The TPS Role: Your Treatment Guide

Andrew Suma, MA, LPC

Andrew Suma, MA, LPC

By Andrew Suma, MA, LPC
Director of Business Development, Acadia Healthcare – Recovery Division

In a recent edition of Sierra Tucson’s Progress newsletter, Marina Rodina, director of business development for the Western region of the Treatment Placement Specialist (TPS) team for Acadia Healthcare – Recovery Division, provided an in-depth exploration of what it is like to work with a TPS and why such a role exists, as well as a glimpse into what can be expected when a referring professional reaches out to his or her local TPS team for assistance. The article centered on the position’s origins, as well as the TPS team’s collective “why” and core motivations. This provided a step-by-step deconstruction of why and how each TPS, through the informed treatment guidance is uniquely positioned to offer clinical communities a distinct kind of resource that solidifies the TPS as a true extension of the treatment and clinical process. Therefore, if you are a professional who has yet to work with your local TPS, and you are curious as to what kind of value your local TPS may be able to offer you or your clients, I would strongly recommend taking a moment to read Marina’s article, “Spotlight on Our Treatment Placement Specialists,” for more information.

In a similar way, the intention of this article is to extend that conversation and offer a parallel exploration of why and how the experience of receiving guidance from the perspective of the patient/client who has yet to begin his or her treatment journey, does – in and of itself – offer a critical sense of value to the overall patient/client experience.

Although the specific nature of every individual’s experience is likely to differ, what is almost universally true is that at some point over the course of a person’s treatment stay, he or she will experience something most commonly understood as a “breakthrough” or “aha moment” that can instantly offer the kind of insight which changes everything. Often this experience of clarity and integration has the power to fundamentally alter the way in which people decide to live their lives moving forward. It is within these kinds of moments that sustainable progress is born. This type of progress is fueled by a deeply personal experience of self-empowerment and is often the catalyst for an individual’s renewed sense of hope and restored ability to see what is truly possible for his or her future.

The experience described above is an attempt to illustrate the inner workings of what is truly responsible for a “successful outcome” or “positive treatment experience.” It is also a description of the kinds of moments that a TPS helps make possible for a prospective patient/client with whom we have the privilege of working. We believe that these experiences truly accelerate growth and the healing process in the lives of those we treat. The TPS’ role will remain committed to helping clients find the right treatment environment within which these experiences of restoration, clarity, and self-empowerment are found.

The TPS service and all of the value it offers to those who utilize it would not be possible without the leadership and commitment to patient-centered progress, which is at the heart of the statement commonly heard throughout all levels of leadership at Acadia Healthcare: Good treatment is good business, not the other way around. This is what guides our decisions and approach to business development, as well as overall patient care. The integrity and unwavering commitment to a patient-first approach, which pervades every corner of this organization, is how the Treatment Placement Specialist role came to be. This initiative to move our compassion for helping those in need into a state of action is vitally important.

It is that same level of passion and commitment to excellence that can be seen each and every day at Sierra Tucson. Sierra Tucson is a leader in the mental and behavioral health field, as well as a provider of world-class treatment, because of the willingness of staff to accept the responsibility that comes along with being a leader. The quality of the treatment experience at Sierra Tucson is a direct reflection of the quality of the individuals who work within its walls. It is because of this fact that the TPS team and Sierra Tucson work so well together. Simply put, we expect the absolute best from one another because we want the absolute best for those whom we treat. It is this shared vision that makes the partnership mutually beneficial and is ultimately at the head of our shared “Progress.”

The Opioid Epidemic: Prevention, Recognition & Treatment

Teresa Jackson, MD, Director of Sierra Tucson's Addictions / Co-occurring Disorders Program

Teresa Jackson, MD, Director of Sierra Tucson’s Addictions / Co-occurring Disorders Program

By Teresa L. Jackson, MD
Director of Addictions / Co-occurring Disorders Program

Prince, Michael Jackson, Heath Ledger, Whitney Houston, Amy Winehouse, Philip Seymour Hoffman, John Belushi, River Phoenix, Janis Joplin…the list goes on and on. It’s shocking to hear when a famous rock star or actor has died of a drug overdose.

What’s more disturbing…

  • 91 people die each day in the United States from an opioid overdose.
  • 33,000 people died from an opioid overdose in 2015. Half of these deaths were from prescription opioids.
  • Drug overdoses are the leading cause of accidental death in the United States, ahead of motor vehicle deaths and firearms (deaths).

In the last 15 years, the number of prescriptions for opioid pain medications has quadrupled. Prescription opiates like methadone, oxycodone (Percocet), and hydrocodone (Norco and Vicodin) are the leading cause of prescription opioid deaths. The United States uses 99 percent of the world’s hydrocdone. The majority of people that use heroin started with an opiate pill. Sadly, heroin is readily available and less expensive. We are in the midst of an opioid addiction and overdose epidemic in the United States.

The best way to prevent opioid overdose deaths is to improve opioid prescribing, reduce exposure to opioids, prevent abuse, and stop addiction. Prescribing physicians must carefully regulate opiate prescriptions. Preventing abuse of prescription opiates is a combined effort between physician, pharmacies, patients, and family members. It is very important to keep all controlled substances in a secure location. Never share your prescription and always destroy the medication when it is no longer needed. Pharmacies often accept medications. In addition, they can be discarded in cat litter or coffee grounds.

Early recognition and treatment of addiction to opiates can save lives. Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) combines the use of medication with counseling and behavioral therapies. Unfortunately, behavioral interventions alone have a poor success rate in opioid addiction, with a relapse rate that is greater than 80 percent. The addition of medication to behavioral intervention greatly increases the outcomes. FDA-approved medication such as buprenorphine (Suboxone, Subutex), methadone, and naltrexone improve the success rate and decrease the associated risks of opiate addiction, including HIV, Hepatitis C, and overdose. Extensive literature and systematic reviews show that maintenance treatment with either methadone or buprenorphine is associated with retention in treatment, reduction in illicit opiate use, decreased craving, and improved social function.

Often, patients express concern about seemingly trading one drug for another. Abstinence is always an option; however, MAT allows the brain to heal from opiate dependence. The patient can concentrate on recovery without ongoing withdrawal symptoms and cravings. The brain gradually heals from opiate dependence and the medication can be slowly tapered. One of the most common fears for patients is withdrawal. The Surgeon General and government are responding to this epidemic by increasing funding for the treatment of addiction, including MAT. In addition, life-saving medications that can reverse an opioid overdose are now available to patients who are prescribed opiates and for the loved ones of patients addicted to opiates. Naloxone (Narcan) can reverse an opiate overdose. The nasal spray is easy to use and more readily available now.

Early treatment for opioid addiction saves lives. If you are concerned about a loved one’s use of prescribed opiate pain medication or use of illicit opiates such as heroin, please seek professional help. The combined use of medication, counseling, and behavioral therapies may save his or her life.

MAT: A Case Study

Jane is a 34-year-old woman addicted to heroin. She started using oxycodone in college on the weekends. She began working after college and married a man that also used oxycodone. After a miscarriage and the death of her father, Jane’s use escalated to daily use of up to 600 milligrams of oxycodone. She was spending $600 daily on oxycodone. Her drug dealer introduced her to heroin. Her use of heroin escalated to 2 grams per day. She tried stopping on her own and could not. She tried two detox programs and immediately returned to using. She was overwhelmed with anxiety and cravings without heroin. Upon admission, she was prescribed Suboxone® to help with withdrawal symptoms. Within 24 hours of her admission, her withdrawal symptoms were gone and she was feeling well and participating in groups and activities. Because Jane had been using for many years and relapsed several times after trying to stop on her own and detox, she is candidate for MAT. She was discharged on Suboxone maintenance therapy for at least six months. Suboxone®, in addition to Intensive Outpatient Treatment (IOP) and relapse prevention meetings, is the reason Jane is drug-free today and enjoying life.

Exciting Announcements at Sierra Tucson


Valerie Kading, DNP, MSN

By Valerie Kading, DNP, MSN
Chief Medical Operations Officer

It is with enthusiasm and gratitude that we share the exciting news of recent key additions to Sierra Tucson’s Medical Department:

Chief Medical Officer

This year began with the appointment of Steven J. Eickelberg, MD, to the role of chief medical officer. Dr. Eickelberg is a graduate of Oregon Health & Science University and received training at Johns Hopkins Hospital, Massachusetts General Hospital, and the University of Arizona Health Sciences Center. Dr. Eickelberg is a diplomat of both the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology and the American Board of Addiction Medicine, and he is a fellow of the American Psychiatric Association and a distinguished fellow of the American Society of Addiction Medicine. Dr. Eickelberg serves on the Executive Council of the California Society of Addiction Medicine (CSAM). He is the president of the Medical Education and Research Foundation for the Treatment of Alcoholism and Other Drug Dependencies (MERF), an organization that focuses on educating physicians about addiction. In 2014, the California Society of Addiction Medicine presented Dr. Eickelberg with the Vernelle Fox Award.

Director of Addictions/Co-occurring Disorders Program

Teresa Jackson, MD, is the director of the Addictions/Co-occurring Disorders Program at Sierra Tucson and started her tenure in late 2016. She received both her undergraduate degree and medical degree from the University of Arizona. Dr. Jackson started her career as a surgeon, and then entered the field of addiction medicine after adopting a sober lifestyle. Dr. Jackson is board certified in addiction medicine. She specializes in medical detox and medication-assisted treatment for drug and alcohol addiction. In her spare time, she enjoys running and cycling.

Inpatient Psychiatrist

James Prickett, DO, serves as our inpatient psychiatrist and completed his residency at the University of Arizona. He received his Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine degree from Des Moines University in Iowa. Dr. Prickett’s primary interest lies within psychopharmacology, traditional medicine, and the relationship between belief, spirituality and mental health. He has been a guest speaker on topics including autism, psychedelic drugs, adolescent substance use, and addiction. He has traveled to Ecuador on several occasions to study traditional medicine in both the Andes and Amazon basin. His research regarding the possible mechanisms by which ayahuasca treats addictions has been published in The Journal of Psychoactive Drugs.

Naturopathic Physician

Erin Hayford, NMD, BCB, is a naturopathic physician who received her diploma from Bastyr University in Seattle, Washington, in 2016. Dr. Hayford is completing her residency training at Sierra Tucson and has a primary interest in mental health. She pursued elective coursework during her doctorate training to support her desire to serve this population, including additional counseling classes, and became board certified in biofeedback in 2016. As a naturopath, Dr. Hayford believes in the body’s innate ability to heal itself and works with residents to support this healing process through various modalities, such as herbal medicine, nutraceutical supplementation, lifestyle change recommendations, and stress reduction techniques. Dr. Hayford sees each resident as an individual, and along with the other care providers at Sierra Tucson, she works to meet each person’s unique needs to create a tailored treatment plan.

More About Sierra Tucson

The Medical Department continues to use principles of integrative medicine and remains the leader in offering innovative, evidence-based treatment for addictions/co-occurring disorders, trauma, chronic pain, and mood and anxiety disorders. Our medical interventions are customized to meet unique needs of each resident. Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) is an FDA-approved, non-invasive treatment for depression, and we are one of the few residential treatment facilities offering TMS Therapy to residents suffering from depression and anxiety disorders. Pharmacogenomics testing is available to all residents upon admission and supports clinical decision making when prescribing psychotropic medications, thus reducing or eliminating multiple medication trials and unwanted medication side effects. Core integrative services – including acupuncture, EMDR, Somatic Experiencing®, massage and shiatsu – remain central and integral to our integrative approach and are instrumental in the overall medical management of each resident.

Sierra Tucson Out and About

Several of our medical thought leaders have been featured at national conferences and workshops to share their expertise. As chief medical operations officer, I held a three-hour workshop, “Across the Life Span of Women’s Mental Health—An Integrative Approach to Postpartum Depression and Perimenopause Mood Dysregulation,” for therapists and medical providers on April 27-28 in Denver, Colorado. On April 23, I also delivered a presentation titled “Best Practices—An Integrative Approach to Optimizing Maternal Well-Being” to an audience of mental health providers in San Francisco. On April 21, Jerome Lerner, MD, director of Sierra Tucson’s Pain Recovery Program, delivered a keynote presentation, “New CDC Opiate Guidelines and the Future of Pain Management,” at the 2017 Austin TAAP Symposium. On April 12, Dr. Jackson was featured on KGUN-9’s Tucson Morning Blend to discuss the statistics and consequences of alcohol use. On April 3, Tena Moyer, MD, associate medical director, and Jaime Vinck, MC, LPC, NCC, CEIP, chief operations officer, presented “The Mature Adult Treatment Experience: Residential and Beyond” at the Foundations Innovations in Recovery Conference in San Diego, California. On March 30, Maureen Schwehr, NMD, director of integrative services, presented “The Gut Brain Connection: How Digestion Affects Mental Health” at the Phoenix Be Informed event. On March 8, Dr. Moyer and Vinck also co-presented “Collaborative Complex Co-occurring Disorder Treatment” at the 2017 Chicago BFI Summit for Clinical Excellence. Dr. Moyer also facilitated an Addiction Professional webinar, “It’s Not About Food, It’s About Feeding,” on February 15.

A New Path to Healing: Refuge Recovery

SandraGuilfoyle_050117_DSC04438By Sandra Guilfoyle, MS, LPC, NCC
Primary Therapist

Over the last nine years working with clients with substance use issues, I kept hearing over and over, “I don’t like the 12 Steps. I don’t have a Higher Power, it doesn’t make sense.” Once a client made up his or her mind that he or she would not be involved with the 12 Steps, the options grew very limited for other types of recovery tools. I could relate to an extent and recalled from my own early recovery how meditation saved my life. I began teaching mindfulness and meditation to help clients connect with themselves and learn tools like compassion, forgiveness, generosity, and service to others.

A few years ago, I heard about a Buddhist teacher named Noah Levine, a former addict and punk rocker adorned with tattoos who teaches meditation to addicts based on the Buddhist teachings of the Four Noble Truths and the Eightfold Path. I was curious and wanted to find out more; I bought his book, “Refuge Recovery.”

Refuge Recovery is a practice, a process, a set of tools, and a path to healing addiction and the suffering caused by addiction. The main inspiration and guiding philosophy for the Refuge Recovery program are the teachings of Siddhartha (Sid) Gautama, a man who lived in India twenty-five hundred years ago. Sid was a radical psychologist and a spiritual revolutionary. Through his own efforts and practices, he sought to understand why human beings experience suffering. He referred to the root cause of suffering as “uncontrollable thirst or repetitive craving.” Sid came to understand and experience a way of living that ended all forms of suffering through a practice and process that includes meditation, wise actions, and compassion. After freeing himself from the suffering caused by craving, Sid spent the rest of his life teaching others how to live a life of well-being and freedom, a life free from suffering.

Refuge Recovery focuses on continuing Sid’s work, allowing the opportunity to connect with oneself and practice healthy behaviors of service, mindfulness, and compassion to others while using meditation, generosity, forgiveness, and peace to stay sober.

Sierra Tucson offers weekly Refuge Recovery meetings for all residents, as suffering can be related to addiction, mood, trauma, disordered eating, and chronic pain. A typical meeting opens with introductions, the Refuge Recovery preamble, a short meditation, and readings from the Four Noble Truths and Eightfold Path, followed by a discussion of how and what action can help us accept and move toward having more awareness, building a community, and finding support for healing.

About Sandra Guilfoyle, MS, LPC, NBCC
Sandra Guilfoyle’s experience in substance abuse began at age 15 when she started attending Alateen—and later Al-Anon—to learn coping skills around family members using substances. After a successful career in the symphony orchestra field for 15 years, she received her Master of Science in Clinical Counseling from the University of Phoenix, Tucson Campus. Sandra went on to community mental health, where she treated a broad range of mental health disorders, deepening her understanding of multifaceted needs of clients. She went on to work at the Tucson Center for Psychotherapy and then moved to Ohio for family reasons. She holds a Licensed Professional Counselor license in Ohio, where she had a private practice specializing in substance abuse, LGBTQ, adolescents, and women’s issues. She also worked at Legacy Freedom Treatment Center, a holistic 90-day intensive outpatient program. She uses an integrated and holistic approach in her work, drawing from mindfulness, dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT), person-centered therapy (PCT), transpersonal psychology, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), and family systems theory, as well as her personal study of meditation. Sandra believes in a person’s innate ability to grow, transform, and heal when he/she has the tools and feels safe to explore the deepest parts of himself/herself.

Is Logic Compatible with Recovery?

Victor P. Gilbert, MSW, LISACBy Victor P. Gilbert, MSW, LISAC
Primary Therapist, Sierra Tucson

The views expressed herein are derived from observations of persons in my groups during the course of my career as a therapist. When possible, I have attempted to reconcile these observations with known long-term outcomes.

Early on in my profession, there was an individual in my group who presented as being less than highly motivated. That person completed (superficially in my opinion at that time) the treatment plan and discharged. For the subsequent five or six years, a Christmas card arrived containing a detailed report of her successful recovery. Those Christmas messages presented both a joy and a challenge. The challenge being, how could my assessment of her motivation have been so inaccurate?

Several more years of observations of persons in my groups followed. Then the answer to the challenge became clear. The assessment I had made had been based upon my need to see a motivation connected to logic. The important piece that had been overlooked was the value she had placed upon herself. Thus my question (and the title of this article): Is logic compatible with recovery?

A clarification of terms as used in this article would be appropriate at this point.

Logic: Typically defined as correct reasoning that is valid deduction or induction.

Recovery: Identifying and changing something in one’s life that is not working and/or is causing distress. Recovery will be considered as being of two phases: 1) early recovery and 2) continuing recovery.

Early recovery involves making a decision to change an identified, unwanted aspect of one’s life. It is in this phase that logic often gets in the way.

I like logic, but not when misapplied. It is not unusual to find persons coming into treatment wanting a logical answer to any number of “why” questions. Those persons are seeking a linear cause-and-effect relationship external to themselves. If one is able to establish this relationship, there is no need to change one’s thinking. Years ago it was not unusual to have a staff member say to a client, “It was your best thinking that got you here.” Or as Albert Einstein is reported to have said, “We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.”

If not logic, then what? Early recovery, to be successful, requires one to make a commitment to self. I often refer to this as developing a recovery attitude. An “I-will-do-whatever-it-takes-because-I-am-worth-it” type of mentality. This commitment is particularly important given that recovery is often tiring and inconvenient.

Sustaining this commitment requires that one dispute the “logical” proofs that one is defective, not good enough, stupid, or bad. The list of self-deprecating beliefs people bring into treatment can be long and strongly held.

These self-critical beliefs have become embedded, so completely, into one’s internal dialogue as to be highly resistant to discovery and change. This resistance is supported by guilt, shame, fear, and emotional pain. Applying Einstein’s statement, the thinking to be changed is that which determines how one views self. A change which requires working through the emotional charge attached to facing character “defects.” The potential danger of attempting to use logic at this early stage of recovery is that often, logic has been invoked to support the “truth” of one’s so-called defects.

As stated earlier, I like logic. Where then, does logic fit into the recovery journey? Logic is critical to sustaining continuing recovery. The relationship is simply this: If I do not continue that which I have found to work for me, I will quickly return to my pre-treatment pain.

For more information about Sierra Tucson’s comprehensive residential programs, please call our Admissions Coordinators at (800) 842-4487.

Eating Disorders vs. Disordered Eating: When Is It Time to Seek Treatment?

treatment for eating disordersAs a society, we put a lot of pressure on ourselves to look, act, and feel a certain way. With the infiltration of, and our obsession with, social media, we are subconsciously (and even sometimes knowingly) comparing ourselves to a perceived image of perfection.

According to the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA), many individuals struggle with body dissatisfaction and disordered eating attitudes and behaviors. And, the best-known contributor to the development of anorexia and bulimia is body dissatisfaction.

Psychology Today reports that up to 50 percent of the U.S. population has experienced some sort of disordered relationship with food, body and exercise. Given that nearly half of Americans are struggling with food issues, makes it even more important to talk about the differences between eating disorders and disordered eating.

Do You Know the Difference?

Eating Disorders include psychological disorders characterized by abnormal or disturbed eating habits:

  • Extreme emotions
  • Attitudes
  • Behaviors surrounding weight and food issues

Eating disorders are serious emotional and physical problems that can have life-threatening consequences for females and males, such as anorexia, bulimia, and binge eating.

Disordered Eating includes behavior commonly associated with eating disorders, such as:

  • Food restriction
  • Binge eating
  • Feelings of guilt when unable to maintain healthy eating/exercise habits
  • Chronic yo-yo dieting

It’s important to note that while individuals with eating disorders may show signs of disordered eating, not all disordered eaters are diagnosed with or have an eating disorder.

Call a Doctor If…

While nearly 30 million people in the U.S. battle an eating disorder and 50 percent suffer from disordered eating, the numbers are suspected to be far greater because so few seek treatment. Following are some warning signs that it’s time to seek help:

  • Showing signs of anorexia, including rapid weight loss, eating very little, and being overly concerned about weight and appearance
  • Fearful of gaining even a small amount of weight
  • Being secretive or lying about eating habits
  • Feeling the need to exercise excessively, especially after meals
  • Abusing laxatives/diuretics, or vomiting voluntarily
  • Excessive and uncontrollable eating

Family Matters

Positive communication is critical for making a change. One thing we know about families dealing with mental health disorders is that somewhere along the way, communication collapses. When one person in a family behaves in a way that harms others despite their hopes, expectations and previously understood norms, it can cause an entire family to crumble.

At Sierra Tucson, we believe that family involvement is a fundamental part of the recovery process. Because we know that friends and family members are considerably affected by a loved one who is struggling with an eating disorder or any other mental health challenge, their participation is an essential component of our comprehensive treatment programs. Our Sierra Tucson Family Program is available for all family members age 18 and older. The goal of this program is to create a shift in attitudes and behaviors among family members, and provide them with the tools needed to become healthy, supportive figures.

If you would like more information on the Eating Recovery Program at Sierra Tucson, please call our Admissions Coordinators today at (800) 842-4487.

Understanding Access to Care is Critically Important in Choosing the Right Treatment Center

3grqsh8c4_e-mariaBy Michelle McCabe-Gray

Are you or a loved one considering treatment? It could be one of the most important decisions you will ever have to make. Here are some things to consider when determining if treatment is right for your needs.

What type of treatment are you looking for?

Treatment centers come in all shapes and sizes. It is critically important that you do the necessary research to make sure the facility “checks the boxes” needed to aid in your recovery and ultimate success in treatment. Some examples of treatment needs may include:

  • Level of Care – Detoxification, inpatient rehabilitation, partial hospitalization with or without housing, intensive outpatient and/or outpatient program. Remember, many treatment centers have excellent relationships with other programs to help fulfill all of your needs.
  • Special Requirements – Ambulatory issues, dual diagnosis services, and/or dietary restrictions, to name a few.

Does the treatment center take my insurance?

When searching for a treatment center, you want to be sure to ask about insurance coverage. Just because they may not be in network with your specific insurance, the treatment facility may meet all of your other needs and therefore, you may want to utilize your out-of-network insurance. Some good questions to ask are:

  • Do you accept [xyz] insurance?
  • If you do not, do you take out-of-network benefits?
  • If you do not, do you provide any type of courtesy billing to my insurance?

What will a typical day look like when I am in treatment?

If you or your loved one is not yet ready to make that “treatment decision,” ask what a day in treatment looks like. “What will I be doing?” “Do you have any type of specialty programs like acupuncture or outdoor activities while in treatment?” Just finding some of the options and opportunities can be the deciding factor in getting into treatment.

Do you have a family program component and what does the alumni program look like?

Oftentimes, we do not think about the next step post-treatment prior to coming into treatment. It is never too early to ask about family visits, as well as what type of alumni activities and groups the treatment center offers.

Always keep in mind that when you or a loved one makes the important decision to begin the journey of recovery, the right treatment center can make all the difference. The admissions, business development, and marketing teams will help guide you through any and all questions or concerns you may have.

Michelle McCabe-GrayAbout the Writer
Michelle McCabe-Gray is the Director of Business Development of Huntington Creek Recovery Center and Pocono Mountain Recovery Center, located in Northeastern Pennsylvania and members of the Acadia Healthcare family. She can be reached at 570-881-1177 or

Spotlight on Our Treatment Placement Specialists

Marina Rodina with Acadia Healthcare

Marina Rodinam, Business Development Director of Acadia Healthcare’s Recovery Division

by Marina Rodina
Director of Business Development
Acadia Healthcare’s Recovery Division

Acadia Healthcare’s exemplary team of Treatment Placement Specialists (TPS) was created in response to an overwhelming need for pre-treatment consultation services. This team was also established as a means of both assisting professionals in linking clientele to the services needed and alleviating the frustration and intimidation that can result when one is seeking care for mental health, behavioral health, and/or chemical dependency concerns. It is for these reasons that the TPS team works closely with a vast array of healthcare professionals, as well as individuals who are struggling, to determine the type and level of care required to elicit the most favorable treatment outcomes.

When a person participates in effective treatment, that individual is more likely to achieve his or her treatment goals and decrease the requirement for more intensive care in the future. The TPS team aims to help individuals access effective treatment, both through professional referrals and direct contact, and does so by providing the following to all who request TPS services:

  • Thorough assessment of each individual
  • Detailed information about treatment options
  • Individualized guidance that is tailored to the person’s needs
  • Beneficial care coordination between the individual and the most appropriate treatment center
  • Resources that will help the person reintegrate back into his or her respective community following treatment completion

Professionals who elect to work with the TPS team will ultimately have access to a variety of options that can provide those they treat with services that foster long-term healing and recovery. Furthermore, individuals who utilize TPS services are armed with information that can empower them to make the most informed decisions about treatment.

In keeping with its initiative to help individuals access appropriate care, the TPS team is national and possesses strong professional relationships with numerous treatment providers all across the country. In doing so, the following levels of care can be available by those who utilize TPS services:

  • Detoxification services
  • Residential treatment
  • Partial hospitalization programming (PHP)
  • Intensive outpatient programming (IOP)
  • Neuropsychological testing
  • Outdoor adventure-based treatment
  • Medication-assisted treatment (MAT)

Additionally, the TPS team can serve as a gateway to a variety of specialty services:

  • Age-specific treatment
  • Disorder-specific treatment
  • Dual-diagnosis treatment
  • Faith-based treatment
  • Gender-specific treatment
  • Programming for military members and veterans
  • Programs that treat complex pain and mental health and/or substance use concerns

Lastly, if a type of care is needed that a provider within the TPS team’s network cannot deliver, the team will work with the referring professional and/or individual to ensure his or her needs are met.

Yet another benefit to using TPS services has to do with the professionals with whom a person will be working. The TPS team is comprised of dedicated and compassionate individuals who strive to help people of all ages and backgrounds access appropriate services and improve their overall quality of life. Whether or not a person ultimately requires more intensive treatment, such as residential care, or more supportive services following the completion of a higher level of care, such as PHP, the TPS team can help referring professionals, men, women, and young people alike find the treatment that can bring about healthier, more productive lives. The TPS team is able to assist people in accessing the care required to overcome mental health, behavioral health, and/or chemical dependency issues. Providers include:

  • Addiction Specialists
  • Counselors
  • Nurses
  • Psychiatrists
  • Social Workers
  • Therapists

Acadia Healthcare’s Treatment Placement Specialists are specially trained and able to utilize their expertise and national network of partners to provide individuals with viable treatment options. At the same time, the TPS team will work with professionals and individuals to locate a treatment program that is cost-effective, so as to reduce financial concerns as a barrier to receiving beneficial care.

If you are a healthcare professional with a client in need of additional services, or you know someone that is struggling with mental and/or behavioral health conditions, please visit Acadia Healthcare’s Treatment Placement Specialists website at and contact the TPS representative in your area.

With just one phone call, the start of a brighter, healthier, and happier tomorrow can begin today.


Sierra Tucson is a proud member of the Acadia Healthcare family.

Healthy Social Media Tips

Healthy Social Media TipsOn January 27, 2017, Sierra Tucson Chief Operations Officer Jaime Vinck, MC, LPC, NCC, CEIP, was featured on News 4 Tucson – KVOA, weighing in on the harmful effects of social media addiction. Compulsive behavior such as checking one’s news feed several times per day, or comparing oneself to the ‘perfect’ life of his or her friends, can actually lead to more serious conditions like depression and anxiety. Here are a few tips for healthy social media management.

  1. Evaluate your social media use and ask yourself, “Does it bring me joy?” If the answer is no, review your patterns of use, as well as the feelings that you experience about your place in the world when you use. Journal your use and associated feelings for a week. Decide if social media is worthy of your precious time. When we ‘Facebook stalk’ our high school nemesis that appears to have the perfect life, only to experience pain, it is a form of self-harm or “Cyber Cutting.”
  2. Take an inventory of how much time you are spending on social media. Ask yourself or your loved ones if your use is getting in the way of your relationships. Are you less productive at work or school due to constant viewing of Twitter or Instagram? Does your significant other feel that he or she is in competition with your phone? If any answers are yes, then commit to not checking your personal email or social media accounts during business hours, and do not bring your phone to the dinner table.
  3. Practice mindfulness when it comes to social media. Be present and in the moment, practicing deep breathing and active listening. This will result in a peaceful feeling of tranquility that exists only in the present, increasing your awareness of your surroundings. How many opportunities are missed because of the distraction of a buzzing phone and others’ updates?
  4. Set healthy boundaries with your technology. Limit use to one hour per day, only after self-care has been implemented. Take care of yourself—mind, body, and spirit—and turn to social media once those needs have been met. Feed your body and your soul before giving in to the urge to check the Twitter feed!
  5. Strive for internal validation by living a life that you know is “on purpose.Know who you are and why you are here, regardless of the number of “likes” you receive on your recent photo or how many followers you have. Finally, please avoid comparing yourself to others, as their persona is not necessarily their truth. Everyone has seasons of pain and challenges. Most important, you are a child of the universe and deserve happiness!

For more information about Sierra Tucson’s comprehensive residential programs, please call our Admissions Coordinators at (800) 842-4487 .

The Power of Connection

LeeAnne Long, Connect365 Coordinator

LeeAnne Long                       Connect365 Coordinator

Sierra Tucson’s Connect365 makes all the difference in early recovery
By LeeAnne Long, Connect365 Coordinator

Nestled in the foothills of the magnificent Santa Catalina Mountains, Sierra Tucson exudes spirituality and enlightenment and is surrounded by a magical aura different from any other residential treatment center.

Each resident that enters Sierra Tucson embarks on a journey of self-discovery. This journey brings forth the ability to see the world differently as their clouded, pain-filled eyes start to clear up and brighten.

As residents move past the lobby, staff members may see what appears to be a glimmer of a smile on their face with a hint of hesitation and perhaps a little fear behind it. But the smile is genuine and feels good, even if they don’t understand it. A new universe is unfolding before them; they now have hope and no longer feel alone. This is where change begins.

The stunning, scenic beauty and spirituality of Sierra Tucson are not its only attributes. This renowned treatment center has many unique and groundbreaking programs and services to offer each resident.

One of these services is Connect365, Sierra Tucson’s signature continuing care platform that is offered to residents for one full year following treatment completion at no additional cost. Every resident is provided with a personal Recovery Coach, as well as an interactive recovery management system that can be accessed via mobile device. Participants are scheduled for Connect365 workshops and one-on-one individual coaching sessions during the first week of their stay, so they can immediately build a rapport with their Recovery Coach.

Connect365 promotes accountability and the importance of following a continuing care plan. Participants commit to calling their Recovery Coach each week to check in, stating their feelings/mood and reporting how they are doing with their plan. Coaches kindly give peer support and remind them to keep moving forward by applying the skills they learned at Sierra Tucson to their daily life. Connect365 helps to bridge the gap between residential treatment and the outside world. This is where change continues.

A technologically advanced phone app designed specifically for Sierra Tucson helps former residents, now clients, stay accountable to themselves and their coaches. Coaches will assign their clients tasks that coincide with their continuing care plan. Each time a client completes a task, he or she logs into the system from a mobile device and records it, which then syncs with the Coach’s desktop. The task bars change from red to green once a client has completed an assignment or attends an appointment/meeting on his or her itinerary, allowing the Recovery Coach to check on compliance.

Sierra Tucson strongly recommends building a healthy support network in the outside world, and the Connect365 phone app was designed to accommodate the client’s support team. Connect365 participants sign up support members to log into the app with their own username and password to help with accountability. A support team is never too big. Clients are encouraged to sign up as many people as they wish, including family members, friends, sponsors, professionals, and providers.

Connect365 participants and their support members can access sleep, exercise, and nutritional information from the phone app. There are also links to additional resources for mood disorders, eating disorders, chronic pain, trauma, and addictions at their fingertips. Sierra Tucson Alumni information is available as an added bonus to the app.

If clients are unable to call, they can check in with their Recovery Coach by sending a secure message uniquely built into the phone app. Coaches have the ability to message them back immediately for reassurance. This provides an additional and effective means of communication.

A Recovery Coach may be called on to help with discharge planning if a previously created continuing care plan needs adjusting. The Recovery Coach will give the client the name and number of the Acadia Healthcare Treatment Placement Specialist (TPS) in his or her local community so as to gather additional resources and compose a new plan if needed. This wisely designed safety net between Recovery Coach, TPS, and client can prevent unnecessary panic or isolation that often leads to relapse. Bottom line: The participant can always turn to his or her Recovery Coach in times of distress.

Without a doubt, the Sierra Tucson’s Connect365 has helped change many lives since its inception in November 2015. Clients call their Recovery Coach and simply state, “I need your help. I don’t know what to do.” A client may call several times in one day, reaching out to his or her Recovery Coach to stay focused and grounded. One client said, “I feel safer just hearing your voice, and now I know I can get through this because you are with me.”

A secure message may be sent to the Coach that reads, “I’m not doing well. Can we talk?” Or, an SOS such as “I quit my IOP today!” flags the Coach that an immediate phone call is in order. On a more positive note, messages like “Thank you for everything, you help me a lot” or “I want to thank you for all your support; it makes me feel like someone cares,” are also received by Coaches, further reiterating the significance of this service.

Once a participant completes her or her year in Connect365, the Recovery Coach smoothly transitions the client to the Sierra Tucson Alumni Relations team, where he or she is received with open arms and a welcoming phone call of acknowledgement. Now, the client is provided with a lifetime of alumni services.

In closing, here is a quote that a graduating participant sent to his Recovery Coach, which touched the hearts of Sierra Tucson staff members for the lifesaving work they do:

“Thank you for everything. The gift I got from Sierra Tucson is something that will always be cherished. Sobriety is priceless. Recovery and moving from an unmanageable life to leading a meaningful life is something for which I will always be grateful. Thank you for everything; my regards to the whole team; farewell and Happy New Year.”