The Meadows Blog

John Bradshaw, one of the most influential writers on emotional healing in the twentieth century and a Senior Fellow at The Meadows Wickenburg, will give an intensive workshop titled "Homecoming: Reclaiming Your Inner Child" in Mansfield, MA on Saturday May 19 from 8:30am-5:00pm and Sunday May 20 from 8:30am-4:00pm at The Holiday Inn Hampshire Street. The workshop is open to the general public.

Bradshaw is a world-famous educator, counselor, motivational speaker, television personality, author and one of the leading figures in the fields of addiction, recovery, family systems and the concept of toxic shame. Bradshaw has had a long and productive association with The Meadows- giving insights to staff, patients, speaking at alumni retreats and lecturing to mental health professionals at our workshops and seminars. Mr. Bradshaw's work has influenced the treatment programs at The Meadows and Mellody House.

Selected by his peers as one of the 100 most influential writers on emotional health in the 20th Century, Bradshaw has literally changed the lives of millions of people around the globe through his best-selling books and sold-out workshops and seminars. Over the years, Bradshaw has written several New York Times bestselling books, including, Homecoming: Reclaiming and Championing Your Inner Child, Creating Love and Healing the Shame That Binds You. In 2009 Bradshaw was nominated for The Pulitzer Prize for

"Three things are striking about inner child work," said John Bradshaw. "The speed with which people change when they do this work; the depth of the power and creativity that result when the wounds from the past are healed."

Event Information:

  • Saturday May 19, 8:30am-5:00pm and Sunday May 20, 8:30am-4:00pm
  • Cost: $175 before April 30 (group and student discounts available)
  • Holiday Inn, 31 Hampshire Street, Mansfield, MA
  • 12 CEU's approved
  • Register online

The Meadows is an industry leader in treating trauma and addiction through its inpatient and workshop programs. To learn more about The Meadows' work with trauma and addiction contact an intake coordinator at (866) 856-1279 or visit

For over 35 years, The Meadows has been a leading trauma and addiction treatment center. In that time, they have helped more than 20,000 patients in one of their three inpatient centers or in national workshops.The Meadows world-class team of Senior Fellows, Psychiatrists, Therapists and Counselors treat the symptoms of addiction and the underlying issues that cause lifelong patterns of self-destructive behavior. The Meadows is a Level 1 psychiatric hospital that is accredited by the Joint Commission.

The Meadows is pleased to announce that Sean Walsh has joined The Meadows as Executive Director. An extensive search was conducted to find a leader that would honor the trauma and addiction treatment work that is done at The Meadows.

For the last 16 years Walsh has committed his work towards giving back and helping people heal, including positions as CEO and COO for two treatment programs. Prior to his executive leadership roles, Sean has worked in several clinical service and leadership positions, including launching two successful programs specifically designed to meet the unique needs of young adults. Walsh retains a post as an adjunct faculty member at Rio Salado College in Tempe, Arizona, teaching two different chemical dependency seminars on street drugs and adolescent substance abuse. His industry experience and passion for the field make him uniquely qualified to assume day-to-day leadership of The Meadows Wickenburg campus and improve The Meadows services to meet the growing demand from the young adult patient population.

"Sean is the right person for this position because of his experience, clinical expertise and personal passion to lead a quality organization that is committed to changing lives," said Jim Dredge, The Meadows CEO.

Dredge created the Executive Director position to allow him to focus time and attention to the growth plans for The Meadows organization. Dredge is excited to expand the continuum of services offered from The Meadows so that they can reach more people in need of the healing solutions offered from The Meadows Model. Dredge will continue to have an office on the Wickenburg campus and at the Phoenix business office. He and Walsh will work closely together during the transition period.

Walsh has long admired the reputation of excellence enjoyed by The Meadows and actively sought training at the workshops and events hosted by The Meadows in the Phoenix area. "I came to The Meadows because the reputation and work at The Meadows is world class and it is an honor to join this team of skilled practitioners," Walsh said.

The Meadows is an industry leader in treating trauma and addiction through its inpatient and workshop programs. To learn more about The Meadows' work with trauma and addiction contact an intake coordinator at (866) 856-1279 or visit

For over 35 years, The Meadows has been a leading trauma and addiction treatment center. In that time, they have helped more than 20,000 patients in one of their three centers or in national workshops.The Meadows world-class team of Senior Fellows, Psychiatrists, Therapists and Counselors treat the symptoms of addiction and the underlying issues that cause lifelong patterns of self-destructive behavior.The Meadows is a Level 1 psychiatric hospital that is accredited by the Joint Commission.

Recovery programs are replete with catchy little quotes and sage-like sayings, but perhaps none of them are used more often than the time-honored phrase: "One day at a time." Have you ever wondered why people struggling with addictive behaviors find it necessary to remind each other to take recovery one day at a time? (Some go as far as saying: "One moment at time." Wouldn't it make more sense to actually use our highly evolved neocortex to construct a comprehensive, future-oriented plan for recovery and healing? After all, how can a person reach a desired destination or accomplish a goal without considering several days, weeks, or even years at a time?

As it turns out, people recovering from addiction aren't the only ones who need to be reminded to take life one moment at a time. By in large, modern humans are addicted to "future-tripping" (one of those catchy little terms used in our recovery program). Most of us spend large swaths of our days, stuck in our thoughts, trying to plan, control, and manage our lives. The human brain naturally fixates on what is wrong, both in ourselves and others, and then ruminates and perseverates on how to avoid the unpleasant what-ifs that haven't yet materialized. This unrelenting mental chatter is often coupled with a pervasive sense of discontent, as if we are waiting for something else to happen so that we can finally be fulfilled. We habitually lean into the future, hoping that the next moment will contain what this moment does not.

This is not to say that we should all get lobotomies and retreat to the nearest cave to live in solitary present-momentness. After all, critical thinking and future planning are important survival skills in this complex, fast-paced world. Our rational, thinking mind is not the enemy, but if left untrained, it can be a demanding taskmaster instead of a loyal servant. Through various contemplative practices, we discover that the brain is also capable of deep, non-conceptual awareness of the mind and body, other living creatures (including people), and the natural world around us. Many have found that this present-moment awareness can bring a profound sense of contentment and joy.

Here are 3 suggestions for living in the present moment:

1. Intention Cultivate a sincere intention to wake-up from the hypnotic hum of our racing minds and to rest in the natural reality of the present moment. Consider making this intention part of a daily meditation, prayer, mantra, affirmation, shower routine, morning commute, etc. The strong conditioning to mentally trip into the future requires that we bring a sincere intention to live one moment at a time.

2. Pause: Like a wheel in the wind, the mind will spin and spin if we don't help it to pause. Take a deep breath... pause... and drop into the present moment. At times, our lives can seem like an unpunctuated page of words, all jumbled together in a meaningless run-on sentence. Pausing allows us to punctuate our experience, put some clear space around our thoughts and emotions, and make sense of the life that is right here.

3. Stay: Like a good retriever, the mind can be trained to stay. There is a habitual tendency to move away from the here-and-now, often because we are uneasy with what we find in the now and/or we desire something different than what is right here. However, if we can learn to stay with the raw reality of the present moment, we tap into an ocean of awareness that can allow for the various waves of our moment-to-moment experience.

Living one day or one moment at a time is an important part of recovery, and life more generally, because the fullness of this impermanent life unfolds dynamically in the present moment. Tripping into a future that we can't control means that we miss out on the authentic, singular experience of our own life. Fostering awareness of our moment-to-moment experience enriches our emotional understanding, deepens intimacy with others, and connects us to something bigger than our best thought-out plans for the future. Whenever we can free ourselves of the incessant urge to plan and manage our lives, we open to the mystery and wonder of living in the present moment.

Already Here

All that we yearn for is already here.

Right now, right here.

In the unconditional awareness of what is,

we find a deep blue ocean

into which all rivers flow.

Endlessly reaching downstream,

eyes fixed to the hazy horizon,

we miss the wonder and mystery

of life's currents all around us.

Insatiable desire for something more,

grasping at fading twilight,

our hands remain empty,

our hearts closed.

Look inside, we are already here.

-poem by Jon G. Caldwell

The Meadows hosted a Free Recovery Lecture Series on April 17th in London at the Radisson Edwardian Vanderbilt Hotel. Presenters Barbara Pawson and Chris John gave a brilliant presentation on Healthy(re)parenting: It all starts with me! The lecture defined how through adverse childhood events and hidden trauma we have learned debilitating ways to parent ourselves and how damaging it can be on our adult relationships. Using The Meadows Model, Barbara and Chris provided insight on how to "Re parent" ourselves in Healthy ways.

Barbara Pawson is an accredited addiction counselor and highly regarded clinical supervisor. Barbara is also a lecturer at the London South Bank University and has been a consultant for the implementation of programs in Britain, Belgium and Holland.

Chris John is a qualified integrative therapeutic counselor who works with individuals, couples and groups. Chris runs a successful private practice helping his clients deal with a range of issues including, anxiety, somatization, trauma and addictive disorders as well as co-dependency.

John Graham, an attendee at the lecture, shared the following:

"I am a therapeutic counselor working with traumatized individuals who use substance abuse and behavioral process as a compensatory coping mechanism resulting in active addiction and the impact the addiction has on their self-esteem causes a vicious circle which is difficult to deal with.

However, the topic that was explored at the Meadows London Free Lecture recently - Self-Parenting - was delivered by the presenters in a humane manner within the Meadows Model and Pia Mellody's work was the primary focus that allowed me to further recognize the value of the establishment within a residential structured setting of personal boundaries for individuals compromised by the trauma they struggle with, and the self-parenting focus is most meaningful, allowing individuals to give themselves permission to be kind to themselves, which starts a chain reaction that effectively replaces the vicious circle of cruel active addiction."

A special thanks to Barbara and Chris for their time in delivering an insightful presentation. Their passion, enthusiasm and dedication are very much appreciated.

In my third year of medical school, I was mentored by a brilliant surgeon who routinely pontificated about the virtues of his profession, with clear intent to dissuade me from entering psychiatry. On one such occasion, he disrupted my tense and halting approach at a long abdominal incision with the question: "Do you know what makes a surgeon great?" I looked up from the patient's pale, still body - scalpel still poised. "It's not the suturing; you can teach any monkey how to sew." (That didn't boost my fledgling surgical confidence.) He went on to say, "When you open someone up, it rarely looks like the textbook. It's messy, unpredictable. Great surgeons effectively respond to each new situation as it arises... they adapt."

Although this gifted surgeon didn't dissuade me from the practice of psychiatry, I was persuaded to believe that effective treatment of the body and the mind requires an ability to adapt to each new situation as it arises. Most people enter The Meadows with some idea of their underlying problems and what they want to accomplish in treatment. However, as people give themselves to the recovery process, often the mental and emotional landscape changes in unpredictable ways, presenting new challenges and new opportunities for healing and growth. The following case history highlights the dynamic unfolding of one patient's experience at The Meadows and some of the treatment modalities that were adaptively employed on the patient's behalf.

Susan, as I will call her, was a 32 year-old, single, female from Denver, Colorado who was referred to The Meadows by her outpatient therapist. She initially reported symptoms of anxiety and depression that had contributed to significant problems in her close relationships and work performance as a financial consultant. She identified pervasive feelings of uneasiness and tension, with debilitating spikes of episodic panic and fear. Also, she noticed that her self-confidence was very low and that she was uncharacteristically tearful, emotional, and sad. After discussing her condition at length with her psychiatrist at The Meadows, they both agreed to explore the symptoms further before deciding if a medication was necessary.

Forming relationships of trust with peers and providers allowed Susan to acknowledge that her symptoms of depression and anxiety were partially related to worsening addictive behaviors with alcohol, food, and sex. She admitted to a life-long struggle with binge eating, excessive dieting, and shame about her body. She also shared that, after ending a ten-year, co-dependent romantic relationship in the months prior to admission, she immediately turned to compulsive sexual encounters via phone, internet, and night clubs. With the help of her outpatient therapist, she was able to reduce her sexual acting-out, but she then turned to excessive and reckless use of alcohol. Her life had become unmanageable.

In response to this additional information, Susan was reevaluated by the medical doctor to monitor and treat any symptoms of alcohol withdrawal. She spoke with the dietician so that the treatment team could better understand the nature of her disordered eating patterns and could help her establish an eating and wellness plan. In collaboration with her primary therapist, Susan set clear limits on her use of communication devices and her interactions with fellow peers, so that she could effectively address her compulsive tendency to rely on unhealthy relationships. Susan was also encouraged to attend 12-step meetings and to make use of important mind-body activities, such as yoga, tai chi, and meditation.

Although Susan had acknowledged a history of sexual trauma during the intake process, she was unsure of its significance in her life. Starting in the second week of treatment, she participated in a unique five-day experiential form of therapy that specifically addresses childhood trauma and early family relations. For the first time in her life, she began to see how her mother's tragic death at six-years-old led to years of depression and social-withdrawal on the part of her father. She was able to see herself as a scared and lonely child who tried not to worry her already distraught father, even when she was molested by the babysitter at nine-years-old. She discovered that during those lonely years, food was a trusted ally, but by the time she reached her teen-age years, food had become the enemy and she was at war with her own body.

As Susan's second week of treatment came to an end, years of shame, anger, and self-hatred gave way to profound sadness and grief. Long-held defenses began to relax, and as a result, she touched into another source of pain and sorrow connected to a date-rape in her early twenties that resulted in miscarriage. With guidance from peers and providers, she realized that this additional trauma and loss had contributed to soaring alcohol use and plummeting self-worth. In response to Susan's evolving treatment needs, she was offered several visits with an individual therapist trained in Somatic Experiencing to specifically address her adult trauma-related symptoms.  Also, her focused work in 12-step recovery during the third week became more meaningful as she explored further the links between her past trauma and her addictive behaviors.

As a result of many lectures and hands-on practice regarding interpersonal communication and boundaries, Susan felt prepared to engage in family therapy with her father and two sisters during the fourth week of treatment. Relying on the inner-child work from her second week, she was able to talk openly with her family about the bewilderment and loneliness she felt after her mother's death. For the first time in her life, she shared the deep emotional pain associated with her experiences of sexual trauma, her ten-year, unhealthy relationship, and her addictive behaviors. Susan's family members responded with concern, but also with an outpouring of love and acceptance. Together, she and her family received information and practical tools to move forward in a way that could support Susan's recovery and a healthier family system.

As Susan entered her fifth week of treatment, she was invited to participate in a special grief workshop to specifically address lingering feelings of loss and pain regarding her mother's death and her miscarriage. Also, after weekly meetings with her psychiatrist about her particular condition and possible treatment options, she decided to start a medication for symptoms of depression. Several discussions with her providers, discharge coordinators, family, and outpatient therapist resulted in an aftercare plan that fit her therapeutic needs. Susan finished her treatment with a new lease on life - ready to face old challenges and embrace new opportunities.

Of course, there are additional elements of The Meadows' treatment program that are not discussed here and not everyone's experience is like Susan's... but that is the whole point; the human psyche rarely conforms to overly-simplistic, textbook universals and treatment often unfolds in unpredictable and complex ways. As my mentor suggested, this requires that treatment professionals recognize and adaptively respond to situations as they arise. This means that providers must have the appropriate training and therapeutic techniques to effectively respond to the dynamically changing landscape of each person's recovery process. The Meadows has a proven track-record of providing this kind of treatment.

The political and emotional complexities of PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) and TBI (traumatic brain injury) can lead to stigmatization and inaccurate attributions. It has long been assumed that soldiers, especially those who have served in combat, are at higher risk for violence. Following WW II several congressmen introduced proposals to send returning combat troops to islands for "retraining" before returning to civilian life. Following Vietnam we had Rambo movies and veterans "going postal". The facts are both simple and confusing: sudden outbursts of violence are rare and very hard to predict.

The article referenced above summarizes some of what is clear: PTSD and TBI can produce shifts in emotional management and changes in "executive brain function" resulting in possible impulsiveness. Complex phenomena like PTSD and TBI are difficult to study and data is scattered, sometimes inconsistent or contaminated by selective sampling or agency agendas. What is clear is that spectacular episodes of sudden violence are extremely rare, despite media attention. There are often multiple factors involved and these include co-occurring disorders, use of drugs or alcohol, lack of sleep, number of tours, severity of symptom or injury, just to name a few. We would love to have instruments that predict these rare outbursts, but they do not exist. We are reduced to the old maxim I learned decades ago: "the best predictor of future behavior is past behavior".

I do not wish to oversimplify; however, I want to reassure readers, especially military readers, that they are not likely to explode in some horrific headline-grabbing fashion. The title of the Washington Post article is generally accurate. Put aside the complexities of multiple tours, diminished capacity, head injury, partial recall, fugue episodes, sleep deprivation, isolation, and alcohol, and let's focus on the reassuring take-away message. There is no data supporting the worst fear carried by many. Most veterans are well trained, restrained, disciplined, highly ethical, and filled with a sense of justice, loyalty and honor. Most veterans I have treated live with the dread that they could lose control of their impulses and inadvertently hurt someone. Newspaper headlines about sudden violence and suicide add to their burden of fear. As a 66 year old combat Marine with severe health and mobility problems recently stated, "I am still afraid of what I could do to others.- That's why I need to stay away from others." The fear of losing control results in isolation, self-medication, avoidance, and a whole host of symptoms we see with PTSD.

I would argue that the most common symptom is not violence but extreme dedication to work or mission. I do not have the statistics, but from my years of experience I see pro-social zealousness- not antisocial outbursts- as the most common coping mechanism. Over dedication to work/mission becomes almost addictive. It is easy to get lost in working excessive hours, and it is rewarded by recognition and increased revenue. Channeling one's anger is difficult, but workaholism is an extreme response rewarded in our culture. However, family members can be angry and confused, and the internal burden remains hidden. Sleepless nights, avoidance, occasional road rage and other symptoms flourish, often visible only to a few. Spectacular outbursts are rare. PTSD tends to be a condition that most often fits the following: "Great souls suffer in silence." (Friedrich Schiller). The articulation of suffering is often the first step toward recovery.

Jerry Boriskin, Ph.D, has been at the forefront of the treatment of PTSD, addiction, and co-occurring disorders for more than 30 years. He is the author of several books, including PTSD and Addiction: A Practical Guide for Clinicians and Counselors and At Wit's End: What Families Need to Know When a Loved One is Diagnosed With Addiction and Mental Illness. For more information about Dr. Boriskin, please visit his website at

For more about The Meadows' innovative treatment program for PTSD and other disorders, see or call The Meadows at 800-244-4949.

The Meadows trauma and addiction treatment center in Wickenburg, Arizona, is pleased to announce Heidi Dike Kingston, LCSW, as the new Workshops Manager at The Meadows. In this new role as part of the Intake team, Kingston is responsible for providing clinical screenings and scheduling for The Meadows week-long workshops program.

Kingston began her career at The Meadows in 2004 as the Midwest Community Relations Representative while living in Chicago. In 2005, Kingston was promoted to National Community Relations Representative. After working for the Fort Carson Warrior Transition Unit as a Social Worker in 2010, Kingston returned to The Meadows as a Business Development Liaison before accepting her new responsibilities as Workshops Manager.

Kingston has worked in the field of addiction and mental health treatment since she was 19 years old, serving as a tech for Crestview Center Addiction Recovery Services in Anderson, Indiana. Prior to her time with The Meadows, Kingston worked for Hazelden Foundation as a Primary Counselor and Clinical Case Manager.

"We are very pleased that Heidi Dike Kingston has assumed her new role at The Meadows as the Workshops Manager," said Kevin Berkes, Director of Intake at The Meadows. "Heidi is most passionate about connecting individuals with the most clinically appropriate services available."

The Meadows' Workshops include topics focusing on grief, trauma, and addiction, to name a few. While these workshops specifically cater to the needs of those who are not enrolled in inpatient treatment, they also are a source of renewal for patients who have undergone treatment.

To learn more about The Meadows' workshops contact (866) 856-1279 or visit

For over 35 years, The Meadows has been a leading trauma and addiction treatment center. In that time, they have helped more than 20,000 patients in one of their three centers or in national workshops.The Meadows world-class team of Senior Fellows, Psychiatrists, Therapists and Counselors treat the symptoms of addiction and the underlying issues that cause lifelong patterns of self-destructive behavior. The Meadows is a Level 1 psychiatric hospital that is accredited by the Joint Commission.

Is it possible that trauma is good for you? Is there such a thing as Post-traumatic Growth? Are we supporting soldiers coming forth for assistance or are we engaging in denial when we strip away the "D" (disorder) from PTSD? As a clinician and advocate for those who develop PTSD and its more severe variant, Complex PTSD, I am tortured by the contradictions and questions.

Like many in my profession I have read the research and the controversy associated with resilience training. I am critical of many aspects of these endeavors; they promise more than is reasonable and have been implemented prior to empirical validation. Also, the assessments done during training have resulted in lawsuits due to soldiers objecting to being ordered for additional training on spiritual development (viewed as a resilience booster). Nonetheless, there is such a phenomenon as Post-traumatic Growth. I see it all the time, and in fact have been a strong advocate of this construct for decades. I have always encouraged clients with PTSD to "find meaning from the misery", something much easier said than done. It is no great surprise to observe that like heroes of mythology and bible, adversity is often the precursor of strength. Many soldiers and civilians suffering from PTSD go through a long "dark" period before finding hope, meaning and strength. Some never find the positives and withdraw from life or die from their condition(s). On the other hand, it is possible that some individuals skip the downside and move spontaneously toward "growth".

Whether this is common, rare, or the result of training or genetics is still not known.

The military does an outstanding job in training soldiers to survive in combat. However, is it possible to prevent PTSD? The armed forces would love to be able to select those who are most resilient and train them in all ways to become "immune" to trauma, perhaps even strengthened by trauma. I am reminded by the headline in a recent military newspaper: "Bullet-proof Your Brain". Perhaps this concept can be taken a bit too far. We are already struggling with questions about how many tours someone should have before they "break". I seriously doubt we will be able to precisely predict an individual's breaking point, find a medication that will prevent PTSD, or have cognitive techniques that permit individuals to tolerate the impossible. As cited in the article, "These programs were designed to make people happier and healthier," says George Bonanno, a professor at Columbia University who studies trauma and resilience. "That is not the same thing as inoculating people for serious urinate-in-your-clothing type stress - once-in-a-lifetime stress."

So, how do we make sense of the contradictions: is trauma neutral, negative or a positive? Can we expect resilience, growth or a lifetime of symptoms? Will a mistimed introduction of "the positive" possibility help or hurt someone with active PTSD? I am concerned that the expectation of "Growth" can add burden, perhaps shame to those who have PTSD or Complex PTSD. I recall a very powerful example. My client, a high school teacher who had severe PTSD, was being evaluated by a renowned psychiatrist as part of her lawsuit against the physician who misdiagnosed her near-fatal colon cancer. She lived in dread of a recurrence of her cancer; she had severe anxiety symptoms and was not adjusting well to her colostomy bag. The psychiatrist was representing the defense team and his objective was to gather information to deny the existence of her PTSD. She was expecting critical questions and did very well during the hour, no signs of anxiety or anger at his attempts to undermine the reality of her PTSD. At the very end of the interview the psychiatrist switched tone and tried to display empathy. He was an elderly man, partially blind, and said to her, "I had some health problems myself and medical errors were made. I decided that I had to put my memories and emotions in the attic of my brain and then I was over it. You need to do what I did." Ironically, he was trying to be kind but the result was powerful; my client burst into tears, felt invalidated and humiliated. It took us a full hour to help her recover from the trauma expert's mistimed attempt to validate and encourage. She felt shamed and criticized. In this case, a positive message delivered at the wrong time had unintended consequences.

So, while focusing on the positive results of surviving trauma is empowering, it can be invalidating as well. It is all a matter of context and timing.

Jerry Boriskin, Ph.D, has been at the forefront of the treatment of PTSD, addiction, and co-occurring disorders for more than 30 years. He is the author of several books, including PTSD and Addiction: A Practical Guide for Clinicians and Counselors and At Wit's End: What Families Need to Know When a Loved One is Diagnosed With Addiction and Mental Illness.

For more about The Meadows' innovative treatment program for PTSD and other disorders, see or call The Meadows at 800-244-4949.

Wednesday, 28 March 2012 20:00


The Meadows is pleased to announce the addition of Joan Sputh and Peter Stavropoulos to their Business Development team.

Sputh has 30 years of successful sales and sales management experience covering territories coast-to-coast with her primary focus in the medical industry.   Eighteen years were spent with Johnson & Johnson in wound management and infection control.  Most recently Joan’s work focused on adolescent behavioral health and substance abuse issues. Sputh will oversee outreach activities for The Meadows in the Northwest region of the United States, including Washington and Oregon with coverage of Montana, Idaho and Utah.

Stavropoulos has been a Certified Rehabilitation Counselor for over 12 years; he has five years of experience providing case management services to individuals with physical disabilities and behavioral health issues, as well as over six years of experience working as a Regional Sales Manager in the pharmaceutical industry. Stavropoulos will oversee New York, New Jersey and Connecticut outreach activities for The Meadows.

"We are delighted to have Joan and Peter join The Meadows team," said Patty Evans, Senior Vice President of Business Development for The Meadows. "Their passion for helping people in need of trauma and addiction treatment will be a great asset to our program. I am confident they will help behavioral health care professionals in their areas gain a better understanding of the important work The Meadows is dedicated to doing; helping patients deal with life's most difficult challenges, including addiction, trauma, abuse, depression, divorce, grief and loss, or psychiatric disorders."

For over 35 years, The Meadows has been a leading trauma and addiction treatment center. In that time, they have helped more than 20,000 patients in one of their three centers or in national workshops.The Meadows world-class team of Senior Fellows, Psychiatrists, Therapists and Counselors treat the symptoms of addiction and the underlying issues that cause lifelong patterns of self-destructive behavior. The Meadows is a Level 1 psychiatric hospital that is accredited by the Joint Commission.

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:

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