Introducing CARS' New Outpatient Program Director
Dear Community Partners,
I am pleased to inform you, as community partners, that Eleni Murdough, MS, CASAC-2, has been named Outpatient Program Director at CARS’ Outpatient Center in Ithaca. Eleni assumed her new role, transitioning from her previous position as Assistant Clinical Supervisor at CARS’ Residential Addiction Recovery Center in Trumansburg, on Tuesday, January 21st. A brief bio from Eleni appears below:
Eleni began her career at CARS in 2015 as a Primary Addiction Counselor. Eleni has worked at both the RARC and Outpatient Center as a Primary Addiction Counselor and most recently worked at the RARC in a clinical leadership position as the Assistant Clinical Supervisor.
Eleni discovered her passion for service early on in her career, volunteering with the Suicide Prevention Center, the Nutrition Clinic, and Loaves and Fishes. This early introduction to services needed for individuals with mental health and substance abuse disorders shaped the trajectory of her career. She went on to earn a Bachelor of Science in Justice and Policy Studies & Psychology from Guilford College in Greensboro, North Carolina and a Master of Science in Forensic Psychology from Walden University. She received her CASAC in 2017.
Prior to working at CARS, Eleni worked at the Southern Tier Aids Program as a Criminal Justice Initiative Coordinator, bringing HIV awareness curriculum into five prisons in the Upstate New York area. Before moving back to Ithaca, Eleni worked for a few years as a Corrections Officer in Greensboro, North Carolina, as she felt it was important to see the criminal justice system from the inside. That experience increased Eleni’s enthusiasm for programs that strive to rehabilitate rather than incarcerate people as a result of their drug and alcohol abuse.
Eleni is excited to return to the outpatient clinic as the Outpatient Program Director where she will continue to work with a dedicated team of colleagues to ensure people in need of substance abuse treatment are given the highest quality of care.
Eleni can be reached at CARS’ Outpatient Center at 607-391-1023 or email@example.com.
Brad Walworth, MDiv
New at CARS: Introducing Enhanced Outpatient Services and the A New Direction Curriculum
I am pleased to inform you, as community partners, that as of Monday, September 17th, CARS Outpatient will be raising the quality bar of its group counseling sessions by launching Enhanced Outpatient Services (EOS). Through our Enhanced Outpatient Services, we will expand the total number of distinct counseling groups we offer to 15, including 8 completely new groups, spread over 23 scheduled weekly sessions. These groups will utilize our new A New Direction Manualized Treatment Curriculum. The final day for Outpatient Rehabilitation (OPR) will be Friday, September 14th.
Why we are launching Enhanced Outpatient Services and dissolving Outpatient Rehabilitation
With our new Enhanced Outpatient Services, clients will be able to utilize as many groups as necessary to maintain structure and stability to support their needs. CARS will enroll clients in groups that fit their treatment plan goals. Though only one group is billable per day, clients will now have access to multiple groups daily based on their needs. Our Enhanced Outpatient Services weekly counseling schedule will include the following groups: Intake & Orientation, Early Recovery, Freedom Thinking, Exploring Trauma (Women’s Trauma Group), Building Resilience (Men’s Trauma Group), Anger Management, Health in Recovery, Mindfulness, Healthy Relationships (Women), Healthy Relationships (Men), Life Skills, Seeking Safety, Parenting Skills Group, Dual Recovery, and Matrix Relapse Prevention. Many of our groups will be offered twice weekly to better facilitate client access. These groups will be delivered through the evidence-based A New Direction curriculum. Should clients need a higher level of care, they would be offered referral according to their needs.
We found that Outpatient Rehabilitation was not being utilized in a way that best met the client’s needs. In other words, clients were not attending due to definitive commitment. As such, agency resources were being deployed in a manner that did not best serve clients’ needs. A more flexible and time-based program promises to provide clients with an outlook of what their treatment episode will be; from the beginning. Consequently, clients should respond in a manner that includes compliance with recommendations and higher levels of engagement. Thus, better patient outcomes.
Three significant benefits CARS’ clients will experience from Enhanced Outpatient Services include: expanded group offerings, more schedule flexibility, and a higher level of personal support. To begin, Enhanced Outpatient Services will provide clients with access to a wider array of group offerings. In addition to groups migrating from the Outpatient Rehabilitation curriculum, we are introducing 8 completely new counseling groups. With our expanded group schedule, CARS’ clients will now have access to 15 distinct counseling groups spread over 23 scheduled sessions weekly. Secondly, Enhanced Outpatient Services will enable clients to attend outside appointments as the result of a more flexible, client focused group schedule. As an example, Tuesday and Thursday evening groups, previously beginning at 4:45pm, will begin at 5:15pm, offering easier access to working clients. Finally, Enhanced Outpatient Services will allow agency resources to be deployed in a way that provides a higher level of support for our high risk/needs clients.
Why we are choosing to utilize the A New Direction curriculum
Our new A New Direction curriculum, developed and revised by Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation, is a comprehensive, cognitive-behavioral treatment curriculum for those with substance use disorder. This curriculum will help both mandated and non-mandated clients challenge their thinking in order to change their criminal and addictive behavior patterns.
A 4-person work group, led by CARS Outpatient Clinical Supervisor Erica Cotraccia, MS, CASAC, put considerable time and energy into determining how best to optimize OP clients’ treatment programs and maximize client transformation. This work group’s conclusion was for CARS OP to commit significant resources for the excellent A New Direction curriculum.
This is not CARS’ first experience with A New Direction. We introduced this curriculum at CARS’ RARC in mid-2018 and have received enthusiastic response from both clients and Primary Addiction Counselors. Sound research backs these findings. According to the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation website, The Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH), Division of Behavioral Sciences, conducted a study with clients admitted from November 2008 through December 2009 utilizing the A New Direction. curriculum. The IDPH found: 95.7% of follow-up interviewees who had been successfully discharged (competed the entire program) were abstinent; 97.9% had not been arrested; and 53.2% were working full or part time at follow up.
We look forward to kicking off our exciting new Enhanced Outpatient Services and the A New Direction curriculum on Monday, September 17th! Please direct questions related to this transition to Justin Lynady, OP Program Director. He can be reached at 607-391-1023 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Brad Walworth, MDiv
Cayuga Addiction Recovery Services