Saturday, June 19, 2010

Stages Of Change-A Group Therapy Manual

This is an excellent resource for anyone working in the addictions field to have at their disposal. It utilizes the effective techniques in Motivational Interviewing to move people through the stages of change with group exercises that the creative therapist can adapt to individual counseling as well. It contains consciousness-raising exercises (such as the Audit), Decisional Balance (Pros and Cons) that move people from precontemplation to contemplation into preparation. It utilizes cognitive therapy techniques that can be used to motivate substance users by eliciting and providing specific information to raise consciousness and allow for self-reevaluation. It also utilizes behavioral techniques, such as relaxation and mindfulness exercises that help substance users become aware of and develop coping strategies for lasting change. The exercises are arranged so that the client's seem to be able to grow into the change process from one session to the next. Reproducible worksheets are provided with every session with very clear step by step instructions to assist the counselor through the session from beginning to end. This manual is an excellent way for level I through level III counselors to understand the stages of change model that is really the foundation that produces the outcomes that best benefit substance abusing clients.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Pleasure Unwoven DVD

As a helping professional who's been in the addictions field for 23 years, this DVD is the most comprehensive entertaining psychoeducational video I have ever seen about the disease of addiction. With the use of visual metaphor using the spectacular landscape of the state of Utah to represent the anatomy of the brain Dr. McCauley takes the complicated topic of the neurophysiology of addiction and converts it into a beautiful journey that helps the addict and family member alike understand what has happened to them and at the same time conveys the promise that recovery can bring. I recommend that any institution who treats the addict/alcoholic purchase this acoustically and visually beautiful DVD to use with the addicted population they treat.It can be purchased at the website below.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Psychospiritual Integration

More and more in today's psychotherapy field we see incorporated into psychotherapeutic schools of thought the concept of spirituality and the important role it plays in mental and emotional well-being. I highly recommend a book entitled The Seekers Guide written by Elizabeth Lesser. Elizabeth Lesser is the cofounder and Senior advisor of the Omega Institute in Rhinebeck, New York. The Omega Institute is now America's largest adult education center focusing on wellness and spirituality. She has worked with many of the eminent thinkers of our times, including the Zen masters, rabbis, Christian monks, psychologists, scientists, and an array of noted American figures-from LA Lakers coach Phil Jackson to author Maya Angelou. Lesser found that by combining a variety of religions, psychological, and healing traditions, each of us has the unique ability to satisfy our spiritual hunger. From her own auto biographical search for spiritual meaning while growing up in the 60s, to the way she has organized her book into the Landscape of the Mind, Landscape of the Heart, Landscape of the Body and the Landscape of the Soul she provides counselors and therapists with excellent resources to satisfy their own spiritual search as well as helping their clients do the same. In addition her appendix in the back of the book provides suggested readings, audio tapes and music to accompany each segment that the book is divided into. I highly recommend this is a great resource for anyone who is trying to satisfy their search for meaning or their clients search for meaning in today's culture.

Thursday, July 16, 2009


Bill O' Hanlon in his most recent book A Guide to Tranceland describes hypnosis this way: There are two major types of hypnosis: authoritarian and permissive. The tradition I practice within, which I have come to call solution-oriented hypnosis is permissive. I studied with the late psychiatrist Milton H. Erickson a few years before his death in 1980. There are both philosophical and technical differences between authoritarian hypnosis and the permissive approach... traditional hypnotherapy relies on the authority and power of the hypnotist to "get" the person into trance. It also taps into suggestibility, which is required for success in this more authoritarian approach. Once the client is in trance that hypnotherapist has a clear direction for trance (uncovering repressed or forgotten trauma, that may be creating present problems; im- planting new, more positive beliefs; and so on). I see this as an outside in approach. The hypnotist is trying to get new stuff to happen from the outside and is the expert on what is going on with the person he or she is treating and what that person needs to do to get better.
The solution oriented approach, in contrast is based more on e a a a vocation than a suggestion. Echoing the title of a book on Erickson's work (The Answer Within by Stephen Carol Lankton), solution oriented hypnotherapist told that people have answers and knowledge within themselves that can be tapped and released with the right invitations. The right invitations are the one that really resonate with a particular person. That's why this approach, while it has a set of generalized guidelines, does not have any formulas. Every trance induction is different. Every treatment is different. Some people will discover some repressed memories. Others will merely shift their thinking. Still others will perceive strange sensations or colors that will become meaningful and lead them to change. The person is the expert; the hypnotherapist is merely the facilitator of the evoked answers or responses. I recommend this book as well as his previous book Solution-Oriented Hypnosis An Ericksonian Approach, to get an understanding of how to work with people this way.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Psychotherapist's Resources

E. Michael Dugan, Social Worker/Psychotherapist for Mental Health Associates in Towanda Pennsylvania has been recognized by Cambridge Who's Who for demonstrating dedication, leadership and excellence in social work.

E. Michael Dugan has 23 years of professional experience in the social work field. At his current post, he performs psychotherapy assessments for drug and alcohol and mental health clients and conducts individual and group therapy, hypnotherapy and stress management procedures. He also performs marriage counseling and treats individuals with anxiety and autism. He attributes his success to his internal motivation. He was twice nominated for the Palmer Award for Excellence in Addiction Therapy.

In 2000, Mr. Dugan received his Masters Degree in Social Work from Marywood University in Scranton, Pennsylvania. He is a Board Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist and a Certified Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Counselor in the state of New York as well as a Certified Addiction Counselor in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. He holds certifications in Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing Therapy (EMDR), which is used in the treatment of posttraumatic stress disorder as well as having a number of other applications. He is also certified in Brief Solution Focused Psychotherapy. Mr. Dugan is a member of the National Board for Certified Clinical Hypnotherapists and is a member of Alpha Epsilon Lambda, an Honor Society for graduate students that demonstrate outstanding scholarship, character and leadership.

Mental Health Associates is a mental health center that provides confidential, skilled and compassionate counseling and psychotherapy for those concerned about ACOA issues, anxiety and panic attacks, gay/lesbian issues, grief and loss, life transitions, managing stress, marital/couples issues, parenting skills, parent-child communication, personal growth and development, psychospiritual integration, trauma survival, self-esteem, separation and divorce, sexual abuse/incest issues, single parenting, stepfamilies, and eating disorders. In addition, highly qualified professionals provide psychological evaluations, court ordered custody evaluations, mental health assessment/services, anger management, play therapy, sexual offenders therapy and education and training.