The Meadows Blog

Claudia Black, Ph.D., recognized internationally for her pioneering and cutting-edge work with family systems and addictive disorders, recently launched The Claudia Black Young Adult Center for young adults ages 18 - 26 who are struggling with unresolved emotional trauma, addictions, or who have a dual diagnosis.

“Our mission at the Claudia Black Young Adult Center,” said Dr. Black, whose work fueled the development of the codependency and developmental trauma fields, “is to help young adults and their families forge recovery paths, so they can heal, blossom, and thrive. As the clinical architect for this groundbreaking treatment program, I am honored to be a conduit for the journey of recovery for young adults. There’s nothing more rewarding than witnessing the many miracles realized as a result of these transformations for such individuals who are bright, passionate, and full of hope.” In the late 1970s, Dr. Black’s work with children impacted by drug and alcohol addiction created the framework for the adult children of alcoholics’ movement. She has also authored over fifteen books, including 'Intimate Treason'; 'It Will Never Happen To Me!'; and 'Changing Course: Healing from Loss, Abandonment and Fear'.

The innovative Center, one of three treatment programs run by The Meadows, is an intensive, experientially-based, 45-day inpatient treatment program focusing on a nurturing community, family systems, proven testing and assessments, life skills, experiential therapies, and 12-step work.

Although trauma comes in many forms, young adults may be victims of circumstances, such as bullying, sexual assault, abandonment, and may have faced absent, controlling, or addicted parents. Young adults, said Dr. Black, look to their peers for acceptance, guidance, and support, so creating an empowering recovery community for this population is instrumental to the healing process.

The Claudia Black Young Adult Center utilizes an array of experiential healing modalities – along with other therapies - including neurofeedback, mindfulness practices, equine-assisted psychotherapy, challenge courses, and trauma-informed psychodrama, along with EMDR and Somatic Experiencing.

About The Meadows

The Meadows is an industry leader and the most trusted name in treating trauma and addiction through its inpatient and workshop programs. The Meadows helps change lives through the Meadows Model, 12-step practices, and the holistic healing of mind, body, and spirit.

To learn more about The Meadows, Contact Us or call (800) 244-4949.

Published in Treatment & Recovery
Friday, 26 September 2014 00:00

Spotlight on Dawn at The Meadows

Submitted by Nancy Bailey, Ph.D.
Clinical Director, The Meadows

It has been just about a year since The Meadows officially opened its treatment program specifically for young adults. We continue to enhance our services and build upon the work we do with young adults. There are many exciting things happening at Dawn at The Meadows I want to share, including:

Leanne Lemire has been promoted to Program Director and has jumped right in and embraced her new role. Leanne and I are working closely together along with the Dawn program staff to prepare for the Fall/Winter schedule. Leanne is also busy training new staff. As an original team member of Dawn, Leanne has an understanding of the foundational theories surrounding the Dawn program development.

Sherry Gilman, former Primary Counselor for The Meadows, has joined the Dawn team as a Primary Counselor. Sherry brings her experience in eating disorders, DBT, psychodrama, and experiential therapies to the team. Sherry is a great addition to the Dawn family!

We welcome Ria Gardner as the new Evening/Weekend Primary Counselor at Dawn. Ria brings experience working with young adults in a community-based mental health environment and brings an abundance of enthusiastic energy to the team.

Our Primary Counselors contribute to the Dawn program in so many ways. Mary Basile has begun a specialized study program in MBSR (Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction) in Scottsdale. She will integrate these skills into Dawn’s already self-regulation based program design in addition to assessing how to integrate Reiki into the program. Mary is an original Dawn clinical team member and has been a significant grounding resource for the program shifts. Dawn Bellingham continues to integrate her passion for The Meadows Model as she educates and works with her patients and families.

Dr. James Cahill continues to provide excellent, specialized psychiatric care to the Dawn patients. Dr. Cahill states, "Over the last year and looking forward, I have been struck by my recognition of just how fortunate I am to have the privilege to be of help to this inspired team seeking to deliver the very best of care to these young adults and their families. Dawn’s team-based approach to treatment offers a truly unique treatment setting for our patients. I appreciate the opportunity that I have had in being a witness to transformative change as they regain a sense of balance and purpose in their lives."

As we continue to assess and monitor the program successes of Dawn, we can’t forget the multi-faceted talents of the Case Manager, Scott Williams. Scott has been highly successful in helping the Dawn patients recognize the importance of continuing their recovery journey. Scott utilizes his relational skills and recovery knowledge with patients, families, and referents. He helps keep the team on track and is very essential in organizing the therapeutic activities, service work, family meetings, and campus tours.

We will be increasing our neurofeedback (NFB) services to Dawn at The Meadows patients, with the help of Deirdre Stewart, Director, Trauma Resolution Department. Deirdre is teaming with Leanne Lemire to enhance the Dawn schedule and train some key Dawn Behavioral Health Technicians. These specially trained technicians will assist in the technical application of the NFB training services. Increased services are expected to get into full swing by October 1, 2014.

The Dawn Family Program continues to be ground breaking and exceptional! Our newest Family Counselor, Trish Plum, is joining Ashley Chesky to provide enhanced “family class” services to our Dawn families. With the addition of Trish to the team, we will be able to provide four weekly webinar classes to the participating families on a consistent basis. A special “thank you” goes out to Rochel Murnighan for her ongoing support and assistance throughout the growth and development of Dawn’s Family Program. Rochel has been a wealth of experience and an integral part of the family program success.

It takes a team. Even though, the above-mentioned individuals are currently in the spotlight, we cannot discount the contributions of the extended team as a whole! The psychologist, doctors, nurses, techs, trauma therapists, workshop facilitators, housekeeping, maintenance, grounds, transportation, dietary, recreation, specialty services (Tai Chi, Yoga, Acupuncture, Equine, Ropes) are ALL part of this specialized team treating our young adult patients. I want to thank the whole Dawn team for their incredibly hard work!

Keep your eyes open to more exciting Dawn happenings! -Dr. Bailey

To learn more about Dawn at The Meadows, our exclusive program for Young Adults, please click here.

Published in Treatment & Recovery

While you may not have heard about synthetic cathinones or synthetic cannaboids, many teenagers and young adults have, and it's become a growing issue for their health and well-being. In fact, nearly one in nine high school seniors have gotten high on synthetic drugs, such as “K2” or “Spice,” second only to the number of teens who have used marijuana.

“Monitoring the Future,” the nation’s most comprehensive survey of teenage drug use, found 11.4% of the high school seniors questioned had used the synthetic substances, often packed as potpourri or herbal incense and sold in convenience stores, which mimic the effects of marijuana.

At convenience stores, smoke shops, and similar type establishments, synthetic cathinones are often sold as “bath salts” or “jewelry cleaner.” On the packages, these substances are labeled “not for human consumption” to hide their intended purpose and avoid Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulatory oversight. However, these dangerous substances are steadily growing in abuse by teens and young adults.

What They Are

Synthetic marijuana is a designer drug whose purpose is to imitate cannabis. The cannabinoid compounds present in synthetic marijuana act on the same cell receptors as those affected by THC in natural marijuana, however the similarities often end there. Manufacturers take herbs, incense, or other materials that mimic leaves and spray them with lab-synthesized liquid chemicals.

The U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services administration indicates that the chemicals used in synthetic pot offer no medical benefit to users and these substances actually have a higher potential for abuse among users.

Bath salts are crystalline powders, typically taking the form of a white or brown powder, similar in appearance to Epsom salts, thus the name. These powders, which are sold in small plastic or foil packages, have similar effects to stimulants like cocaine, meth, or MDMA.

Research has shown that synthetic cathinones, such as bath salts, have an extremely high abuse and addiction potential. Compounding the situation even further, bath salts contain chemical compounds that were never developed for human consumption that can create their own dangerous effects as well. Very little is known how the body processes these chemicals and what the long term effects will be.

Rapidly Emerging Threat

According to the Office of National Drug Control Policy, the contents and effects of synthetic cannabinoids and cathinones are unpredictable due to a constantly changing variety of chemicals used in manufacturing processes devoid of quality controls and government regulatory oversight.

Health warnings have been issued by numerous public health authorities and poison control centers describing the adverse health effects associated with the use of synthetic drugs.

Similar to the adverse effects of cocaine, LSD, and methamphetamine, synthetic cathinone use is associated with a variety of health issues such as:Synthetic Drugs

  • Increase heart rate and blood pressure
  • Chest Pain
  • Extreme paranoia
  • Hallucinations
  • Delusions
  • Violent Behavior, which causes users to harm themselves or others

Synthetic cannabinoid side effects meanwhile can include:

  • Severe agitation
  • Anxiety
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Tachycardia (fast, racing heartbeat)
  • Elevated blood pressure
  • Tremors and Seizures
  • Hallucinations
  • Dilated Pupils
  • Suicidal and other harmful thoughts and/or actions

Reports of severe intoxication and the dangerous health effects associated with synthetic drugs make this a growing public safety and health issue. How these substances react with other drugs, whether prescribed or illegal, make the side effects even more serious and difficult to treat.

Why Young Adults?

Alarmingly, these drugs are shown to be popular with young people. Research from the National Institute on Drug Abuse indicated that, of the 11,406 ER visits associated with synthetic pot, 75% were between the age of 12 and 29.

These substances appear to be popular with teens and young adults due to their accessibility. Synthetic substances do not require stealing prescriptions, or the risks associated with purchasing illegal substances from a drug dealer.

Also readily available for Internet purchase, synthetic drugs represent a dangerous trend in substance abuse. Despite recent temporary bans of selected ingredients by the U.S. Drug Enforcement administration (DEA), many synthetic drugs remain legal due to the hundreds of formulas in existence. And because they are often legal, many young adults may not perceive these substances as dangerous.

We Can Help

Synthetic drugs are especially problematic for those who already have addiction issues and/or other mental health conditions. These substances are extremely addictive, and the effect of the comedown and/or withdraw, especially in the case of bath salts; can be dangerous for the user as well.

If you or someone you know needs help with addiction, please contact The Meadows at 800-244-4949. If you are a young adult struggling with these substance abuse problems, please visit Dawn at The Meadows or call 855-333-6075 to learn more.

Drug Enforcement Administration
National Institute on Drug Abuse
Published in Addiction

When Adolescence Doesn't End at the Same Time Adulthood Arrives: REHAB Treatment for Young Adults


Bonnie A. DenDooven, MC, LAC

Ad·o·les·cence is defined as a period or stage of development, preceding maturity. But what happens when chronologically your son or daughter becomes an adult and emotionally they are still locked in immature, self-destructive patterns that you thought they would out grow?

For a therapist working with young adults and their families, REHAB is a process of untangling the mystery of maturation gone wrong. Getting young adults sober from drugs and alcohol is just the tip of the iceberg. Unless the underlying issues are addressed, the young adults are precariously at risk to return to the immature habits that put them at risk to start with.

Karen Horney, pioneer psychotherapist who focused on the struggle toward self-realization, held that basic anxiety brought about by insecurities in childhood was fundamental to later "character development". (Footnote 1) In other words, some anxiety and some insecurity are needed to produce maturity, much like the baby chick in an egg needs to press against the adversity of the hard egg shell in order to emerge strong and capable from the hatching process.

In 1969, a publication changed how we treated children. The "Self-Esteem Movement" was birthed when psychologist Nathaniel Brandon published a widely received and highly acclaimed paper called "The Psychology of Self-Esteem" and argued that "feelings of self-esteem were the key to success in life". (footnote 2) A 40-year craze of self-esteem building began then. This craze changed how parents and teachers treated anxiety and insecurity in children. The "Self-Esteem Movement" encouraged parents and teachers to remove as much anxiety as possible from the lives of children. Suddenly it was NOT okay to give 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place trophies for fear that some child would feel less than others. Teachers put away red markers previously used to grade papers because it might make students "feel bad". Parents began a chorus of constant praise and admiration such as "You're so smart!", and "You're so pretty!";, and the killer, You've got so much potential". Research now shows that by age 12, children no longer believe these overworked compliments and see these compliments as an attempt by adults to manipulate them. (Footnote 3) Worse, the self-esteem movement created children who may have high self-esteem but who cannot tolerate any form of anxiety or insecurity. Without tolerating basic anxiety and insecurity they cannot produce character in themselves. Teenage use of drugs and alcohol to medicate the anxiety and insecurity is leaving us with a generation of addicts who live by the cognitive distortion, "I should never feel bad."

In the therapy room, when working with immature young adults (ages 18-29), it is easy to detect patterns. The newest research on addiction indicates that attachment disorders underscore addiction, but what does that mean? Karen Horney wrote about how the authentic self emerges. She described three classifications of how we relate to others. It is in our relationships with others where authenticity or the lack thereof shows up. To see attachment disorders in action, therapists watch how young adults: (1) Move toward people, (2) Move against people, or (3) Move away from people.

In essence, it is a simple and brilliant way to look at this thing called attachment disorder and to prepare therapeutic interventions that are effective. In the close conformity of the REHAB environment, these reactive positions of relating to others become visible, and set patterns readily emerge in the day-to-day required activities. Following are the three categories and ten patterns

Attachment style of Moving toward People:

Pattern 1: The need for affection and approval; pleasing others and being liked by them. The feelings of peer pressure are too powerful to resist and results in CODEPENDENCY and trauma bonding to unhealthy "friends" Young people can become just as addicted to "the lifestyle" of the drug world as they are to the chemicals.

Pattern 2: The need for a partner; one to love and who will solve all problems - the emphasis is that "love will solve all problems". This results in love addiction and sexual promiscuity with either an inability to disengage from abusive relationships or the inability to be without a relationship. These are the REHAB residents who strike up romantic or sexual liaisons in treatment.

Attachment style of Moving against People:

Pattern 3: The need for power; the irresistible urge to bend the rules and achieve control over others. While most people seek strength, an immature young adult may be desperate for it.

Pattern 4: The need to exploit others; to get the better of them. To manipulate, operating from the underlying belief that people are there simply to be used staff splitting and using humor to control a room (they are just an audience). People become objects and the immature adult operates without empathy.

Pattern 5: The need for social recognition; and limelight. The immature young adult manifests as desperate for recognition; they posture before staff, lie, cheat, and steal in order to be the center of attention, or become the clown and the butt of their own joking, never taken seriously. This need is an act of moving against people because it connotes beating others out for attention.

Pattern 6: The need for self respect; an exaggerated need to be valued can result in an overly inflated ego and a young person who is not in touch with their own limitations and unable to see their own character defects. This pattern forms Narcissism and self-blindness.

Pattern 7: The need for achievement; though virtually all persons wish to make achievements, some are desperate for it. Some are so driven for success, that they sacrifice relationships, health, and sometimes integrity for it. The paradox is that achievement is an elusive line that seems to move just as soon as a goal is met. The success never satisfies.
Attachment styles of Moving away from People:

Pattern 8: The need for self-sufficiency; taken to the extreme, some are independent to the point of becoming "needless and want-less". ISOLATION and LONELINESS ensue, along with an inability to live among others interdependently.

Pattern 9: The need for perfection; while many are driven to do things well, some young adults display an overriding fear of being even slightly flawed. This perfectionism causes "Fear of Shame" to become a driving force in their life, causing them to quit tasks they enjoy if they can't be the BEST.

Pattern 10: The need to contain; some find a need to restrict life to within narrow borders - to live as inconspicuous as possible. The ultimate result of an extreme of this pattern are ANOREXIA and DEPRIVATION. We find young people who have gravitated toward living alone and homeless. They find it difficult to rejoin others in the REHAB community.

In a REHAB environment, a young adult is forced to display every coping skill they have ever engineered. For many, it is the first time they are in close quarters with so many people 24-hours a day. If their tendency is to move toward and enmesh and give away their soul in order to deal with the anxiety, we see it in the friendships they form and as a failure to confront others out of fear of rejection. If the tendency is to move against others to cope, peers will react to them- against postures are offensive and conflicts with ensue.A tendency to move away from others manifests as depression, rage and laziness.

The best REHAB treatment centers are those that know how to manage, not eliminate, the anxiety and insecurity, in fact many activities are designed to increase the anxiety. Activities are planned to strategically intervene on the coping defenses above. As the defenses are exposed and the resident is taught to tolerate anxiety and feelings of inferiority, gradually the immature self begins to grow more confident and merges into a whole and complete self. This new self has character and is capable of navigating the adult world. The alternative is to stay immature, without a confident self, and to medicate with drugs and alcohol or other self-defeating behaviors.

Bonnie A. DenDooven


Bonnie A. DenDooven, MC, LAC is a former business owner-turned-therapist. The author of the MAWASI© for therapy and healing of financial disorders and work disorders. She is a former primary and family counselor and assistant clinical director for Dr. Patrick Carnes at The Meadows. Bonnie was schooled in Gestalt therapy and is a member of Silvan Tomkins Institute of Affect Script Psychology, an advocate of Martin Seligman Positive Psychology, and a champion for the initiative for VIA Classification of Strengths and Virtues (jokingly referred to as the "un-DSM").

Footnote 1: Neurosis and Human Growth: The struggle toward self-realization, 1950

Footnote 2:

Published in Blog

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