An Interview with Steve Crump, Dallas Intensive Outpatient

Addiction recovery is all about learning new skills. In intensive outpatient treatment, clients also have the opportunity to implement those skills in a real-world environment. To Steve Crump, these opportunities are what make intensive outpatient programs (IOPs) so effective. “In intensive outpatient treatment, clients not only learn about addiction and how to stay sober but also implement immediate changes in their lives,” he says. “Education is important but it’s not enough by itself. Clients need experience to gain a sense of mastery over the things they’ll need to do to sustain their recovery long-term. By the end of eight weeks, they know what to do because they’ve been practicing it all along.” Steve oversees four intensive outpatient programs in Dallas and the surrounding areas, all of which screen clients carefully to make sure they have a realistic chance of being successful at this level of care. Adult and adolescent groups meet three times a week for eight weeks, either Monday, Wednesday and Friday or Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday (to create a bridge over one of the most challenging times: the weekend).

Wrapping Recovery Into Daily Life

Under Steve’s leadership, treatment is present-focused, as opposed to focused on issues from the past, and practical rather than theoretical. Between sessions, clients practice what they learned and come back to discuss how they’re managing cravings and coping with feelings. “What’s happening between groups is just as vital as what’s happening during groups,” Steve says. “By discussing how the process is unfolding day-to-day, we are able to truly wrap recovery into clients’ lives.” Clients also participate in individual counseling sessions to create an individualized treatment plan and to assess and evaluate progress and goals for change, and a discharge plan outlining what each client needs to do to maintain their recovery. This may include recommendations for specified continued 12-Step meetings, psychiatric care, and/or individual, group and family therapy. Sessions are led by licensed, master’s level therapists who have experience and training in treating addiction. Aftercare meetings are held (at no additional charge) once a week for two years following completion of treatment. The adolescent intensive outpatient programs are similar to the adult programs, with particular emphasis on family dynamics, a positive peer network and re-integration back into school. Led by highly qualified counselors who are skilled in engaging adolescents, the teen IOPs are a safe place for adolescents to open up and begin dealing with how addiction has affected them and their families.

A Trusted Network

Steve began working in the addiction treatment field in the 1980s. After earning his master’s degree in Rehabilitation Services with a focus in Addiction Studies, he became licensed in Texas as a licensed professional counselor in addition to being a licensed chemical dependency counselor. Prior to becoming affiliated with The Right Step, he managed three different residential programs and two outpatient programs in the Dallas area. He chose to affiliate with The Right Step because it is a trusted network of programs that can treat clients wherever they are in the recovery process. From detox and outpatient to residential, clients are able to move into more or less structured settings depending on their specific needs. For example, clients can detox before coming to IOP or move into residential treatment if they need more support to stay sober, knowing each step of the way that they’re receiving top-quality care. “The Right Step integrates all levels of care in a seamless way,” Steve explains. “Once clients contact us, we’re going to do better than anybody else in determining what their recovery process looks like and moving them through that process. They don’t have to guess what will happen next or spend time figuring out what they need to do. We have a trusted network of providers with the experience and commitment to get them in the right place at the right time.

Encouragement and Accountability

Steve’s intensive outpatient programs have a reputation for helping people who have lost hope that they’ll be able to turn their lives around, using a combination of encouragement and accountability. “Many of our clients have been through a number of other treatment programs, but finally achieve lasting recovery here,” he says. “If clients give us their commitment to follow the recovery process – to work diligently and stay committed through to aftercare – it is our experience that over 80 percent will go on to stay sober years later.” Caring and fair, Steve provides a great deal of encouragement so that clients stay positive and maintain their momentum. Even after 30 years in the field, he looks at each person as a unique individual. “There is always some variance on what each person needs,” he says, “which is why a cookie-cutter approach to treatment doesn’t work.” Steve’s passion is creating high-quality programs and recruiting skilled professionals who can guide people through what is likely one of the biggest crises they’ll ever face. Although working through the immediate crisis is an important part of treatment, the real goal of any recovery program is long-term change. “What gets people into treatment is a crisis, but that doesn’t motivate people to stay clean long-term. What keeps them clean isn’t fear of negative things that could happen but rather having positive things going on in their lives, such as family bonds, a spiritual connection or a rewarding career,” Steve says. “They stay sober because their lives are so much better that drugs are the last thing they want to do.

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