Restoring Health and Hope

Clinical services are key component of recovery process.

When clients arrive at Riverside Recovery of Tampa, they’re usually at one of the lowest points in their lives. Substance use disorder has stolen their bodies and souls and left them empty and without hope.
The staff at Riverside Recovery of Tampa takes people at their very worst. They guide them through their fight to sobriety by providing a vast array of client-focused treatments and care.

Photo by Jordan Pysz.

“We do the deep work here. We get to the root cause of what’s going on
and show people their lives are not over.” -Jackie

“We have medical detox treatment, residential treatment and PHP, which is partial hospitalization,” explains Jackie Dowgiallo, LMHC, program director at Riverside Recovery of Tampa.
“We also have the IOP, which is the intensive outpatient program, so we have care all across the continuum. From start to finish, the recovery program takes approximately ninety days. The clinical programming changes based on the level of care each person is in.”
The assigned therapists attempt to meet with their clients on the first day to get their background information. Clients, unfortunately, often don’t feel very well when they arrive at Riverside Recovery of Tampa, so this isn’t always possible on the arrival day.
However, by state law, therapists must meet with their clients within three days to complete their health histories as well as to develop their biopsychosocial profiles. By evaluating the clients’ profiles, the Riverside Recovery of Tampa staff can make more informed decisions regarding the direction of their clinical care.
“From detox to residential, clients have full days of clinical programming with process groups all day,” notes Jackie. “The purpose of these groups is to educate them about substance use disorder and help them process through their healing because they’re not using substances
anymore to numb their feelings. These groups also provide support.
“The groups are intertwined with a complete medical evaluation and physical therapy to help clients regain their physical health. When they leave the residential program, clients go three days a week at night for intensive outpatient treatment.
“After they graduate from outpatient therapy, the clinical team recommends clients continue with ongoing individual therapy for support and to help them stay sober because recovery is a lifelong process. We encourage them to also continue going to meetings.”
The road to recovery at Riverside Recovery of Tampa begins with the core treatments, individual and group therapy. The clinical program also includes other, evidence-based modalities designed to help clients gain insight into their substance use disorder or SUD. The program helps them learn to use tools that can create the changes that are needed in their lives to get and stay sober.

Addressing the Whole Person

The clinical program addresses the whole person – mind, body and spirit – and provides resources to address substance use disorder as well as any co-occurring disorders such as anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder [PTSD]. The program includes cognitive behavior therapy, 12-step facilitation, biofeedback and motivational interventions.
Individual therapy sessions, which typically begin in residential treatment, are based on the clients’ needs and are focused on what events are occurring in the clients’ lives. Generally, therapists address the clients’ addictions and related behaviors, and often give the clients assignments to work on to process those behaviors. Clients are asked to take accountability for their actions as well.
“The first thing I do in my individual therapy sessions with clients is make sure they get sponsors, start creating their sober networks and begin working on relapse prevention plans and coping skills,” reports therapist Shana Blount, MMHC. “For the prevention plans, we first identify their triggers for relapse because everybody is different.
“To find a sponsor, the clients attend meetings. There, the attendees are asked to raise their hands if they’re willing to be a sponsor. Once the client chooses someone from one of those volunteers, the two of them have a private conversation to make sure they’re a match. Then, they go from there.”
The meetings are traditional Alcoholics Anonymous®/Narcotics Anonymous® gatherings. Riverside Recovery of Tampa hosts three meetings on campus, and the staff takes clients to meetings off-site as well.
“The sponsors the clients choose must be sober for at least one year,” says Shana. “We prefer two years, but sometimes, sponsors like that are difficult to find. The sponsors help the clients go through the twelve steps.”
Recently, Riverside Recovery of Tampa added another evidence-based therapy for treating clients who’ve suffered traumatic events and continue to relive them, such as those with PTSD. The therapy is called accelerated resolution therapy, or ART.
“ART is a specialized form of trauma therapy we offer to our clients in the residential program,” describes Jackie. “It is helpful for residents who have a PTSD diagnosis or who’ve had traumatic experiences in their lives, whether as children or adults.
“It’s a non-traditional therapy that uses rapid eye movements to help clients desensitize themselves from their traumatic experiences. It reduces negative symptoms and negative images and helps manage flashbacks.”
During the therapy, clients relive their trauma in their minds while following rapid eye movements from the therapist. The rapid eye movements trigger the parasympathetic nervous system, which processes the traumatic events in a relaxed state. This takes the negative images and transforms them into long-term storage, enabling them to be recalled in a more positive, less traumatic narrative.
“The therapy enables the clients to relive their trauma, but recreate it,” explains Jackie. “The eye movements take over the scenes and reconstruct them in a way the clients want to remember the events.”

The Root Cause

As part of the treatment at Riverside Recovery of Tampa, patients are shown they can live happy, normal, healthy lives without the use of drugs and alcohol. The center offers amenities and activities to guide them in this discovery.
The center has a half-court basketball court, a yoga studio, an exercise room with weight and elliptical machines, and a swimming pool. Construction has started on a deck overlooking the Hillsborough River, which will allow clients to enjoy scenic views while taking part in outdoor activities.
“We show our clients they can have a lot of fun while sober and clean, doing things like working out, playing basketball, swimming or fishing, and they can enjoy them clear-minded,” states Jackie. “They will actually have more fun than if they were drunk or high.
“We do the deep work here. We get to the root cause of what’s going on with people and show them their lives are not over. With the help of Riverside Recovery of Tampa, people with addiction can be happy and laugh and enjoy life again.”
At Riverside Recovery of Tampa, the staff is able to address clients’ needs in creative ways as well, including art
therapy and physical therapy. Unfettered by limiting program restrictions, Riverside Recovery of Tampa can use any treatment modality it sees fit to help improve a client’s physical and mental health.
“I believe that’s what makes us unique,” comments Jackie. “As a clinical team, we’re able to use our budget to truly help people in the most effective and efficient manner possible. Our clinical program gives clients the best opportunity for success. With it, they can truly return to healthy, hopeful, sober lives.

Print This Article