Treatment at CMC is evidence-based. We rely on treatment approaches that have been tested in controlled research studies over many years and found to be the most effective ways of working with substance use problems. In other words, we take our direction from science and do what works. CMC founders Dr. Jeffrey Foote and Dr. Carrie Wilkens have worked on federally funded research and have run some of the largest traditional programs in New York City. Through this combined experience they saw the need for evidence-based treatment, and the lack of places to get it. They opened CMC in 2003 to meet this need. Since then, the treatment field as a whole, along with healthcare policy and insurance requirements, has started to come around to evidence-based practices. CMC is committed to staying on the cutting edge.
The approaches we use are: a) motivational, to enable each client to figure out what changes are important to him or her personally, so that these changes can be sustained in the long run and b) cognitive-behavioral, to help each client identify real-world risks and stressors and target specific behavioral change, while developing a more fulfilling life. Our treatment is practical, problem focused, active, results oriented, and very supportive. We help clients monitor their progress by tracking their goals and readjusting their strategies and goals as needed. Treatment at CMC is non-shaming and promotes positive self-esteem, hope, and empowerment rather than the concept of a disease that will never go away—a potentially demoralizing idea that is not supported by the evidence.
In contrast to most addiction treatment, treatment at CMC is not based on a twelve-step philosophy. The twelve-step approach helps some people, but there is no evidence that it is the only way for people to make real and long-lasting changes. Other people find aspects of the twelve-step approach unhelpful, especially the imperatives to “surrender” and concede that “you are powerless,” to accept that “you have a disease for life,” or to call upon a “higher power.” At CMC we don’t tell people to get with “the program,” we help them design a program that will work for them.
Some of the clearest evidence we have concerning addictive behaviors is that people change in many, many different ways, along different paths, and that confining a person to only one option is most likely to block them from making positive change. Providing people with options for change lets them choose the changes they want and the way they want to make them, and to personally endorse the changes they make.