Author: The Staff at Sierra Tucson

Equine-Assisted Psychotherapy: Healing Through Horses

By Liz Dampsey, PhD, SEP Clinical Psychology Postdoctoral Fellowship Program The field of equine-assisted psychotherapy (EAP) has seen rapid growth over the last decade. Research in the field has been increasing substantially in terms of qualitative and quantitative studies that point to its therapeutic efficacy. Evidence suggests that EAP can improve self-awareness, self-efficacy (the belief in one’s own abilities to achieve goals and influence outcomes), and emotion regulation, while decreasing... Read More

The Importance of Nutritional Therapy for Addiction Recovery


By Rachel Reid, RD Seventy four percent of individuals with substance use disorder also suffer from nutritional deficiencies or malnutrition.1 Adequate nutrition and hydration are vital to substance use treatment for restoring physical well-being and mental health and for promoting long-term recovery. Individualized nutrition education and counseling provided by a registered dietitian during substance use treatment has been found to significantly improve sobriety success rates.2 It is well known that... Read More

Celebrating Every Body: The Body Positive Movement in Action

In today’s world of Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook, and Pinterest, photos of near-perfect bodies and flawless faces flood the social media scene. While many celebs and citizens alike are promoting a new approach to beauty known as the body positive movement, it’s easy to fall into the toxic trap of comparing ourselves to others. The good news is we’re making progress toward positivity and a healthy lifestyle. Rachel Reid, RD, a... Read More

Empowering Residents to Find (and Speak) Their Truth

The Patient Advocates help foster healthy recovery behaviors At Sierra Tucson, the Patient Advocates serve as the liaison between residents and staff. Patient Advocates communicate resident concerns to appropriate staff members. The team, consisting of one male and one female Patient Advocate, is open seven days a week to reinforce an environment that is focused on resident-centered care. What Is a Patient Advocate? Self-Advocacy – A Patient Advocate supports residents... Read More

Revealing the Reality of Perinatal Women and Substance Use

By Valerie M. Kading, DNP, PMHNP-BC Chief Medical Operations Officer Women of childbearing years represent approximately 1 out of every 4 individuals globally. In 2015, 1.6 billion women aged 15 to 44 years represented approximately 45% of the total female population (U.S. Census Bureau, 2015). The number of women of childbearing years has been projected to increase by over 0.4 billion between 2002 and 2050 (U.S. Census Bureau, 2015). In... Read More

A Physical Approach to Pain Treatment

By Anthony Henderson, DPT Doctor of Physical Therapy Physical therapy is designed not only to treat physical limitations, but also to ensure improved pain over a longer period of time, overall functional mobility with a high success rate for treatment, and a 72-percent reduction in the medical cost of treatment within the first year. However, physical therapy can be one of the most challenging methods for treating pain due to... Read More

The Opioid Epidemic: Prevention, Recognition & Treatment

By Teresa L. Jackson, MD Director of Addiction Recovery 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... Read More

Ready for Change: How the Admissions Team Supports Referring Professionals

By Blake Master Director of Admissions With direct efforts from behavioral health professionals who refer to Sierra Tucson, over 1,600 lives were touched in 2017. That’s 1,600 people making a change in order to feel better, improve, and thrive for years to come. It is not only these individuals who are taking a leap of faith when seeking treatment, but also their referring doctors, therapists, and counselors who are joining... Read More

Miracles All Around

By Jaime Vinck, MC, LPC, NCC, CEIP Chief Executive Officer Happy New Year from beautiful and sunny Tucson, Arizona! As I reflect on the past 365 days, it is humbling to consider that we have helped more than 1,600 individuals find hope and healing. Prior to Sierra Tucson, each of those individuals were cared for by at least three people, conservatively speaking, who likely breathed a huge sigh of relief... Read More

Residential Therapists: Providing Comfort and Care During the Holidays

By Gabrielle Shoun, MS, LASAC Manager of Residential Therapists at Sierra Tucson Taking that first step through the doors of a treatment center is often one of the most overwhelming experiences a person can endure, particularly during the holiday season. So many unknowns consume the minds of all those involved. “What kind of support will I have?” “How will I cope with being away from home?” “What will my loved... Read More

Tips for Navigating Drinking Pressures During the Holidays

This time of year can be especially difficult for recovering alcoholics and addicts who may become triggered by the overwhelming emotions brought on by the season. Between anxiety-provoking family dynamics, challenging in-laws, and pressure to attend social gatherings, the holidays can be stressful. Studies show that depression, drunk-driving accidents, suicide, and even domestic violence increase from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day. Many of these instances are linked to alcohol and... Read More

Talk About Your Medicines Month

What do Heath Ledger, Anna Nicole Smith, and Chris Farley have in common? They were celebrities whose lives suddenly ended from drug overdose. Sadly, all three tragedies were directly linked to abuse of prescription medications. While the abuse of many illicit schedule controlled substances has steadily declined in the general population, the misuse of opioids (substances found in almost every prescription pain reliever) has increased drastically. According to the United... Read More

Addressing an Unmet Need in Depression

By Michelle Chacon, RN Certified TMS Clinical Operator, Sierra Tucson Major depressive disorder (MDD) is one of the most common mental conditions in the world, affecting millions of individuals. It is estimated that approximately 4 million patients do not benefit from standard treatments for depression, even after repeated treatment attempts. In the Sequenced Treatment Alternatives to Relieve Depression (STAR*D) – the largest collaborative study to date on depression treatment and... Read More

Residential Accountability and Safety Coaches Create a Safe Environment

By Scott Frazier, MSC Program Manager As pioneers in integrative treatment, Sierra Tucson created a new role – Residential Accountability and Safety Coach (RASC) – to bridge the gap between safety and assisting a resident to maintain his or her own level of accountability. Understanding the complex needs of an individual in crisis is vast and residents that come to treatment have various levels of differences, which may include engaging... Read More

The Powerful Gift of Recovery as an Art Form

By Scott Frazier, MSC Manager, Eating Recovery Services Art is the expression or application of human creative skill and imagination placed on any medium. The American Art Therapy Association (AATA) defines art therapy as an integrative mental health tool that enriches the lives of individuals, families, and communities through active art-making, creative process, applied psychological theory, and human experience within a psychotherapeutic relationship. Art therapy effectively supports personal and relational... Read More