Welcome to Liz Winchell, Admissions Director
New admissions director brings years of experience with addiction and recovery
Our new admissions director, Liz Winchell, has 21 years in the counseling field.
Q. Liz, please talk about changing roles at MBRC.
A. I had been helping Joan with admissions when I was a counselor here and then I decided to become licensed as a marriage and family therapist. I went back to school and also moved into this role fulltime. Not only is it rewarding in itself, but the assessment part of the admissions process has been very helpful in my course of study. Bringing people in is the first contact you have with clients as a marriage and family therapist, so my role as admissions director is teaching me so much about making those connections very quickly.
Q. Can you say more about that?
A. When someone calls wanting to be admitted, you only have a minute or so to make a connection and create a safe space for him or her. There’s so much fear, perhaps even a fear of rejection. They may be calling while under the influence, or while they’re coming down, or it may be a distraught family member calling. On every call I feel like I’m beginning to build a relationship that will allow a person to get the help that he or she needs.
Q. How has the treatment paradigm changed since you were in treatment?
A. On May 5th I’ll have 20 years in recovery. My first attempt to try and get sober was at age 17. At the time, the experts thought that all you had to do to get sober was to learn how not to drink or use drugs one day at a time, and then when you were sober, you could work on any deeper issues you might have. They didn’t think you had to go into family of origin or trauma issues, or depression. When you’d been sober for awhile, you could start working on those issues with a professional.
The problem was that none of us could stay sober for long. What we’ve learned in the last 15 or 20 years has changed the face of recovery. Before the 1960’s, alcoholism was thought to be untreatable. John Bradshaw, Pia Mellody and Claudia Black were the first to begin looking at the benefits of incorporating psychotherapy with addiction treatment and interweaving it from the beginning.
Also, if you have other addictions, such as drugs, alcohol and relationship issues or eating disorders, if you don’t deal with everything all at once, you’re guaranteeing relapse. Addiction is a coping mechanism that shields us from feelings we don’t want to experience. The newer approach is based on identifying and containing the co-occurring disorders and interweaving psychological help with self-care principles like those offered at MBRC.
Q. What components of the MBRC program are you referring to?
A. Healthy eating, without hypoglycemic foods, and mindfulness and the ability to be in the moment that you get from practicing yoga, for example. These are state of the art concepts. Everything in the program is designed to rid the body of chemicals that are depleted during addiction, and we’ve found that the approach works.