• Continuing care groups: long term treatment of substance use disorders

      Foote, Olivia; Renes, Susan L.; Cook, Christine R.; Henze-Nelson, Brenda (2014)
      Substance use disorders are chronic diseases that affect individuals, families, and communities. These illnesses frequently require several courses of treatment to achieve abstinence. Inpatient chemical dependency treatment, followed by continuing care, increases abstinence rates regardless of the interventions used within the continuing care program. The largest barrier to successful continuing care programs appears to be patients' attendance and participation. This project aims to create a continuing care program that focuses on increasing patients' attendance adherence in order to support them through their first year of recovery.
    • Equine assisted therapy: supporting treatment for substance use disorders in Alaska

      Gelvin-Smith, Claire; Renes, Susan; Gifford, Valerie; Jonaitis, Aldona (2017-04)
      The State of Alaska demonstrates exceedingly high rates of interpersonal violence, child neglect, depression, and drug related arrests when compared with national rates. Substance use disorder is often linked with instances of interpersonal violence, child neglect, depression and judicial consequences. An equine assisted therapy program could provide support for the treatment of substance use disorders in Alaska. This project asks one basic question, "What benefits could an equine assisted therapy program provide for individuals in a level II, Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP) in interior Alaska?" Currently, no residential or level II treatment programs for substance use disorder in Alaska offer equine assisted therapy. Examples of successful equine assisted therapy programs in the contiguous United States are presented as models for an equine assisted therapy program in Alaska. Resiliency theory is introduced as a theoretical framework that balances goals and objectives of both level II substance use treatment and equine assisted therapy. Participants might experience benefits from an equine assisted therapy group related to immediate feedback, opportunities for learning, opportunities for trust-building, healthy relationships, learning new ways of dealing with trauma, relationships, confronting fears, and effectively working through new challenges.
    • Examining the feasibility of implementing a matrix model intensive outpatient program in a remote Alaskan setting

      Ponziano, Frank; Gifford, Valerie; Renes, Susan; McMorrow, Samantha (2015)
      Significance: The Matrix Model is possibly the only evidenced-based, intensive outpatient approach for addiction that has been shown to be effective at treating addiction. However, the model has not been evaluated for its effectiveness in remote Alaskan settings, such as Fairbanks, Alaska. Specific Aim: This study examined the feasibility of the Matrix Model compared to Treatment as Usual (TAU) in Fairbanks, Alaska. TAU is defined as any other outpatient substance abuse treatment (SAT) other than Matrix Model treatment program. The model's philosophy will be examined, and a method for determining its feasibility for implementation in Fairbanks, Alaska, will be outlined. This project will provide a method for an agency to examine their readiness and philosophical compatibility for the Matrix Model. This research intends to explore contextual variables, such as environment, culture, policy, participant barriers, funding, and organizational philosophy. Methods: This study has reviewed the literature regarding evidence-based, intensive outpatient programs, other treatment philosophies, and the contextual variables that affect program implementation in the literature. Moreover, this study provides an analysis of the Matrix Model versus TAU to help guide a Fairbanks agency considering Matrix Model Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP). IOP is a 12 to 16 week intensive outpatient SAT that meets for 9 or more hours per week that integrates individual, family, and group counseling along with weekly drugs screens. Implications: This project aims to contribute to the body of knowledge regarding the Matrix Models effectiveness compared to TAU in remote Alaskan settings.
    • Integrating family systems into substance use treatment

      Burke, Danielle M.; Renes, Susan; Gifford, Valerie; Wilson, Hilary (2016)
      It is important to understand the powerful influence of loved ones in the recovery process. This influence can help encourage substance users to receive treatment, help them remain engaged in treatment, and allow those being treated to receive understanding from their loved ones they might not have received without this treatment component. Providing effective substance use treatment to families should take different aspects into consideration, including family dynamics, cultural aspects, and using the best treatment methods available. Treatment providers may not know how to incorporate social supports into specific treatment interventions. Providing information to providers and describing how to incorporate friends and family into an individual's treatment may enhance many substance use disorder treatment programs.
    • The Northwest Arctic institute: an indigenous approach to prevention

      Peter, Evon; Wexler, Lisa; Ramos, Judith; Leonard, Beth (2016-05)
      This paper will cover concepts of leadership in Indigenous contexts, Indigenous community development strategies, and Indigenous community healing and wellness, as they apply to the history and framework of the Northwest Arctic Institute (NWAI) program. The NWAI is a weeklong culturally based prevention program designed for Alaska Native peoples. The program incorporates Indigenous knowledge and pedagogy into the sharing of core teachings about resilience, adaptation, and cultural identity. It covers the impacts of rapid social, cultural, and political changes on the lives of Alaska Native peoples. The NWAI is for adults interested in furthering their own personal healing and in working on wellness within their families and communities. This paper explains an Indigenous approach to healing and the theoretical framework for supporting community level capacity building models among Alaska Native peoples. The paper also describes the NWAI planning process and methodology. In addition to the paper, which will meet completion requirements for the Masters in Rural Development at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, I will co-produce a documentary film on the NWAI to share our experience with the intention of raising awareness, fostering conversation, and inspiring others to action. The analysis and descriptions are based on the my life experience as an Alaska Native leader. I have served Indigenous communities for twenty years in roles spanning ten unique capacities, including education administrator, tribal administrator, tribal chief, national tribal non-profit executive director, for-profit Alaska Native owned corporate chief executive officer, tribal renewable energy manager, tribal wellness manager, and as a board member to regional, national, and international Indigenous organizations. The theoretical framework for leadership selection is derived from my work in developing, planning, and leading facilitation of the Northwest Arctic Institute, which was based on Indigenous youth leadership development and prevention experience at the local, national, and international levels. This history is covered within the Introduction and Program History sections.
    • Uncovering and enhancing motivation in a residential substance abuse treatment setting

      Morris, Alexandria V.; Renes, Susan; Gifford, Valerie; McMorrow, Samantha (2015)
      This project addresses how to enhance motivation in a residential substance abuse setting in order to encourage completion of treatment. This project discusses contingency management, music therapy, family therapy, and motivational interviewing and how they enhance motivation. Contingency management and music therapy were both found to be helpful in increasing motivation in residential settings. Family therapy was also found to increase motivation, but at smaller levels. Motivational interviewing, which is used by many therapists, also enhances motivation in a consumer and is considered an evidenced based practice. The project provides a motivational curriculum for use in a six-week residential treatment program. The curriculum incorporates all four areas found in the literature that can be used to enhance motivation and to uncover motivation and help to engage consumers in treatment.
    • Urge surfing for acute and post-acute recovery populations

      Todhunter, Max David; Gifford, Valerie; Sandberg, Patricia; Dahl, Heather (2017-05)
      Mindfulness-Based Relapse Prevention urge surfing is an intervention that promotes distress tolerance through acceptance of and non-reactivity to urges and cravings. While the urge surfing intervention is effective with participants in out-patient and early recovery settings, for which it was designed, there is no research literature related to its efficacy for clients receiving higher level of care services during early abstinence and recovery. Clients undergoing residential treatment for substance use concerns are likely to experience difficulty with a cognition based approach such as urge surfing, due to cognitive dysfunction related to post-acute withdrawal in early recovery. A modification of the urge surfing intervention that replaces an abstract cognition dependent visualization with a focus on immediate and concrete somatic distress creates the potential of making it useful for populations in early recovery.