Whether you’re questioning your own relationship with alcohol or drugs or concerned about a loved one, the idea of talking to a professional can be intimidating. Although the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependency estimates that over 23 million Americans struggle with addiction, it is a disease that carries such a negative stigma in our society that we often opt to suffer in silence.
Because of this, addictive behaviors are often (intentionally or unintentionally) cloaked in denial, resistance, ambivalence, and manipulation. Shame and uncertainty can create an unhealthy family dynamic, whereby family members rationalize and “look the other way,” even if they are beginning to notice unhealthy behavioral patterns.
Because of these factors, it is critical to find a provider that specializes in drug and alcohol addiction if you are exploring treatment options. Though there are many mental health counselors, social workers, and psychologists in South Florida, it is uncommon to find an outpatient counseling practice that has years of experience with this particular issue. Additionally, addiction is a complicated process that is often accompanied by other underlying issues of anxiety, depression, family conflict, or self-esteem issues. It is important to find a provider with the qualifications to treat “the whole person.” The director of the practice, Casey Portner, is a Certified Addictions Professional, and also earned his Master’s Degree in Mental Health Counseling, which enables him to create a comprehensive treatment plan that can help individuals maximize their progress by addressing their issues holistically.
When someone breaks an arm, the course of action is mostly standard and inflexible. There may be slightly different approaches – maybe the arm needs to be reset, or perhaps the individual needs their cast for a longer time period – but the philosophy will always be the same. Addiction, unfortunately, is not this simplistic. Addiction is as varied as the individuals who struggle with them, with varying causes, severity, motivation for change, level of support, and triggers. Because of this, when choosing a provider, it is important to find someone with a flexible and accommodating treatment approach. At Portner Counseling Group, we believe in using a collaborative process to help individuals non-judgmentally and honestly reflect on their own needs, values, and beliefs to determine their treatment goals. Take a look at the Biographies section for additional details on specific treatment philosophies and modalities used.
At Portner Counseling Group, we understand that exploring these uncertainties is crucial in determining whether someone may be struggling with drug or alcohol use. We pride ourselves in creating a warm and non-judgmental environment that facilitates honest and open communication, in order to get a sense of the true nature of your concern. The first step in the process at Portner Counseling Group is to complete a two-hour, in-depth substance abuse evaluation. The purpose of the assessment is to look at an individual holistically: to examine not only their patterns of use, triggers, and treatment history, but also other important factors such as mental health, support structure, career/school and finances, and environmental stressors. Considering all of these factors is important to get a well-rounded picture about an individual’s level of need.
Completing an assessment does not necessarily mean that an individual is committing to treatment. If you are unsure whether you or someone you love has a problem, it can be all the more reason to reach out. Sometimes, users and family members can be too close to a situation to see things objectively. Sitting down and speaking with a professional that specializes in addiction can help give you clarity. Our problems grow in the dark and die in the light of exposure. Though it can be intimidating, we encourage and empower anyone who is concerned about drug use or addiction to reach out and take this small step forward by making that initial call.