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14 WEEK RECOVERY PLAN

Program Overview

There are 5 distinct stages in the LifeSwitch Recovery Program

ASSESSMENT • PLANNING • TREATMENT • PROGRAM CONCLUSION •  FOLLOW-UP CARE

Three Key Elements to Success:

1. Trusting and mutually–respectful relationship – There has to be a commitment from both the counselor and the client to engage in complete honesty. There must be mutual trust.
2. Realistic and time-specific goals of mutual agreement – We can’t get to where we want to go unless we know the destination. We can’t be sure we are making progress towards those goals unless we have measuring posts along the way.
3. The client is the most important participant in their recovery – Client cooperation and participation in their own recovery is expected. Enthusiasm is appreciated!

Introduction

New clients at LifeSwitch begin with 180 minutes in-office for assessment and treatment planning. This time is divided into two appointments generally within a few days of each other.

1. ASSESSMENT (Meeting 1 – 90 Minutes)

In the first meeting, client will be given four screening tests that include instruments to measure current anxiety, current depression, previous trauma and current drug/alcohol use and severity. A description of each test is included below. Client will take the screenings on a computer in a quiet and comfortable environment. In total, these tests take approximately 45 to 50 minutes to complete and are made up of true/false and multiple choice questions that are easy to read and answer. There are no right or wrong answers. After a short break, client will spend approximately 30 minutes in a face-to-face assessment interview. At the end of the meeting the client will be given initial books and other program material.

2. TREATMENT PLANNING (Meeting 2 – 90 minutes)

In the second meeting time will be dedicated to reviewing the Informed Consent document that client received which outlines the mutual responsibilities and expectations of the counselor and the client. “Confidentiality,” an important aspect of the counselor-client relationship, will be discussed in detail. Most of the time however will be spent on reviewing the completed assessment and discussing and creating the most effective treatment plan.

Treatment Planning will be a collaborative effort between the counselor and the client. Focus is applied to what the client hopes to accomplish and where they want to be when we complete the treatment. That destination must be achievable, significant and specific. It is worth pointing out that rarely is the destination satisfactory if it isn’t one that includes permanent abstinence. Experience tells us that an alcoholic or addict is in dangerous territory trying to moderate use to a safe level. Those attempts are almost always futile and during the “experiment” the damages to self and loved ones continue to pile up.*

Once we agree on a reasonable destination we pull out the map and determine the best route to get there. It is important that there is agreement on the starting point (where the client is now), the necessary path to success, with measuring sticks along the way that insure we stay on the right path, and the final destination.

There is no value in dictating what a client must do – the value lies in the client knowing what he or she must do to reach a destination they themselves have determined. My job is to make sure the path is reasonable in light of the proposed destination and that the client is held accountable for staying on the path. The terrain can be bumpy and confusing; sometimes it is scary. I will be there with the client to make sure their feet are firmly grounded and moving forward. It is a path I have traversed myself and I know it well.

*“Harm Reduction” is the term used to describe moderating use, and if we were to see you for that purpose, it would be outside the parameters of this program.

3. TREATMENT

The 12-Step Program, based on biblical principles and devised by Alcoholics Anonymous is still the most effective recovery model around. It generally serves as the platform for treatment, although the principles that guide Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Motivational Interviewing (MI) are effective in correcting associated conditions, whether they are causal or caused in relation to the substance abuse. Those modalities are implemented when indicated in a seamless but effective manner. So many times trauma is an underlying precursor of those who struggle with alcohol and drug use, and anxiety and depression are frequent correlating disorders. Low self-esteem and lack of motivation or initiative find such disorders as a welcome environment to flourish so they usually find a place to take up residence. Without addressing these conditions and disorders, recovery has little chance of success. Many times they are so intertwined with the substance abuse that treating simultaneously with the addiction is the best approach.

The length of treatment is 14 weeks after the assessment and planning meetings. Depending on the need and severity of the abuse or addiction clients can select from one 60 minute session a week, two 60 minute sessions per week, or two 90 minute sessions per week. For each session there will be assigned homework usually involving a video of one hour or less to watch, readings from the study material provided, as well as a worksheet to complete.

A note about God and Spirituality. It is important for anyone seeking any sustained recovery from alcohol or substance abuse to tap into the unlimited resource of God; however the client chooses to perceive Him. While I am certain there are exceptions, I have yet to see even one person find peace and happiness or lasting sobriety without what AA calls a “higher power.” While I am Christian, no particular religion is pushed and I am comfortable in moving forward with a client of any religious leanings or none at all. What is required is that the client have an open mind to such ideas, and not be antagonistic towards the idea of God. A look at one’s life in the throes of their struggle with alcohol or drugs should be proof enough that perhaps their way of thinking has room for change.

4. TREATMENT CONCLUSION

Reaching the point where treatment can end is a good thing. The goal of the sessions is to create an environment and supply the knowledge essential to bring about a transformation of mind and spirit that makes the use of drugs and alcohol a contradiction to the client’s new life. The clinical time together also allows the newly recovered individual to build a “toolbox” filled with the solutions and know-how to avoid the traps of relapse that have led them astray in the past. Having cleared up a substantial amount of the trash and debris left from his or her alcohol or drug-induced drug addictions in the past, the client can move on with a new sense of confidence

5. ONGOING FOLLOW-UP CARE

Some clients like to continue to meet on a less frequent basis for a few months after the end of the treatment to continue to develop the skills of sobriety and to have accountability to stay on the right path. We are glad to accommodate as long as we can outline the objectives for the extended time together and set a firm time for completion.

ONLINE COUNSELING

What is Video Counseling?

Online Video Counseling (aka telepsychiatry, telemental health, telecare, telemedicine, e-health, e-counseling) is a method of receiving counseling and therapy via the internet on a private one-to-one video feed. LifeSwitch is one of the few addiction counseling providers that offer this flexible method of counseling. Since all electronic correspondence is susceptible to intrusion, we veered away from traditional “Skype” and other web-based conferencing platforms and partnered with Thera-Link – a company that specializes in providing HIPAA-compliant and highly-secured video conferencing custom designed for professionals in the mental health field. The program is easy to understand and simple to use and allows our clients the convenience of interfacing through their home computer, i-Pad, or cellular phone*. Once the connection is established, the client views a split screen of the counselor and the video feed that the counselor is seeing of them. The client can toggle between these views so that they can view just the counselor if they prefer.

LifeSwitch offers video counseling as an alternative for people who need help but live in very rural areas where specialized addiction counselors may not be available. What we have found however is that even our local clients sometimes prefer the convenience of online counseling, either as a permanent mode of interaction or occasionally when they are traveling or need to have their session from their home or office. Since we do not charge a premium for video sessions, it really comes down to your preference.

Click Here to Download our New Client Instructions

Click Here to Download our Technical Setup Instructions

TESTING & EVALUATIONS

Drug and Alcohol Assesments

An accurate assessment completed by a competent addiction counselor is arguably the most important objective in the drug and alcohol treatment process. Determining the presence, the exact nature and severity of substance use (and abuse) and understanding the likelihood and intensity of withdrawals when the client attempts to come clean is of utmost importance (withdrawal from some substances, like alcohol for instance, is deadly if not recognized and treated properly). To cloud the effort, some 70% of individuals who suffer from alcohol or drug addiction have a correlating mental disorder - anxiety, depression, and trauma-related disorders like PTSD lead the list.

Additionally, if the client isn't there by his or her own volition, the disease will do the talking and deception will lead the denial procession. It is nearly impossible to make an accurate diagnosis and in turn create a treatment plan that will be effective without accurate determinations in the assessment. Without an effective treatment plan, the client won't have his or her best chance at long-term sobriety.

Drug and Alcohol Screening Tools

One of the important tools that counselors have at their disposal is testing and screening instruments that can help support or deny the track of the counselor's thinking. These instruments, usually in the form of testing in the drug and alcohol rehabilitation world, don't solve the riddle, but they can help a counselor confirm that his assessment is accurate or give him or her reason to dig a little further if it turns out results indicates circumstances not recognized by the counselor.

At LifeSwitch, we have selected three prominant and proven testing instruments we use in the assessment process. Of course, clients are unique and many times no testing is necessary. Other times all three tests we utilize are needed. I like the SASSI-4 in particular because it has a subtle implication to it which will reveal if the client is being deceptive with his or her answers, can uncover substance abuse disorders (SUDs) even when comorbid mental disorders are present, and has a predictive element to it that gives an indication whether the one tested is suspect to other drug addictions, including prescription meds.

Below is a brief description of each of the screening tools we use. When the test is completed, is is reviewed objectively by the testing agent, and then subjectively by a LifeSwitch Counselor. Afterwards, the results are discussed with the client along with ideas of appropriate treatment plans.


Beck's Depression Inventory - II – Screening Administration and Detailed Analysis

The BDI–II is the second edition of the Beck Depression Inventory, the world’s most widely used instrument for assessing the intensity of depressive symptoms. The BDI–II features items that bring it in line with current depression criteria of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders DSM-5. The BDI–II consists of questions to assess the intensity of depression in clinical and normal examinees. Each item is a list of four statements arranged in increasing severity about a particular symptom of depression. The recommended age range is 13 years and older.


Beck's Anxiety Inventory – Screening Administration and Analysis

The BAI has been found to effectively discriminate between anxious and nonanxious diagnostic groups in a variety of clinical populations for individuals aged 17 through 80. The BAI consists of questions rated on a scale from 0 to 3. Each item is descriptive of subjective, somatic, or panic-related symptoms of anxiety. Anxiety levels are reported and a list of concerning answers will be revealed when they existsd.


Substance Abuse Subtle Screening Inventory - 4th Edition – Screening Admin. & Analysis

SASSI-4 identifies high or low probability of substance use disorders and includes a prescription drug scale that identifies individuals likely to be abusing prescription medications. It also provides a measure of profile validity and clinical insight into level of defensiveness and willingness to acknowledge experienced consequences of substance use disorder. The Substance Abuse Subtle Screening Inventory (SASSI-4) identifies high or low probability of substance use disorders and includes a prescription drug scale that identifies individuals likely to be abusing prescription medications.

Objective decision rules classify individuals as chemically dependent or as not chemically dependent. It is especially effective in identifying early-stage chemically dependent individuals who are either in denial or who are trying to conceal their chemical dependency. In addition to being used as a screening instrument, the SASSI-4 also provides clinical insights into a respondent’s defensiveness and willingness to acknowledge experienced consequences of substance use disorder. Validated to screen for multiple levels of Substance Use Disorder (SUD) severity: The SASSI-4 screens for SUD along the full DSM-5 continuum of severity: mild, moderate, and severe SUD.

Distinguishes likely Substance Use Disorder from other psychological disorders: The SASSI-4 can accurately identify the presence and the absence of SUD, even when other psychological symptoms are present, Enhanced SUD identification through subtle items that have been added to the SASSI-4 SAT scale. Additional face valid items to identify symptoms represented in the DSM-5 diagnostic criteria.

Key Areas Measured
• Face Valid Alcohol
• Face Valid Other Drug
• Symptoms
• Obvious Attributes
• Subtle Attributes
• Defensiveness
• Correctional
• Family vs. Control Subjects
• Random Answering Pattern
• Supplemental Addiction Measure
• Prescription Drug Abuse

WHAT WE BELIEVE

LifeSwitch Commitments

LifeSwitch is rooted in some simple but important commitments to our clients.

1. Appointment times should work for the clients – We offer flexible scheduling times including nights and weekends to allow our clients to work appointments around their schedule, not the other way around. For those who are currently in a program with us and for new patients (as long as there are openings for new clients) we offer these extended hours for your convenience.

2. We will have a sense of urgency in seeing new clients – Many times, especially when addiction is the issue, clients can't wait two weeks to see a professional. If your need is urgent, our need is urgent. We will offer an appointment time for urgent needs generally within 48 hours of completing the request process, sooner if we can. Sometimes our schedules won't gel to make it possible, but know that we are committed to helping you when you need us.

3. Let's bring back the 60 minute hour - it seems that many counselors today have curled back that one hour appointment to 50 minutes. But if we are billing a client for an hour, they are going to get an hour unless they decide they need less. And if their are administrative items that need to be addressed, or paperwork that needs to be filled out, we won't charge you for that time. It only seems fair that you get a full hour of counseling time when you pay for a full hour.

4. We will offer the latest in technology for our clients convenience and efficacy - Just like every other segment of business in society, technological advancements have been made in the mental health industry. We are committed to investigating new technological tools as presented and implementing them when it offers a benefit to our clients and is a fiscally sound decision on our part. Currently we offer online counseling to all of our clients at no up-charge. So if you are out of town or need to be at home for whatever reason when you have a scheduled appointment, we conduct that session right over the computer. The transmission are secured and meet HIPAA requirements. Secondly, the battery of tests that we utilize to help in our practice are all administered online. So whether you choose to take the assessments or screening applications in our office on a computer we have set up for you, or you want to take it in the convenience of your home, we can make that happen. Thirdly, there is material that is part of our clients treatment that can be conveyed via video or other multi-media medium. Why sit and talk with a counselor about something that can be conveyed via video you can watch from your home? we utilize thumb drives to send information home with you so you can get as much out the sessions as possible, by utilizing supplemental information at home.

SCOPE

LifeSwitch focuses on treatment for substance and alcohol addiction and the coexisting disorders that frequently accompany them: e.g., anxiety, depression, trauma-related disorders, etc. If substance or alcohol abuse is the primary issue, then we can generally help you with most (but not all) related issues.

However, if the primary concern is something other than substance or alcohol abuse, we recommend you find find a counselor that specializes in that primary area first. As example, if you are having trouble in your marriage, and alcohol is only part of the problem, we suggest you find a marriage counselor first. We could still help with the alcohol issue down the road if need be, and your marriage counselor may want to split that up, but it will be more productive and less expensive if you are able to find solutions through one counselor. Feel free to call us if we can help guide you.

Currently we are not seeing clients with the behavioral addictions of gambling and pornography. That is in the works but will be several months before we can implement that offering into our services.

Treatment Approaches

There are multiple treatment methodologies that are used for addiction - from acupuncture and hypnosis to medicine and meditation and on down the line. LifeSwitch utilizes several approaches to treatment, including Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT), Client-centered therapy (CCT), Motivational Interviewing (MI), along with Twelve-step facilitation. For any given client a combination of these treatment options will be implemented and the style is such that that there is no definitive break between them. It just flows. Christian counseling is available for those who request it, but we won't attempt to convert anyone to any religious doctrine, including Christianity. God is a resource of unlimited proportions and for clients that are comfortable in that discussion realm, it will be an important part of the treatment. There will be some discussion and materials designed to illicit contemplation of the subject of God, but only with the hope that clients will consider possibilities and challenge their own way of thinking. Still there is no requirement for clients to believe in anything and we have had success with both agnostics and atheists who were steadfast in their beliefs. It has not been a point of contention.

Appointment Times Available

(The last hour listed represents the last appointment time. So Monday's 10 to 5 pm means we take the last appt. at 5 pm.)
Monday - 10 AM - 5 pm
Tuesday- 10 AM - 9 pm
Wednesday 10 AM - 5 pm
Thursday 10 AM - 5 pm
Friday 10 AM to 9 pm
Saturday 10 am - 5 pm
Sunday - Open for urgent appts only when all Sat slots are full


About the Owner – Mike LaTella

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Owner/Counselor

Mike LaTella is a Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor – Level II (CADC-II) in Georgia and is internationally certified as an I-CADC by the International Certification & Reciprocity Consortium (IC & RC). Mike has also been trained as an E-CADC which allows him to offer addiction counseling online. Mike earned his Bachelor’s degree at Georgia State University and his Master’s of Arts in Addiction Counseling at Liberty University. Perhaps as important, Mike has been there. As a recovering alcoholic with nearly nine years sobriety, he brings to each client meeting his experience, strength and hope.

TESTAMENTS

"We have worked with many counselors, psychologists & psychiatrists in the past, with no success. Mike is different. As a result of his own personal experiences, he has the unique ability to connect with others in a credible and compassionate way, meeting them right where they are. Through God’s divine intervention, Mike has been able to reach our loved one and put her on a road to recovery, which is even sweeter and more beautiful than I could have ever imagined!"
Concerned Parents, Sharpsburg

“Mike LaTella is not only a good friend but I have seen him firsthand be used by God to help many individuals in our community who are in need of assistance with recovery from addiction. He genuinely loves people and wants nothing more than to see others experience a rich, fulfilling life of freedom. He mentors others from a perspective that we are all, by God’s grace, a work in progress spiritually, emotionally, mentally and physically.”
Chris Patton, Senior Pastor, Southside Ministries, Peachtree City

"Mike is a compassionate professional who lives by example. Recently, my son was struggling with emotional issues. He started counseling sessions with Mike at LifeSwitch and within weeks he had renewed purpose and focus! The light is now back in his eyes. I am personally grateful for Mike’s expertise and professional guidance through this difficult time with my son. I would highly recommend him to anyone looking to improve their quality of life. ""
Melissa C., Tyrone

"THANK YOU Mike not only for what you’ve done for my son at LifeSwitch, but for all you do for others in our community. You have made such an impact on "Jeremy" in such a short time and you are always going the extra mile to accommodate his needs and our schedule. For the first time in a decade we see a brighter future just ahead. You are a wonderful, loving, giving person and you are saving lives."
Mary C., Fayetteville

"Three months ago my husband and I were extremely frustrated and discouraged by our 17 year old sons choices and behaviors. We were feeling such overwhelming despair as our third counselor told us it was time for us to look in a different direction. We were both at such a paralyzing loss. My brother did some research and urged me to give Mike LaTella with Life Switch counseling a call. After a few days I finally called Mike and left a message. In no time at all Mike called me back and really listened to what I was saying. Mike was eager to meet our son and they immediately clicked. Our son was finally able to be truthful, open and honest with a counselor. Mike is so approachable and knowledgeable. Day or night, week or weekend, he is there for his clients. He has lived it and knows first hand how to help. Mike has been the answer to our prayers. I know our journey is far from over, but I know Mike will be beside us every step of the way."
Megan, Peachtree City

"I started going to LifeSwitch for help with an alcohol problem and things were going well for me but my wife was still having issues from my past drinking. So I started bringing her to some of the sessions and things got better quickly. We still have a long road to go but we are on the right path now and the future looks bright, thanks to Mike and LifeSwitch."
Mark A., Peachtree City

"We can not say enough good things about LifeSwitch. We are grateful to have found Mike LaTella to help with our sons drug addiction. Mike is one of those rare people one treasures. He is an amazing person who truly understands sensitive and painful family issues. He works hard to help our family and its been a wonderful experience so far! Thanks Mike!"
Hopeful Parents A & D, Atlanta

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