer. 

This gives the group the opportunity to bounce ideas off each other and see that they are not alone in their interview insecurities. 

Interview Etiquette

Most of us have a lot of anxiety around getting jobs, especially being newly sober. We have found that, when we practice interview skills and talk about different expectations of employers, in detail, clients are more confident and in turn do better in interviews. We have created a list of topics to go over with the clients as a group. Topics are as follows- Rehearse, Research, Body Language, Dressing the Part, Timing, What to Bring, Handshake, Smile, Ask Questions, and Follow-up. 


Most of us have a toxic relationship with money when we are in our addiction. We are impulsive and spend all our money with no thought of the future. When transitioning back into “real life” and becoming efficient members of society it is crucial that we learn how to budget. 

We have partnered up with our local Wells Fargo Branch in Huntington Beach. The branch manager and a banker will come in and speak with the clients about budgeting. They bring materials and break down the action and simplicity of budgeting very clearly. 

To speak with an admissions specialist and learn more about our treatment options call us: Get Help Now: 949.258.7580

Therapy for Substance Use Disorder Treatment

Table of Contents

Behavioral Therapy Treats Substance Use Disorders

Why is therapy for substance use disorder important? In 2018, an estimated 164.8 million people over the age of 12 reported using a substance (tobacco, alcohol, illicit drugs, prescription opioids, etc.) in the past month, and 53.2 million people reported using an illicit substance in the past year.1 Marijuana was reported to be the most commonly used illicit substance at 43.5 million people, and misuse of prescription pain killers came in second at 9.9 million people.1

There are differing opinions on why addiction develops. Regardless of what causes addiction, behavioral therapy is an important part of the treatment for substance use disorder.

What Reinforces Drug Use?

It’s important to understand how addiction occurs. Whether it be alcohol, opioids, hallucinogens, marijuana, stimulants, or a combination of them, when substances are repeatedly misused, the experience becomes a positive reinforcement. This positive reinforcement makes a person want to use the substance again. The relief from negative emotions also reinforces drug use. When withdrawal symptoms begin, there is a desire to make the uncomfortable symptoms end by abusing more of the substance.

Due to these reinforcements, it can be difficult for a person to stop using a substance. Whether the substance is being used to escape negative feelings of depression, anxiety or guilt, or if it is being used to feel happy, excited, and relaxed, the body becomes dependent on the substance. Misusing a substance for an extended period changes the brain structure, which affects thought patterns and response to stimuli. The body may begin to experience cravings for the drug, feeling as if the substance is needed to function.

Behavioral Therapy

Behavioral therapy is highly effective in treating substance use disorders. It gives a person the proper psychological tools needed to reverse the effects a substance has had on the brain while restoring the body’s ability to function normally without the substance. Therapy equips clients with the skills needed to remain abstinent, recognize and modify behaviors surrounding substance abuse, and handle stressful life events that may trigger cravings.

Behavioral Therapy Treats Substance Use Disorders


Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is one of the most well-known forms of therapy that is used both in the treatment of mental health disorders and substance abuse disorders. It was founded by Dr. Aaron Beck in the 1960s and focuses on tackling problematic thoughts and feelings surrounding whatever issues a person may be dealing with (e.g., mental health or substance abuse).

How Does CBT Work?

CBT works to explore how thoughts and feelings may be irrational and may stem from past experiences or environmental factors rather than being based on reality or facts. In other words, CBT helps to identify automatic negative thoughts that come from false beliefs, self-doubt, and fear. Identifying these thoughts and proving how they are not based on reality or fact is the first step in deconstructing those negative thoughts.

This is important in understanding why a person feels or acts a certain way and how that can lead to substance abuse. This understanding aids in the recovery process from a substance use disorder. The goal is to use the skills and tools learned in CBT to challenge negative automatic thoughts rather than turning to substances to self-medicate. CBT can occur during individual psychotherapy or in a group setting. The skills learned during CBT can be practiced during day-to-day life.

Dialectical Behavioral Therapy

Dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT) is an evidence-based model of therapy that focuses on two slightly opposing strategies: acceptance and change. Initially developed for people with borderline personality disorder, it can also be used for various other mental health disorders and substance use disorders. DBT validates a client’s experiences, thoughts, and feelings, and then it helps them make positive changes in their life. DBT typically requires a one-year commitment but may be broken down into shorter DBT informed programs.

DBT Skills

DBT focuses on teaching the following four skills:

Mindfulness: Mindfulness is the practice of being fully present and in the moment through acknowledging and observing thoughts, feelings and behaviors without trying to control them.

Distress Tolerance: Distress tolerance is the practice of learning how to cope during a crisis. Many things in life cannot be controlled, so distress tolerance is about letting go of control, accepting a situation as it is, and learning how to cope with it.

Interpersonal Effectiveness: Interpersonal effectiveness has to do with a person’s relationships with others. It is the skill of being able to ask others what they need, being able to say no to others and maintaining self-respect.

Emotion Regulation: Emotion regulation refers to the ability to control emotions so that they don’t overwhelm a person’s thoughts and behaviors.

On top of the skills learned in a DBT group, DBT might also involve individual psychotherapy and in-the-moment coaching (either over the phone or in-person). The goal of DBT is to help a person gain the necessary life skills to lead a fulfilling and valuable life. While it may seem similar to CBT, DBT puts a higher focus on interpersonal relationships and emotional regulation.

Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy

Rational emotive behavior therapy (REBT) is another form of psychotherapy that was created by Albert Ellis and has been used as a psychological treatment since the 1950s. REBT differs from other forms of psychotherapy in that it is more of a philosophy of living than it is just a treatment program. The philosophy behind REBT is that emotions come from within and are based on beliefs, rather than on external events or experiences. The intention is to change irrational beliefs since it is those core beliefs that contribute to emotions of happiness, sadness, depression, anger, or anxiety.

ABC Model

The ABC model that was developed within REBT helps to unpack this philosophy.

A = Activating Event: Any event that happens in the environment
B = Beliefs: Beliefs about the event
C = Consequence: The emotional response to a belief

This model is intended to show that emotions are based on beliefs rather than on an external event that has happened.

Irrational Thoughts

According to Albert Ellis, there are three main irrational thoughts that people have about themselves, others, or the environment. They are:

I need to do well and have the approval of others, or I am not a worthy person.

I want to be treated fairly and kindly, and people who don’t treat me that way are not good and should be punished.

I must always get what I want when I want it. If I don’t get what I want, I will be miserable.

These irrational thoughts can make a person feel anxious, depressed, shameful, guilty, or angry. Ellis philosophizes that reactions are based on irrational thoughts rather than on actual events. The process of REBT challenges these irrational beliefs.

Example: A person feels that if they don’t win the approval of others, they are not a worthy person. Through the REBT approach of dismantling this thought, they may come to understand that their worth does not depend on having everyone’s approval.


Emotional health is another important part of REBT, and this lies in the concept of acceptance. There are three types of acceptance that are taught in REBT. They are:

Unconditional Self-acceptance: Accepting yourself regardless of your flaws.

Unconditional Other-acceptance: Not everyone will treat you fairly and that is okay; they are not less worthy than anyone else.

Unconditional Life-acceptance: You can’t control everything in your life. Not everything has to go the way you want it, and life will always have its ups and downs.

For substance use disorders, REBT helps form good emotional health and teaches how to react to situations in a healthy way rather than turning to substance use.

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing Therapy

Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing therapy (EMDR) is a newer and non-traditional form of psychotherapy that was developed by Francine Shapiro in 1989. It is used primarily in the treatment of PTSD but can also be used in the treatment of substance use disorders. Rather than being a form of behavioral therapy, EMDR uses a person’s own rapid, rhythmic eye movements to recall the memories of traumatic events.

What Happens During an EMDR Session?

An EMDR session can last up to 90 minutes during which a therapist moves their fingers back and forth in front of the client’s face, having them follow the motion with their eyes. Simultaneously, the client will be asked to recall a traumatic event. The therapist will then shift the client’s focus to more pleasant events and thoughts. The idea is that recalling the events while moving the eyes from side to side will help to lessen the distress surrounding the event and decrease the emotional impact of the event. This is because a person is less likely to be emotionally distressed when they are distracted. While EMDR is considered to be fairly safe, many health care providers still question the effectiveness of the therapy.

EMDR is not widely used in substance use disorder treatment but is thought to help patients to work through stressful triggers or traumatizing past events that might have lead to substance abuse.

Motivational Interviewing

Motivational interviewing (MI) is a therapeutic technique that focuses on bringing out an individuals own motivation to change. The philosophy behind MI is that most people are ambivalent about change. Many people know they have a problem with drugs or alcohol, and they want to change their behaviors, but struggle to end the substance abuse.

MI can be used as a treatment on its own or in combination with other treatments as MI is mostly about encouraging independent change.  Change cannot be forced, and the motivation to change must come from within. Rather than a psychotherapist telling a client that their behavior is negative and that they have to change, a psychotherapist will try to reflect the way that the client feels and draw out any motivations for change that they may express. MI is typically conducted in an individual setting.

Contingency Management

Contingency management is a form of treatment that involves rewarding positive behaviors with tangible items. Because using substances involves a reward system (positive and negative reinforcements), contingency management works to replace those rewards with healthier rewards.

These rewards may include:

Voucher-based Reinforcement

Voucher-based reinforcement is popular for treatment of opioid use disorder and stimulant abuse. A voucher is given for every drug-free urine sample provided. The voucher has a monetary value that can be used for food items, movie passes or other goods that are healthy alternatives to drug use. The more drug-free samples provided, the higher the value of the voucher. This provides an incentive to maintain abstinence so that their vouchers increase in value.

Prize Incentives

Prize incentives offer the opportunity to win cash prizes instead of vouchers. During the course of treatment, participants who supply drug-free urine samples or breath tests can draw prizes from a bowl for the chance to win between $1-$100. There may also be the opportunity to draw for prizes for attending counseling sessions or complete weekly activities. The more negative drug tests provided and the more counseling sessions attended, the more times a person can draw.

Studies show that contingency management is one of the most effective treatments for substance use disorder.

Matrix Model

The matrix model is a form of treatment that was created in the 1980s and is typically used to treat stimulant abuse(e.g., methamphetamines and cocaine). The matrix model is a combination of many other forms of treatment. Under the matrix model, people learn about issues surrounding addiction and relapse, receive coaching and support from therapists, learn about self-help programs, and are monitored for drug use through urine testing. In the matrix model of treatment, the therapist is also a teacher and a coach who builds a positive relationship with a client and supports treatment on a more individualized basis.

Therapists promote the client’s self-esteem, dignity, and self-worth. The relationship between the client and the therapist is extremely important. Therapists will use elements of treatment from other forms of psychotherapy and will provide clients with educational materials and support from a wide range of sources.

Treatment Principles

The matrix model includes 8 guiding treatment principles:


Follow-through on structure and expectations

Quality educational content

Varied treatment approaches

Reward and encouragement

Engagement and education

Participation in self-help and community-based programs

Substance use urine testing

The matrix model is an intensive outpatient program requiring several hours of treatment multiple days of the week. It is highly structured and lasts for a period of 16 weeks but can be extended to a year depending on each individual. It involves aspects of CBT, MI, behaviorism, family, couples, and marriage counseling, group therapy, and encouragement to attend 12-step meetings. Because the matrix model relies on all of the most effective aspects of other treatments, it is thought to be one of the most effective treatments for substance use disorders.

12-step Programs

12-step programs are a type of treatment for people with substance use disorders. Although the idea of the 12-step program was started by the founders of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), there are now many more 12-step programs that target various addictions, such as Narcotics Anonymous (NA), Heroin Anonymous (HA), Gamblers Anonymous (GA), Cocaine Anonymous (CA), and Debtors Anonymous (DA).

The basic idea behind the 12-step model is that people can help each other to become sober and maintain sobriety by creating a community of people struggling with the same problems. This community comes together for regular meetings where they share their experiences and support each other in their journey to recovery through the 12 steps. There are no dues or membership fees. AA, for example, is self-supported through member donations and contributions. AA is not allied with any sect, denomination, political group, organization, or institution, and the one requirement for membership is the desire to stop drinking.


It is important to note not all 12-step programs include trained professionals, and they differ from rehabilitation programs and psychotherapy as they are a peer-to-peer network of individuals who are sharing their experiences. A common practice of 12-step programs is for an experienced member of the group to “sponsor” a new member by offering personal guidance and support. 12-step programs do not offer professional treatment, and it is often beneficial to partake in medical treatment as well as 12-step programs.

The 12 Steps

Although the 12 steps of AA have been amended to reflect secular values as well as other religious values, these are the original 12 steps as defined by Alcoholics Anonymous:

We admitted we were powerless over alcohol, that our lives had become unmanageable.

We came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.

We made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.

We made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.

We admitted to God, to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.

We were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.

We humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.

We made a list of persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all.

We made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.

We continued to take personal inventory, and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it.

We sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.

Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

Many groups have adapted the 12 steps to reflect their own beliefs or values. Many 12-step programs have removed the word God and replaced it with some sort of “higher power.”

How Effective is Therapy for Substance Use Disorders?

Because psychotherapy does not involve an physical intervention (such as surgery), it can be hard to determine how effective each therapy is at treating substance use disorder. It is clear that not enough people seek or receive substance use disorder treatment.

In 2017, an estimated 20.7 million people over the age of 12 required treatment, however, only 19% (4 million) of those people received treatment.2 Of those who did not receive treatment, only 1 million felt that they even needed treatment.2

These statistics show that it can be hard to recognize that there is a problem. Substance use disorder is also still a taboo topic for some, making people feel embarrassed or ashamed about seeking treatment.

The reality is that substance use disorder is a medical issue that should be treated no differently than any other mental or physical disorder. There is a lot of support available for anyone seeking treatment.

In the U.S., there are over 14,500 specialized substance abuse treatment facilities.3 Alcoholics anonymous alone has over 2 million members in the U.S. spanning over 125,000 groups.4 Although substance use disorder is considered to be treatable, the rate of relapse for people with substance use disorders is between 40%-60%.5 It is important to remember that relapse is simply a symptom of substance abuse and does not mean that treatment has failed.

Seeking Help

If you or someone that you know is struggling with a substance use disorder, there are treatment options available. No one will get in trouble for seeking help, and there are many forms of treatment to recover from substance abuse disorder. Substance abuse varies from person to person, so it is important to have an individualized treatment plan. Buckeye Recovery Network can provide more information on possible treatment plans, referrals, and therapy options.

Kelsey Gearhart

Director of Business Development

Kelsey carries multiple years of experience working in the substance abuse and mental health treatment field. Her passion for this field comes from her personally knowing recovery from addiction.

Prior to Buckeye she held titles of Recovery Coach, Operations Director, and Admissions Director. Kelsey was brought on at Buckeye Recovery as the Director of Business Development. She has a passion for ensuring every individual gets the help that they need, and does so by developing relationships with other providers.

Kelsey also oversees our women’s sober living environments – The Chadwick House for Women. She is committed to creating a safe, nurturing, and conducive environment for all women that walk through the doors of Chadwick.