Gateway Foundation’s ASPIRE Program Achieves Top, Dual Diagnosis Rating

Chicago Independence _Preferred

Gateway is proud to announce the ASPIRE program at Chicago Independence is the first in Illinois to be certified as a Dual Diagnosis Enhanced (DDE) site. This means ASPIRE is now officially able to treat co-occurring mental health and substance use disorders. ASPIRE is the only women’s program that has met the DDE standard, as determined by an independent rater, and one of the only women’s programs American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) deems appropriate for clients who have severe or unstable mental health disorders and need residential treatment.

The ability to treat substance use and mental health disorders is extremely important, as 80 percent of individuals with mental health disorders, such as depression and anxiety, also have substance use disorders. In order for a person to have the greatest chance of a successful outcome, both aspects must be treated. When either disorder goes untreated, the probability of relapse is much higher.

In order to ensure the staff is thoroughly prepared for treating clients with substance use and co-occurring mental health disorders, Gateway hired employees who established many techniques to develop a training program to spread the knowledge. Ensuring the staff is properly prepared to treat both disorders allows for patients to have the best chance at lifelong recovery.

What is ASPIRE?

The ASPIRE program was first implemented six years ago and provides evidence-based treatment for women suffering from substance use disorders and co-occurring mental health conditions. While addiction does not discriminate based on gender, addiction has often been painted as a male issue. In reality, millions of women in the United States are also battling addiction. A program like ASPIRE helps bridge the gender gap of addiction while still ensuring women receive a tailored, personalized treatment plan for their individual needs.

“The program gives women everything that exists in the best non-gender specific programs, with the added benefit of women-specific programming that addresses how gender roles impact substance use disorders and related co-morbid conditions, such as trauma,” says Chicago Independence Clinical Director Gilbert Lichstein. “The program is a safe space where participants are not addressed in a confrontational manner or judged.”

ASPIRE is one of many Gateway initiatives that demonstrates our commitment to treating not only substance use disorders but the underlying causes of addiction.

Gateway Foundation Professionals Refine Gender-Specific Expertise

As part of Gateway Foundation’s commitment to providing individuals effective treatment tailored to specific needs, Gateway Foundation Alcohol & Drug Treatment recognizes the benefits of using evidence-based gender-specific therapies in treating substance abuse. To further the expertise of professionals who specialize in treating women with drug alcohol abuse issues, Gateway Foundation partnered with leading expert in women’s treatment, Dr. Stephanie S. Covington, to lead a two-day intensive training in Chicago.

Pictured: Dr. Stephanie S. Covington and Gateway Foundation Alcohol & Drug Treatment Clinical Director Dr. Phil Welches

Dr. Covington is a nationally recognized clinician, author, and organizational consultant. She has developed an innovative, gender-responsive and trauma-informed approach to the treatment needs of women and girls that results in effective services in public and private settings.

Dr. Covington guided 36 Gateway Foundation counselors and program managers through various approaches featured in her curricula on April 19-20, 2012 at The Adler School of Psychiatry in Chicago. The training focused on gender-sensitive addiction treatment for women covered in Dr. Covington’s curricula, which addressed: sense of self, relationships, sexuality, spirituality, trauma-related issues and a woman’s way through the 12 steps.

“The training was especially worthwhile for Gateway Foundation’s clinical team since we use Dr. Stephanie Covington’s curricula in all of our residential programs that provide addiction treatment for women. Our substance abuse treatment professionals had the opportunity to hone in on more complex approaches to enhance their gender-specific expertise and ask Dr. Covington questions related to their on-the-job experiences,” says Dr. Phil Welches, Clinical Director at Gateway Foundation Alcohol & Drug Treatment.

Gateway Foundation finds Dr. Covington’s curricula to be effective tools, as part of a multi-disciplinary integrated approach, for helping women in recovery. Gateway currently uses the following curricula: “Helping Women Recover” and “A Woman’s Way through the Twelve-Steps,” as well as trauma-specific curricula, such as “Beyond Trauma” and “Healing Trauma.”

Attendees valued the opportunity to learn from a pioneer in women’s issue and an addiction expert, expressing their positive sentiments:

“Dr. Covington’s knowledge, experience and communication are amazing and inspiring.”

“I enjoyed the interaction and group participation in addition to the discussion about women’s sense of self in relationship to others.”

“I loved all of it; in particular, the exercises, studies and role playing with stories and experiences of past clients.”

“Thank you so much. This training was invaluable.”

Dr. Stephanie S. Covington leading the training seminar

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