We offer a weekly professionals group for clients such as doctors, nurses, veterinarians, lawyers and pilots. The group is open to employees from all backgrounds and any profession, including those who are self-employed. Clients can discover ways to empower themselves and develop a plan for their career.
Professionals groups are designed for physicians, nurses, veterinarians, lawyers, pilots, and others in high-level, high-stress positions. The goal is to help people struggling with alcoholism, substance abuse and other addictive disorders recover and successfully resume their careers. Typically, these groups are offered as a component of inpatient rehab or outpatient treatment.
The primary difference between professional groups and regular addiction counseling lies in multidisciplinary evaluations mandated by professional associations, boards and other licensing organizations. Consumer safety and regulatory issues demand adequate treatment and ongoing monitoring to insure compliance and continued abstinence. During weekly group meetings, professionals share similar struggles with their peers in a safe, supportive environment. Discussions revolve around stressful career-related situations (triggers) and logistical professional matters clients may experience in recovery.
How Professionals Groups Help
Recognizing substance dependence among doctors, nurses or other professionals can be challenging because many are adept at hiding their problem and considered highly functional. With the help of addiction experts, professionals learn to identify the root causes that led to substance misuse. These might include work-related stress, family dynamics, co-occurring psychiatric disorders, easy access to drugs, chronic pain or other physical problems, ongoing or pending legal litigation and genetic factors.
Therapists help professionals break through initial obstacles such as denial and intellectualization of their addictions. The next step is helping them accept the chronic nature of addiction and the need for professional, ongoing treatment. After they’ve come to terms with the fact they have a chronic disease, clients learn healthy coping skills and prepare for challenges they may encounter upon returning to the workforce. Research indicates an estimated 75-90% of recovering physicians are able to remain abstinent and return to work.
Benefits of Professional Groups
Therapeutic activities are designed to help clients understand and accept their addiction, implement and maintain sobriety, repair relationships, prevent relapse and facilitate their return to productivity. Being with peers is highly beneficial because it provides professionals with additional opportunities to confront denial, learn from the experiences of others and it also reduces shame.
Being treated by staff members familiar with treating professionals is highly beneficial. Research shows using a medical license as a bargaining chip may help physicians maintain sobriety. Studies show a longer duration of professional treatment, longer period of monitoring and active involvement in 12-step programs are associated with lower risk of relapse. High rates of long-term abstinence are associated with groups modeled on physician health programs. Benefits include:
- Minimized time away from work
- Reduced risk of relapse
- Reduced stigma
- Greater self-acceptance
- Improved family dynamics
- Healthier work relationships
- Enhanced capacity to accept imperfections
- Decreased feelings of victimization
- Healthier work-life balance