Counseling is a core element of treatment for addiction. Bluff uses a variety of forms of counseling (individual, group and family), and proven techniques such as acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT), cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and dialectical behavior therapy (DBT).

  • ACT helps a person choose to act effectively even when faced with stressful or disruptive situations.
  • CBT helps participants identify and correct thought patterns that have led to unhealthy, destructive behaviors.
  • DBT is based on two seemingly opposing concepts – self-acceptance, and accepting that there is a need to change. 

Through specific techniques such as mindfulness, participants learn to deal with stress and cravings while building motivation for change.

Individual Therapy

In individual therapy, patients receive personalized, one-on-one counseling to gain a deeper understanding of the disease of addiction, learn healthier ways to manage stress, build a stronger sense of self, identify underlying issues fueling the addiction and ultimately, change destructive behaviors. In a confidential, judgment-free environment, patients can feel safe expressing their feelings and emotions, and talking about highly personal experiences that have contributed to their addiction. Participants build a greater sense of self-worth and self-esteem, which contribute to overall well-being and relapse prevention.

Group Therapy

In group therapy, participants learn to trust one another, have open and honest communication, and have a supportive environment in which to share their struggles and work collaboratively to understand one another. Group therapy is an opportunity to practice new skills for dealing with their thoughts and emotions, and for responding to the thoughts and emotions of others. These new skills enhance self-awareness, offer new ways of relating to people, and teach behaviors that assist patients in fostering positive change and achieving personal goals.

Family Counseling

When those in recovery know their family believes in them, it can be a powerful motivator for staying sober. Yet by the time people get into addiction treatment, family relationships are often strained. In family counseling, we help family members understand what addiction has done to their loved one, begin the process of restoring those bonds and connect with other families who understand their pain, challenges and hopes for the future.

Trauma-Informed Care

Emotional and physical distress caused by traumatic experiences during the early years or at any point in life has been linked to the development of drug and alcohol addiction. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, as many as two-thirds of people in treatment for drug addiction report having suffered from trauma, including emotional abuse, physical abuse or neglect, in childhood. In adulthood, there are many traumatic life experiences that can lead people to want to dull the memories or self-medicate with alcohol and drugs.

Military personnel, medical professionals, law enforcement, social workers, emergency medical services and firefighters may be exposed to stressful or dangerous situations on their job that take a toll on their mental health, and lead them to use alcohol and drugs to alleviate their distress. Depression in these groups of professionals is also common, and some turn to drugs and alcohol as a way to cope.

Trauma-informed care takes into account the physiological and psychological impact of traumatic experiences, and emphasizes the importance of working through issues in an environment of safety, support and trust. Using a variety of therapeutic techniques encompassing counseling and holistic therapies, we help individuals in recovery identify their inner resiliency, and feel empowered to embrace a more hopeful future. When patients have moved beyond past traumatic experiences, their mental health and quality of life improves – key factors in preventing relapse.

Equine-Assisted Therapy

Our acclaimed equine-assisted therapy program connects patients with horses to help them better understand themselves and how they interact with the world around them. Led by Dale Phillips, our innovative program has created life-changing experiences for many men and women on their journey to lasting recovery.

Horses have a natural ability to respond to and reflect the emotional state of the people they’re working with.

Through the non-judgmental relationship they develop with the horses and one-on-one guidance, individuals in recovery begin to recognize how they have been hurt by their own destructive behavioral patterns, insecurities and fears. By caring for the horses, building a relationship based on mutual trust and learning about the resilience of these beautiful and gentle animals, men and women in recovery practice healthy communication and relationship building skills that they will need in life outside treatment.

Ropes Course

One of the hallmarks of addiction is the need for instant gratification. By tackling the ropes course, a form of experiential therapy offered at Bluff, groups work together to strategize how to overcome obstacles. The only way to get through the course is to rely on one another for ideas and support.

Getting through the ropes course requires critical-thinking, creativity, planning, patience and communication – skills that are often lost during addiction and have to be learned or relearned and practiced in recovery. The ropes course is suitable for individuals of all physical abilities – the focus is on using the brain and working as a team.

Recreational Therapy

During counseling and group therapy, communicating verbally – openly sharing feelings, struggles and successes – allows people to process their experiences, overcome guilt and shame, consider other points of view, realize how their own experiences can help others, and learn to express themselves in a constructive manner. For recovering addicts, participating in meaningful activities can restore a sense of purpose, improve self-esteem and provide an alternative to previous unhealthy habits.

But expressing thoughts and feelings verbally isn't the only way to do it. For example:

  • Through art, individuals in recovery can express themselves through painting, drawing, pottery and crafts – no talking required. A type of expressive group therapy, art encourages individuals to convey emotions and experiences they may have difficulty expressing in conversation. Research also suggests art can help foster self-awareness, improve self-control and self-esteem, and develop social skills. In addition to giving patients an alternative way to share their feelings, art can promote relaxation, and instill a sense of pride and happiness in creating something beautiful and personally meaningful.
  • Gardening is a meaningful activity that can be very beneficial. By combining physical activity, enjoying time in nature and patiently coaxing seeds to grow, gardening reconnects people to the earth, promotes relaxation and offers a sense of accomplishment when their efforts bear fruit. Our chefs use the fresh vegetables and herbs such as basil, spearmint and thyme that are grown in our on-site gardens in preparing meals for residents.
  • Through gardening, patients at Bluff are exposed to healthy, nutritious and dopamine-replenishing ingredients and foods that are so important to recovery. Many people who are addicted to alcohol and drugs develop vitamin and mineral deficiencies due to poor eating habits, making them more susceptible to infections and other illnesses. In recovery, restoring nutrition helps rebuild muscles, heal the brain and boost the immune system.


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