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Alumni Weekend 2019: Food, Fun and Fellowship

Make plans to join us for the annual alumni weekend this September

Continuing an annual tradition, Oxford Treatment Center alumni and their families are invited to a casual weekend of food, fun and fellowship on Sept. 28-29.

For 2019, the main event of the Alumni Weekend will be held at the Old Armory Pavilion, at the corner of University Avenue and Bramlett Boulevard in Oxford. From 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 28, alumni and their families will enjoy outdoor games, live music and speakers. Oxford Treatment Center Executive Chef Moulay Elabdellaoui and his staff will serve a picnic of Southern-style cuisine.

“..it’s important for us to host weekends like this not only for our alumni but also for the people who’ve been their support system.”

Operated by the Yoknapatawpha Arts Council, the pavilion is situated beside Oxford’s community garden and public library. Holding the Alumni Weekend picnic at a family-friendly, community location underscores the important role of families in a person’s recovery from addiction, said Brian Whisenant, Director of Community Relations.

“We say often that addiction is a family disease — but recovery involves the whole family, too,” he said. “That’s why it’s important for us to host weekends like this not only for our alumni but also for the people who’ve been their support system.”

On Sunday, Sept. 29, alumni and their families will have an opportunity to return to Oxford Treatment Center’s main campus at Etta between 1 and 4 p.m. Experiential therapists will be on hand to offer experiences in art, music, yoga and equine therapy that those in recovery took part in while in treatment.

“For our alumni, it’s often meaningful to bring their loved ones back to the place where their recovery began,” Whisenant said. “They’ve come this far in their recovery because of the support of their family and friends. Being able to reflect on how far they have come is truly an exercise in gratitude.”

Registration for Oxford Treatment Center’s 2019 Alumni Weekend will open on Aug. 1.

 

Panel event to discuss mental health and the LGBTQ community

An upcoming forum seeks to overcome barriers surrounding the LGBTQ+ community by seeking to understand common mental-health struggles and addictions.

The Oxford Treatment Center will host LGBTQ+ Mental Health Awareness Forum on Wednesday, May 15, at 6 p.m. The event will be held at the Oxford Outpatient Center at 611 Commerce Parkway. It is free and open to the community.

The forum will feature five speakers:

  • Stacee Reicherzer, a transgender therapist, educator, speaker and writer
  • John Marszalek, a counselor and counselor educator for Walden University
  • Laura Haddock, counselor educator and supervisor for Southern New Hampshire University
  • Kendrick Wallace, University of Mississippi graduate student
  • Kevin Cozart, operations coordinator for the Sarah Isom Center for Women and Gender Studies

Stacee L. Reicherzer, PhD, LPC-S

Dr. Stacee Reicherzer, LCP-S, has been transgender since she graduated high school and has experienced first-hand the mental effects along with physical changes that accompanied the transition. Her clinical work has been within the LGBTQ community, especially with trauma survivors and same-sex couples.

Reicherzer said therapy work among LGBTQ individuals often starts with affirming her clients’ own self-worth.

“There’s a lot of work to be done with healing these old messages that come from being made to feel different,” Reicherzer said. “We’re often told that we’re ‘less than’ or that we’re wrong and combating these messages has been the focus of so much of my professional journey. It’s guided my research, teaching and now public speaking.”

In coming to Oxford, Reicherzer said the opportunity to share such insights with a broader community is what she is most looking forward to.

“This is a panel that’s for the community,” Reicherzer said. “The most inspiring part of my work is bringing people to that ‘aha’ moment when they become alive and aware, hearing these topics they’ve never heard articulated.

“Regardless of whether we identify ourselves as straight or LGBTQ, we don’t often come together and name the problems we’re facing internally. That’s why I think talking about these issues and hearing different perspectives will be so impactful.”

The LGBTQ+ Mental Health Awareness Forum is free, with refreshments provided. Everyone is invited to attend.

The community forum kicks off a two-day continuing education conference at the Oxford Outpatient Center that will offer 9 CE credit hours for professionals in mental health and behavioral healthcare.

Reicherzer will present “Dismantling Barriers to Care for LGBT and Other Oppressed Groups in the South” on Thursday, May 16. Oxford-based therapist Jeannie Falkner, PhD, LCSW, will present “It Starts with Me: The Nuances of Ethical Decision Making” on Friday, May 17.  View complete professional conference details and registration.

Panel event to discuss underage drinking

‘Culture of Alcohol’

Brings together multiple perspectives for awareness session, Oxford Treatment Center is hosting a free community event on the topic of underage drinking and its effects on teens and young adults.

“The Culture of Alcohol: Current Perspectives on Underage Drinking” is set for Tuesday, April 23, from 6 to 7:30 p.m. at the Oxford High School Library.

The event will feature two testimonials followed by a Q&A session with panelists including Jay Hughes, Mississippi House of Representatives and candidate for lieutenant governor; Meg Hayden, nurse at Oxford High School; Dr. Stephen Pannel, medical director at Oxford Treatment Center; Kevin Frye, attorney and candidate for Mississippi State Senate; and Mark Stovall, CAT, CMHT, Chief Operating Officer at Oxford Treatment Center.

These speakers will address how alcohol is shaping the lives of young people ages 12-25 within the Oxford community, said Brian Whisenant, director of community relations at Oxford Treatment Center.

Brian Whisenant, Director of Community Relations at Oxford Treatment Center, hopes this event sparks a conversation about underage drinking within the Oxford community.

“Our goal for this event is to help people see issues surrounding alcohol through a new lens,” Whisenant said.

The program will specifically look at raising awareness about underage drinking and reinforcing efforts to prevent and reduce alcohol use or misuse among adolescents. It was created in support of SAMHSA’s Community’s Talk initiative for town-hall meetings nationwide.

An American Addiction Centers facility, Oxford Treatment Center provides a complete continuum of care for drug and alcohol addiction at two campuses in Lafayette County. While the opioid crisis has gripped the nation’s attention in recent years, many patients at Oxford Treatment Center still cite alcohol as their reason for getting help.

“Compared to illicit drugs, alcohol is a different beast because it’s legal for people over age 21,” Whisenant said. “When it comes to addiction, almost every person who uses drugs used alcohol for the first time in their teens.

“In addition to teenage drinking, we will also be looking at how alcohol affects adolescents when it’s not them but their friends or family members who are abusing it.”

In a small university town, Whisenant said, the issue of drinking among those in middle school and high school is closely tied to the observed behavior of college students.

“High school students look up to college students and want to be just like them,” he said. “When they see college students drinking, they imitate their behavior — without realizing the long-term effects it can have on them.”

Learn more about alcohol abuse: https://www.oxfordtreatment.com/alcohol-abuse/

Spring Continuing Education Lunch and Learn set for March 12

Oxford Treatment professional training continues (March Lunch)

Offering 1.5 free CE credit hours for professionals in mental and behavioral healthcare

Mark Stovall, CAT, CMHT, Chief Operating Officer, Oxford Treatment Center

“Recovery 101: The Basics of Treating Addiction,” part of the 2019 Professional Development Series, is set for Tuesday, March 12, 12–1:30 p.m., at the Oxford Outpatient Center, 611 Commerce Parkway off Highway 7 South.

Mark Stovall, CAT, CMHT, Chief Operating Officer, Oxford Treatment Center, will present.

For this program, Oxford Treatment Center is approved for 1.5 CE credit hours for Social Workers and Counselors. The program is free for professionals, with lunch provided.

Recovery 101: The Basics of Treating Addiction
Continuing Education Lunch and Learn
March 12, 2018 | 12–1:30 p.m
Oxford Outpatient Center
611 Commerce Parkway, Oxford, MS 38655

Register Here

Recovery 101: The Basics of Treating Addiction

1.5 CE Credit Hours for Social Workers and Counselors

The Oxford Treatment Center is approved as a Designated Provider of Social Work Continuing Education hours by the Mississippi Board of Examiners for Social Workers and Marriage & Family Therapists (DP #18002 ). Social workers receive 1.5 CE Credit hours for full attendance/successful completion in this course.

“Recovery 101: The Basics of Treating Addiction” has been approved by NBCC for NBCC credit. Oxford Treatment Center is solely responsible for all aspects of the program. NBCC Approval No. SP-3247.

Upon attending the program and completing a provided evaluation, you will gain access to a presentation-quality certificate of completion containing details about the program. This can be used as proof of completion to obtain CE credits / hours.

PROVIDER CONTACT:

Oxford Treatment Center |611 Commerce Parkway, Oxford, MS 38655 | 662.701.9653
Brian Whisenant bwhisenant@contactaac.com www.oxfordtreatment.com

ADA ACCOMMODATIONS:

If you require special accommodation or support of any kind to attend this event, please contact Brian Whisenant at bwhisenant@contactaac.com

About the program

Be prepared to be a part of something dynamic that will keep you entertained and challenge you to change your perception of Recovery. Clean, Sober, free, Recovered, or Recovering; what does all that mean to my patient? How would a therapist know their patient is headed towards meaningful recovery? In this session, we will break down the phenomenal topic of Recovery from alcohol and substance use disorders.

Recovery is a process of change through which people improve their health and wellness, live self-directed lives, and strive to reach their full potential. Even people with severe and chronic substance use disorders can, with help, overcome their illness and regain health and social function (SAMHSA, 2018). This is very similar to the idea of being in remission from other major diseases. For many individuals, positive changes and values become part of a voluntarily adopted lifestyle. While many people in recovery believe that abstinence from all substance use is a cardinal feature of a recovery lifestyle, others report that handling negative feelings without using substances and living a contributive life are more important parts of their recovery. Most individuals who state they are in recovery will explain that being free from drugs is more than just “not using.” In this training, I will utilize didactic lecture, experiential learning activities, and open discussion to describe multiple aspects of recovery from a substance use disorder and alcohol use disorders.

Objectives:

  1. Participants will recognize that recovery is not a event but a series of measurable changes in functioning consisting of four dimensions: Health, Home, Community, Purpose.
  2. Participants will be able to state 5 reasons for importance of community groups in the recovery process.
  3. Utilize experiential activities to increase understanding of the biological results of long term addiction.
  4. Discuss ways to work with families in the process of recovery.

About the presenter

Mark Stovall, CAT, CMHT

Chief Operating Officer, Oxford Treatment Center

Mark oversees all clinical aspects of Oxford Treatment Center’s programs. He has nearly 20 years experience in the coordination, development and management of inpatient chemical dependency and behavioral health programs. He is the former director of the Bureau of Alcohol and Drug Services for the Mississippi Department of Mental Health (DMH), having also led the department’s divisions of Adolescent Services, Clinical Services and Treatment Services. His efforts at DMH included advancing the use of evidence-based programs in community treatment centers across Mississippi.

Mark holds a Master of Education degree in Community Counseling from Delta State University. He devoted the early part of his career to supporting mental health and addiction recovery in the Mississippi Delta. A Certified Addictions Therapist and Certified Mental Health Therapist, he has presented extensively on dual-diagnosis treatment and on treatment planning at state and regional conferences. He has also served as director of the Mississippi School for Addiction Professionals.

 

Community workshop focuses on finding peace after grief and loss

Free event features sought-after therapists

A free upcoming event will give community members a chance to interact with leading experiential therapists in North Mississippi.

Finding Peace: Accepting Grief and Loss through the Holidays is set for Dec. 4 from 6-8 p.m. at Camp Lake Stephens, 117 Camp Lake Stephens Drive, Oxford, MS.

Register Now

The event is part of the 2018 Community Workshop Series offered by Oxford Treatment Center. The center is also offering a separate grief and loss-themed continuing education program for North Mississippi mental health professionals.

In lieu of a fee for events, the Oxford Treatment Center is accepting donations for the Oxford Christmas Store, sponsored by the Rotary Club of Oxford-Ole Miss. Donations will be collected at each event. View suggested donations.

The community event will include a camp style dinner and s’mores by the fire followed by guided, interactive presentations in experiential therapy.

At Oxford Treatment Center, experiential therapies are often used with patients and families struggling with grief and loss associated with drug and alcohol addiction, said Brian Whisenant, Community Relations Representative for Oxford Treatment Center.

“It’s a big part of our addiction treatment program and how we work with people,” he said. “We are excited to offer a taste of it to the broader community.”

Whisenant said the idea and timing of the event was informed by members of the community.

“For those in the community facing grief and loss, the holidays are especially hard,” Whisenant said.

The event will allow those struggling with grief and loss to learn about experiential therapy and to explore new avenues for finding peace, Whisenant said.

“People who have dealt with grief and loss oftentimes seek counseling,” Whisenant said. “Experiential therapy adds an entirely new dimension, where you are doing, hands-on, immersive work, while also processing the experience.”

Experiential therapists presenting include:

  • Dean Worsham, M.Ed., LPC, LMFT, Oxford Counseling Center
  • Meaghan O’Connor, M.Ed., NCC, CCTP, Oxford Treatment Center
  • Daniel Winkler, LADAC-c, ACCT II-CCM, CET, Oxford Treatment Center

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Also on Dec. 4, O’Connor, Winkler and Worsham are presenters for “Finding Peace: Accepting Grief and Loss through the Holidays,” a continuing education conference for mental-health professionals offering 5 CE hours. It will take place Tuesday, December 4, 9 a.m.–3:30 p.m., at the Oxford Outpatient Center, 611 Commerce Parkway off Highway 7 South.

Both of the programs are free but require advance registration:

CE Conference Details & Registration  |

Community Workshop Registration

For more information, contact Brian Whisenant at (662) 701-9653 or wwhisenant@contactaac.com.

Winter Continuing Education Conference set for December 4

Oxford Treatment professional training continues ( Dec conference)

Offering up to 5 free CE credits for professionals in mental and behavioral healthcare

UPDATE: AS OF NOV. 29, THIS EVENT IS FULL. Register to join the wait list.

“Finding Peace: Accepting Grief and Loss through the Holidays,” part of the 2018 Professional Development Series, is set for Tuesday, December 4, 9 a.m.–3:30 p.m., at the Oxford Outpatient Center, 611 Commerce Parkway off Highway 7 South.

Presenters include:

  • Dean Worsham, M.Ed., LPC, LMFT, Oxford Counseling Center
  • Meaghan O’Connor, M.Ed., NCC, CCTP, Oxford Treatment Center
  • Daniel Winkler, LADAC-c, ACCT II-CCM, CET, Oxford Treatment Center

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For this program, Oxford Treatment Center is approved for 5 CE credit hours for Social Workers, 3.5 CE credit hours for Counselors and 5 CE credit hours for Marriage and Family Therapists. The program is free for professionals, with lunch provided.

In lieu of a fee for this event we are accepting donations for the Oxford Christmas Store, sponsored by the Rotary Club of Oxford-Ole Miss. Donations will be collected at the event. View suggested donations.

Representatives from the Mississippi chapter of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention will be exhibiting at the event.

 

Finding Peace: Accepting Grief and Loss through the Holidays

CONTINUING EDUCATION CONFERENCE

December 4, 2018 | 9 a.m.–3:30 p.m
Oxford Outpatient Center
611 Commerce Parkway, Oxford, MS 38655

**UPDATE: As of Nov. 29, this event is full. Register to join the waitlist.**

Register Here

 


 

 

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Finding Peace: Accepting Grief and Loss through the Holidays

5 CE Hours for Social Workers and Marriage and Family Therapists; 3.5 CE Hours for Counselors

The Oxford Treatment Center is approved as a Designated Provider of Social Work Continuing Education hours by the Mississippi Board of Examiners for Social Workers and Marriage & Family Therapists (DP #18002 ). Social workers receive 5 hours for full attendance/successful completion in this course. Marriage & Family Therapists receive 5 hours for full attendance/successful completion in this course (MS18 -055).

NBCC has approved Counselors to receive 3.5 CE Hours for “Disenfranchised Grief: Recognizing and Honoring Non-Death Loss” and “Self-Care Through Grief” (NBCC Approval Number SP-3176).

Oxford Treatment Center is solely responsible for all aspects of the program.

Upon attending the program and completing a provided evaluation, you will gain access to a presentation-quality certificate of completion containing details about the program. This can be used as proof of completion to obtain CE credits / hours.

PROVIDER CONTACT:

Oxford Treatment Center 662.701.9653
Brian Whisenant wwhisenant@contactaac.com www.oxfordtreatment.com

ADA ACCOMMODATIONS:

If you require special accommodation or support of any kind to attend this event, please contact Brian Whisenant at wwhisenant@contactaac.com.

About the program

Retaining Peace through Grief – The Power of Metaphor – Daniel Winkler B.S. LPSS, CCTS, CET (approved for SW and MFT)

(9:00AM – 10:30AM)

When we as a people are bonded by Grief, Loss and unhealthy ways, we tend to cover up who we are authentically. This is what we will learn together during the moments in this session. A way to see again what “Creation” truly meant before the woundedness. An opportunity to share in like mind and an opportunity to heal.

We once believed life centered on our relationship with the Creator of Life. I want to reaffirm that it still does. That life is not predicated on how well we can speak our language, or sing our songs, or practice our ceremonies. It is predicated on our personal relationship with the Giver and Sustainer of Life and all life-giving things.

  • Objective # 1 -Explore diverse cultural perspectives of grief and loss.
  • Objective #2 – Present and review the holistic, traditional, strength/ evidence-based treatments for Grief and Loss. This is trauma informed — small traumas & big traumas, that can lead to relapse or continued unhealthy behaviors.
  • Objective #3 – Examine the power of metaphor in healing and healthy growth practice.

 

Break 10:30AM – 10:45AM         

 

Disenfranchised Grief: Recognizing and Honoring Non-Death Loss – Meaghan O’Connor, M.Ed, NCC, CCTP (approved for SW, Counselors and MFT)

(10:45AM – 12:15PM)

As clinicians we prepare ourselves for sitting with clients dealing with the death of a loved one, but loss comes in many forms. This portion of the program will focus on disenfranchised grief and loss not commonly recognized or accepted within societal norms. We will explore how to “enfranchise” our clients and assist them in honoring their grief events through empathy, education, and empowerment.

  • Objective #1 – Describe and identify instances of disenfranchised grief.
  • Objective #2- Participants will acquire strategies for assessing and processing disenfranchised grief.
  • Objective #3 – Explore personal experiences with disenfranchised grief and unresolved loss.

 

Lunch – 12:15PM – 1:15PM

 

Self-Care Through Grief – Dean Worsham, LMFT, LPC-S (approved for SW, Counselors and MFT) 

(1:15 – 3:30 with break)

My presentation will focus on coping with grief and loss through sound therapy and mindfulness meditation. The objective is to explore skills and cultivate a deeper understanding that could be beneficial to the grieving family member, friend and healthcare professional. Our goal is to look at facing suffering and loss and not run or hide from it. This takes a lot of courage and strength that I believe we all possess. I believe sound therapy and mindfulness meditation allows us to summon our courage and open our heart to compassion for others and ourselves.

  • Objective #1 -Identify and Integrate tools of self-care for those experiencing grief.
  • Objective #2 -Construct a narrative around loss which reduces grief and loss. Celebrating the loss through stories and ritual that allows us to remember with more balance and not just grief and sadness.
  • Objective #3 – Explore facing our own thoughts around death and loss.

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About the presenters

Meaghan O’Connor, M.Ed., NCC, CCTP

Daniel Winkler, LADAC-c, ACCT II-CCM, CET

Dean Worsham, M.Ed., LPC, LMFT

 

Meaghan O’Connor, M.Ed., NCC, CCTP, is an Experiential Therapist at the Oxford Treatment Center. Meaghan’s role at Oxford Treatment Center includes leading groups for mindfulness, meditation and therapeutic recreation, as well as groups focused on self worth and life skills. Her previous counseling experience includes working with academically at-risk students at the University of Mississippi. A native of Chicago, Meaghan earned holds a bachelor of arts in education degree and a master of education degrees in clinical mental health counseling, both from the University of Mississippi. She is a certified meditation teacher and a Certified Clinical Trauma Professional through the International Association of Trauma Professionals.

Daniel Winkler, LADAC-c, ACCT II-CCM, CET, is an Experiential Therapist at the Oxford Treatment Center. Daniel works with clients on the residential campus at Etta and those on the Resolutions campus in Oxford. His training through the Native Wellness Institute has included helping individuals work through past trauma. He has worked with both children and adults over the course of his career as a Certified Experiential Therapist (CET) using wilderness and adventure techniques. He holds a degree from Appalachian State University and is certified in Challenge Course Management (ACCT II-CCM), in addition to being a Licensed Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counselor (LADAC). He is also a certified Wilderness First Responder.

Dean Worsham, M.Ed., LPC, LMFT,is a Therapist at the Oxford Counseling Center. Dean is a Licensed Professional Counselor and Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. He is a Board Qualified Supervisor for both licenses. Dean became a Gong Master in 2014. Dean served on the Mississippi Board of Examiners for Social Workers and Marriage and Family Therapists for eight years. He also worked at The University of Mississippi Counseling Center for 16 years. Dean is in the process of acquiring EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing) Certification.

 

Continuing Education Conference set for September 20

Oxford Treatment Center’s professional training continues with our September program — offering up to 6 free CE credits for professionals in mental and behavioral healthcare

 

“Helping the Rescuers: A Training on Treating First Responders,” part of the 2018 Professional Development Series, is set for Thursday, September 20, from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., at the Oxford Outpatient Center, 611 Commerce Parkway off Highway 7 South. It will be presented by Suzy Bird Gulliver, Ph.D., Founder and Director, Warriors Research Institute at Baylor Scott & White Health; Professor, Texas A&M Health Science Center.

This program will cover fireservice culture, the existing evidence regarding incidence and prevalence of mental health conditions in this population and the evidence base regarding treatments that work.

For this program, Oxford Treatment Center has been approved for 4.5 general hours and 1.5 cultural competency hours with the Mississippi Board of Examiners for Social Workers and Marriage & Family Therapists and 6 general hours with the National Board of Certified Counselors. It is free for professionals, with lunch provided.

 

 

Register Download Brochure

Helping the Rescuers: A Training on Treating First Responders

Program title: PTSD and Co-occurring disorders in Fire Fighter Culture: What Clinicians Need to Help the Helpers

This program will cover fire service culture, the existing evidence regarding incidence and prevalence of mental health conditions in this population and the evidence base regarding treatments that work. Participants will have ample opportunity for skills acquisition and practice, as numerous active learning techniques are applied over the course of the training day.

Learning Objectives:

  • Review the scientific and clinically based knowledge base regarding fire service culture.
  • Present and review the literature regarding evidence-based treatments for PTSD and SUD with pros and cons of each approach interactively debated.
  • Discuss the perils and pitfalls as well as success stories from initial clinical meetings with video clips to facilitate discussion. Then, students will engage in role-plays of initial meetings.
  • Self-assess whether the participants’ organizations and individual practice styles can accommodate emergency responder culture.

 

 

About Dr. Gulliver

 

Dr. Gulliver is a licensed clinical psychologist and clinical researcher. Currently, she serves as Director and Chief of the Warriors Research Institute and as a Professor at the Texas A&M Health Science Center.

Dr. Gulliver attended Quinnipiac College for her Bachelor of Science degree in Psychobiology, followed by a Master’s degree in Clinical Psychology at Connecticut College. After completing her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology at the University of Vermont, Dr. Gulliver went on to work as a National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism-funded Postdoctoral Fellow at Brown University and later spent 12 years in a variety of roles at the VA Boston Healthcare System including Associate Director of Outpatient Mental Health Programs.

 

In 2007, Dr. Gulliver became the Director of the VA VISN 17 Center of Excellence in Waco, Texas before founding the Warriors Research Institute (WRI) within Baylor Scott  & White Health in 2013. Dr. Gulliver’s research interests and publications address mental health among military veterans and emergency responders.

Suzy Bird Gulliver, Ph.D.

 

 

Alumni return for Anniversary Weekend

Events an opportunity to reconnect, reflect

David O. wanted his wife to see the beautiful place where he got clean. He wanted to see the staff again, and to reflect on how much life had changed in the past six months. But the sweetest reunion of all was with a 10-year-old buckskin mare named Irene.

“This horse touched my heart,” said David, who credits equine therapy with giving him a new perspective on recovery.

A recovering heroin addict, he made a 700-mile trip from his home state to take part in Oxford Treatment Center’s 2018 Anniversary Weekend on June 2. The day included alumni speakers, experiential therapy demonstrations and a celebratory dinner.

David said returning for the event was a natural choice — given he’d been willing to go many more miles in pursuit of drugs.

“This place saved my life,” he said. “It helped me save my life.”

 

Equine therapist Marty Murray leads a demonstration.

At Oxford Treatment Center, experiential work like equine therapy is used alongside traditional talk therapy and physician-directed medication.

Addiction is a disease that affects the brain and body. It’s woven deeply into a person’s life patterns and relationships, and often rooted in past pain or trauma. That’s why effective treatment takes a long-term approach, and addresses addiction in a multi-faceted way.

For David, the first a-ha moment of his recovery journey came through equine therapy. During his time in treatment, Irene was the horse he rode, brushed and cared for. His time in the saddle became a metaphor for letting go and accepting the direction he was being given for recovery.

“When I would try to control her, she wouldn’t let me,” he said. “When I finally stopped trying, she just followed the right way, and I could relax. That has become instrumental in my life.”

For Patrick E., his time on the Etta campus was an opportunity to remove the blinders that kept him blaming everything and everybody else.

“We’ve all been down the path of destruction before,” said Patrick, who spoke to fellow alumni in the meeting room overlooking the center’s private lake.

“I joked around while I was here in treatment and took nothing seriously at first,” he said. “I didn’t know who I was; I just knew I didn’t want to use drugs anymore. What I learned here is that I had a lot more to work on. I blamed everything else, when the real issue was inside me.”

Stacy T., who has been sober more than three years, said she also came to Oxford Treatment Center reluctantly when her alcoholism became unmanageable.

“Something happened while I was here,” she said. “At first I didn’t want to do the work, but I started to become open-minded and willing. I realized had no idea who I was or what I was running from. I was a broken human being. Thank goodness for Oxford Treatment Center, because this is where recovery began for me.”

After an afternoon at the Etta campus, alumni and staff gathered for a plated dinner with live music at the Powerhouse Community Arts Center in Oxford. It was catered by A&N Catering, led by the owners of GRIT Restaurant in Taylor. Ricky Burkhead and Damien Wash performed as Us, The Duo.

The event included awards honoring Billy Young, co-founder and outgoing CEO of Oxford Treatment Center; and the late Bethany Morse, an Oxford Treatment Center alum. Before her death in February, Morse spent her years in recovery as a public advocate for those suffering from addiction and their families.

Kyle Donnelly speaks at the 2018 Anniversary Weekend.

At the Powerhouse, speaker Kyle Donnelly shared his story of recovering from heroin addiction after many stints in treatment and run-ins with the law.

“I wanted to quit so bad, but it was like catching smoke,” he said.  “I had tried 12-step programs. I held your hands, I said your prayers, I read your books. I smoked and drank coffee after the meetings — and then I’d still stick a needle in my arm.”

Five years now into recovery, Donnelly is now a treatment consultant for American Addiction Centers in Richmond, Va. What ultimately made the difference for him was taking the direction of his treatment team for where he should go after treatment. They recommended a stay at a sober living facility rather than going out again on his own.
Today, he said, he often speaks to encourage others in recovery.

“I used to walk into a room like this and think about what I could get from you all; now I think about what I can give,” he said.

“What used to be a liability for me is now an asset. Through my experience, I can be of help to someone else.”

Connecting nature to mental wellness

Experiential therapists present at regional conference

Meaghan O’Connor, M.Ed., NCC, CCTP

Oxford Treatment Center experiential therapists Katherine Westfall, MSW, and Meaghan O’Connor, M.Ed., NCC, CCTP, shared insights from their work with patients in addiction treatment recently at a conference for outdoor education professionals and students.

The Arkansas Regional Adventure Programming Conference was held April 20-22 at Horseshoe Canyon Ranch in Jasper, Arkansas. Westfall and O’Connor presented I Bend So I Do Not Break: Connecting Nature and Mental Wellness.

“We know that physiologically when you spend time in nature, it naturally lowers your cortisone levels — the stress hormone,” said Westfall, a wilderness therapist at Oxford Treatment Center. “As anxiety melts away, being in nature is a chance to just be who you are and be fully present in the moment.”

The practice of focusing on what you are seeing, hearing and experiencing, instead of the whirling fears and worries inside your mind, is known as mindfulness. It is often used today as a tool to prevent relapse in recovery from addiction.

O’Connor leads mindfulness and meditation groups at Oxford Treatment Center. She is also a Certified Clinical Trauma Professional through the International Association of Trauma Professionals.

Westfall holds a master’s degree in social work in addition to being a Wilderness First Responder and Challenge Course Facilitator. She works with young adults at Oxford Treatment Center, leading camping, canoeing and other recreational therapies.

Katherine Westfall, MSW

In the conference presentation, the two therapists shared perspectives on how interacting with nature affects people biologically, physiologically, emotionally and interpersonally. They also offered practical ways that even non-therapeutic outdoor programs, such as those on college campuses, can integrate wilderness therapy and mindfulness concepts into their programs.

As a field, wilderness therapy traces its roots to Outward Bound adventure programs developed more than half a century ago. Its application in therapy, particularly for troubled adolescents, took off in the 1990s.

Westfall said the use of wilderness therapy in substance abuse prevention and treatment is still new and evolving. “It’s exciting for us to be part of building new programs and advancing this field,” she said.

Learn more: 5 Ways Wilderness Therapy Aids Recovery

ARAP Conference photos by Damon Akin/University of Arkansas

 

 

Continuing Education Lunch and Learn set for July 31

Oxford Treatment Center is expanding its professional training

Offerings to provide Continuing Education credits for regional professionals in mental and behavioral healthcare.

“Establishing the Therapeutic Contract,” part of the 2018 Professional Development Series, is set for Tuesday, July 31, from noon to 1:30 p.m., at the Oxford Outpatient Center, 611 Commerce Parkway off Highway 7 South. It will be presented by Jeannie Falkner, Ph.D., LCSW, Professor of Clinical Mental Health Counseling at Walden University. This 1.5-hour seminar will introduce participants to a model for establishing the therapeutic contract.

For this program, Oxford Treatment Center has applied for 1.5 continuing education hours with the Mississippi Board of Examiners for Social Workers and Marriage & Family Therapists and the National Board of Certified Counselors. It is free for professionals, with lunch provided.
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Establishing the Therapeutic Contract

This one-hour seminar will introduce participants to a model for establishing the therapeutic contract. Often counselors and social workers begin the process without the client’s clearly defined goal for change. The contract is the client’s commitment with the help of the therapist to change feelings or behavior or both. A contract must be clear, concise, and direct. Negotiating the contract requires careful attention both to the client’s language and nonverbal communication and an awareness of the client’s willingness to participate in an authentic contract for change.

Learning Objectives:

 

  • Participant will be able to delineate between “contact, contract, and con” when establishing a counseling contract.
  • Participant will be able to identify a clear and concise contract in which client the client is willing to accept responsibility for change.
  • Participants will categorize three impasses which impede the establishment of the contract.

 

About Jeannie Falkner

 

Jeannie Falkner has more than 30 years of clinical experience in mental health services to individuals, couples, children, and groups in private practice in Dallas, TX, Greenwood, MS, and now Oxford, MS. Dr. Falkner holds an MSSW in Clinical Social Work from the University of Texas at Arlington, TX and a PhD in Counselor Education and Supervision from the University of Mississippi. Her clinical expertise is in Redecision Therapy and group counseling. Dr. Falkner is a frequent presenter for regional and national professional associations including an invited keynote address for the Louisiana Group Psychotherapy Association.

Dr. Falkner joined Walden University in 2010 in the Clinical Mental Health Counseling Program. Prior to joining the faculty at Walden, Dr. Falkner was a tenured Associate Professor at Delta State University in Cleveland, MS. Dr. Falkner is a Licensed Certified Social Worker (LCSW) MS and an Approved LCSW Supervisor. Dr. Falkner is a member of the American Counseling Association (ACA), the Association of Counselor Education and Supervision (ACES), the Association for Specialists in Group Work (ASGW) and Chi Sigma Iota Counseling Honor Society. Dr. Falkner’s research interests and publications address counselor self-care and wellness, including financial wellness, group process and dynamics, counseling bi-racial youth and teens, and counseling LGBTQ individuals.

Jeannie Falkner, Ph.D., LCSW