Addiction Treatment Glossary

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Guardian’s Glossary of Addiction Recovery Services

Case Management – At all of Guardian’s facilities, no matter the level of care, we employ professional case managers. Case managers are responsible for helping every individual client craft a plan for their recovery. They serve as the intermediary between the client and their families, employers and the court system. They aid clients through each transition in their recovery journey and monitor progress along the way. They do everything in their power to help our clients succeed.

Client Experience – At Guardian Recovery we use the term “Client Experience” to refer to the journey each client takes through our programs. This includes the amenities they enjoy, the comfort of our facilities, the professionalism of our staff, the quality of medical and clinical care, the therapeutic services employed, the holistic treatment options offered, the guidance given before, during and after a stay in one of our programs, and the continued support clients receive after treatment, through our alumni department.

Clinical Services – Guardian offers a wide range of clinical services. This broad term refers to everything from the medical supervision given during our detoxification programs, the therapy given at every level of treatment (group, individual and family therapy), the holistic healing modalities we offer (including yoga, meditation, massage and acupuncture), and the psychiatric services we provide to patients who are dually diagnosed with a mental health disorder.

Holistic Healing – Holistic Healing refers to various healing methods that don’t fit into the traditional model of Western medicine. At Guardian facilities, these could include things like yoga, guided meditation, acupuncture and massage. At Guardian we have found these holistic therapies to be extremely beneficial to our clients physical, emotional, mental and spiritual health.

Women’s Rehab Program – At Guardian facilities our clients are generally divided into demographic-specific groups to undergo treatment. This means women primarily have group therapy sessions only with other women. We have found that splitting our community into focused groups helps limit distraction, customize programming that is more specific to each individual, focus on topics more pertinent to women and create a safer, more vulnerable space for individuals to emotionally heal. This is particularly true for women who have experienced trauma, which is very common for women struggling with addiction.

Men’s Rehab Program – At Guardian facilities our clients are generally divided into demographic-specific groups to undergo treatment. This means men primarily have group therapy sessions only with other men. We have found that splitting our community into focused groups helps limit distraction, customize programming that is more specific to each individual, focus on topics more pertinent to men and create a safer, more vulnerable space for individuals to emotionally heal.

Medication Assisted Treatment – Medication assisted treatment — often called MAT — is a term that refers to the use of medications to aid in the recovery process. Initially this means the medications administered in a medical detox facility to help ease the pain of withdrawal, and make detoxing safe. The term can also refer to the continued use of medications that aid recovery, such as antidepressants, antipsychotics, anti-anxiety medications, non-narcotic pain relievers and medications that help combat cravings or prevent users from relapsing.

The Guardian Path – The Guardian Path refers to the pathway clients can take if they follow Guardian’s multi-phased continuum of care. The entire Guardian Path can include an addiction assessment, an intervention, medical detoxification, residential inpatient, partial hospitalization, intensive outpatient, continued therapy and aftercare. We break down the Guardian Path into three phases: stabilization, motivation and reintegration.

Stabilization – Stabilization refers to the first phase of the Guardian Path. The stabilization phase of our recovery path could include an addiction assessment, professional intervention and medical detoxification. The stabilization phase is geared toward getting an individual physically sober and stabilized, then helping them transition to the next phase of recovery.

Motivation — Motivation refers to the second phase of the Guardian Path. The motivation phase of our recovery path is geared toward helping individuals begin to heal physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually from their addictions. This phase includes intense therapy work (in an individual setting, group environment and with the family) and 12-Step program involvement. This is the phase when clients begin to heal emotional wounds that have been contributing to their addictions, and learn the bulk of the tools they will need to maintain sobriety. In this phase, clients discover a vision for their lives and find hope for the future.

Reintegration – Reintegration refers to the third and final phase of the Guardian Path. Following an iThe reintegration phase of our recovery path is geared toward helping individuals slowly reintegrate into the world-at-large while continuing their addiction treatment. This phase generally includes an intensive outpatient program, sober living home, continued therapy and aftercare planning. The focus in this phase is to learn tools to prevent relapse, begin to tackle the day-to-day responsibilities of normal life (such as work or school) and get fully engaged in a recovery community. Clients learn how to actually live sober.

Intervention Services – Addiction is a disease of denial. Because addiction resides in the brain, it often tells an addict or alcoholic that their problem is not that bad. As a result, many individuals who desperately need treatment are unwilling to do so. This can be tremendously painful for the families and loved ones of alcoholics and addicts who are baffled by the unbelievable behavior they witness. Families and loved ones of the addict are left feeling powerless and afraid. This is when a professional interventionist might be called for. An interventionist will help the family and loved ones of the addict craft a plan to get the addict the help they need. The interventionist will help set up a meeting during which friends and family can express their fear, hurt and encouragement to the addicted loved one in an effort to persuade the individual to go to treatment. Guardian’s interventionists are highly experienced professionals who have decades of experience helping families through this difficult confrontation.

Admissions – Guardian’s admissions process is simple and straightforward. On the initial phone call, Guardian’s compassionate treatment advisors will ask some basic questions to assess the needs of the addicted individual. They will run a complimentary health insurance check to confirm what levels of treatment could be paid through insurance. Then they will set up a time to do a slightly longer phone evaluation of the addict to help Guardian’s clinical team prepare for treating the individual. Our Treatment Advisors can also help arrange safe transportation to our facilities. Once the client arrives at a Guardian facility, they will meet with our nursing staff and doctor upon admission to do an in-person clinical assessment.

Addiction Assessments – Clients at Guardian go through a series of addiction assessments. The first is the initial phone call, during which basic questions are asked. The second is a slightly longer phone call to get information that will be given to Guardian’s clinical team to prepare for the individual’s arrival at one of our facilities. Once an individual is at one of our facilities, they will go through a series of physical, emotional and mental assessments to give our medical and clinical professionals a comprehensive and detailed picture of the individual, their addiction and underlying issues. All of this information is utilized to craft the best possible treatment plan for each unique individual.

Medical Detox – When an individual who has been using a substance for any considerable period of time tries to quit abruptly, their body often revolts. Withdrawal from drugs and alcohol can not only be an agonizing experience, it can also be a dangerous, even life-threatening one. Symptoms can include seizures, nausea, body aches, cold sweats, agitation, rage, suicidal ideation, hallucinations, delusions, panic attacks and more. If left untreated, the symptoms of withdrawal can drive an individual back to drugs and alcohol even when they desperately want to stop.

For these reasons, it is highly recommended that individuals go to one of Guardian’s medical detox facilities to initially get sober. Our facilities utilize medications to ease the pain of withdrawal and closely monitor clients 24/7. Our medical detox facilities are beautiful, serene, homestyle environments geared to make the process as comfortable as possible. While in medical detox, our clients are also introduced to recovery tools, holistic healing treatments and therapy. Our case managers help every individual create a detailed plan for continuing their recovery following detox.

Residential Inpatient – Residential inpatient treatment generally takes place after an individual is physically stabilized in a medical detox facility. In residential inpatient, clients stay 24/7 in a serene, homestyle treatment center and participate in a packed schedule of recovery-related programming. In our residential inpatient facilities, we use a powerful combination of evidence-based clinical therapies, and 12-Step immersion. This two pronged approach has shown to be extremely effective at helping individuals tackle their addictions on every level — spiritual, mental, physical and spiritual.

Partial Hospitalization (PHP) – Partial Hospitalization Programs are the logical next step following a stay at a residential inpatient treatment center. This level of care still delivers a packed schedule of intensive therapeutic intervention, 12-Step recovery and a range of other treatment services, but also offers clients more autonomy and some free time. Clients in PHP generally live either off site at a sober living home, or on site in PHP-specific housing. They can have access to their cell phones, and generally have one or two days of free time. On free days, clients learn how to manage idle time, which is a critical skill for ongoing recovery. They are also encouraged to attend outside 12-Step meetings in order to begin building a network of sober support outside of treatment. The PHP treatment schedule is approximately 8 hours a day, 5-6 days a week.

Intensive Outpatient (IOP) – Intensive outpatient treatment (IOP) is a logical progression from either a residential inpatient treatment, or partial hospitalization program (PHP). It can, however, be a stand-alone treatment option in some cases where either an addiction has not been severe, or personal circumstances require an individual to have more flexibility to meet their day-to-day responsibilities. In most cases, IOP groups last between 3-5 hours, and take place 3-5 times a week. Clients are able to return home between IOP groups, work, attend school or volunteer. IOP is a critical step for slow reintegration into the world-at-large. Our IOP programs focus on coping with life’s daily stressors, facing temptation, avoiding relapse, communicating with family members, healing unresolved trauma, regulating emotions, re-building one’s finances, working the 12 Steps  and tackling every hurdle an individual must conquer to maintain their long-term recovery.

Sober Living – The time immediately following inpatient treatment can be one of the riskiest times of early recovery. An individual is encountering the world sober for the first time in a long time. They will encounter relapse triggers, difficult people, intense emotions and the pressures of responsibility. Learning how to face the world sober is challenging. Sober living helps individuals slowly re-integrate into the world at large. While in sober living, individuals have the accountability of a house supervisor, regular drug and alcohol tests and a built-in sober support community. While Guardian does not currently operate any of our own sober living homes, we do have excellent relationships with many sober living home providers. We are happy to connect you with a reputable sober home in your area.

Aftercare Planning – Aftercare planning is a critical step of the recovery process. It is one thing to get sober; it is an entirely different thing to stay sober. Staying sober requires individuals to continue recovery behaviors, stay engaged with a sober community, continue therapy work, practice self-care and learn how to manage difficult emotions. Guardian’s case managers help every client craft a strategic, personal aftercare plan to ensure their ongoing success in recovery.

Individual Therapy – At Guardian Recovery we staff highly experienced and credentialed therapists who specialize in substance abuse and mental health. Many of our clients come to us with a range of underlying issues, from mental illness to unresolved trauma and PTSD. All underlying issues are thoroughly addressed in individual therapy, where clients have access to much more focused and personalized care. Individual therapy sessions are available during every stage of the recovery process, from medical detox to residential inpatient treatment, partial hospitalization, intensive outpatient and aftercare. Our therapists employ a range of therapeutic techniques including cognitive behavioral therapy, dialectical behavior therapy, eye movement desensitization and reprocessing, motivational interviewing and traditional talk therapy.

Group Therapy – Group therapy is an effective way to teach many of the tools necessary for recovery. At Guardian Recovery we offer regular group therapy sessions during every phase of addiction recovery. Group therapy teaches individuals how to be vulnerable, make friendships, support one another, communicate effectively and manage emotions in relationship to others. Guardian’s group facilitators have decades of experience working in a group setting to foster connection and teach topics pertinent to the recovery journey.

Family Therapy – Addiction affects every member of the family system and severely alters family dynamics. There are unhealthy behaviors such as enabling, codependency, controlling, repressing emotions and miscommunication. When one individual starts to get well in recovery, it can shift the entire balance that the family has become accustomed to. Family therapy helps families navigate the tricky waters of early recovery together. It also helps every member of the family heal individually from the collective trauma of watching a loved one suffer from addiction.

Life Skills Training – Active addiction often strips individuals of their abilities to manage the normal, day-to-day responsibilities of life. Either the individual’s personal growth was stunted by their addiction, so they never learned these life skills in the first place; or, the individual has developed extraordinarily bad habits because of their addiction. At Guardian we teach life skills such as time management, financial literacy, resume building and nutrition.

Nutrition Therapy – While participating in active addiction, many individuals become severely malnourished and unhealthy. Restoring the body’s proper functioning — both mentally and physically — is essential for individuals to start to feel well again. Good nutrition can help alleviate mental fog, increase focus, increase dopamine and serotonin, re-balance the central nervous system, restore regular digestion, strengthen the body and benefit an individual in countless other ways. At Guardian facilities, we educate our clients, promote proper nutrition and serve nutritious meals.

Acupuncture Therapy – Acupuncture has been shown to raise an individual’s endorphin levels. Endorphins are the body’s natural painkillers. Additionally acupuncture has been shown to help reduce cravings and withdrawal symptoms. At Guardian facilities we utilize acupuncture to help alleviate pain, reduce drug and alcohol cravings and promote wellness.

Massage Therapy – Many of our clients, in particular clients who have been addicted to prescription painkillers, suffer from legitimate pain. Emotional trauma can also be stored in the body. Massage therapy helps individual’s relieve sore muscles, release pent-up emotional energy stored in the body, and alleviate pain. At some of Guardian’s facilities, we utilize massage therapy to help our clients feel their best.

Yoga Therapy – Yoga has been shown to help alleviate stress, improve mobility  in the body, increase impulse control, help regulate emotions, increase self-awareness and promote a sense of calm.  At Guardian, we regularly incorporate yoga into our treatment programming.

Mindfulness & Meditation – Many addicts and alcoholics suffer from anxious thoughts, mental fog, incessant mental chatter, a disconnection from their bodies and emotions and a general inability to control their minds. Mindfulness and meditation are two techniques that help. At Guardian we incorporate guided meditation and mindfulness practices into our treatment programming.

12-Step Program – The 12 Steps are a program of action involving surrender, humility, self-appraisal, confession, restitution, a willingness to change, prayer, meditation and service to others. The Steps are designed to produce a personal transformation great enough for an individual to overcome the hopeless state of mind and body inherent in addiction. The Steps are the pathway for true healing and recovery. While Guardian Recovery is not affiliated with Alcoholics Anonymous, we have been utilizing the 12-Step process in a treatment setting for more than 15 years. We have found that the Steps, especially in combination with our clinical therapy offerings, are a powerful tool for  helping individuals find lasting freedom from addiction. In medical detox, our clients are first introduced to the 12 Steps. If they continue on to residential inpatient and partial hospitalization, they have the opportunity to work the first seven Steps. If they continue further into our intensive outpatient programs, they often finish all 12 Steps. Working the Steps in a structured, professionally supervised, therapeutic environment can be extremely beneficial, especially for clients who haven’t previously been successful working the Steps in the world-at-large.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) – CBT is a therapeutic method that focuses on the stories we tell ourselves about ourselves, our world, others and events. The stories we make up about such topics have a huge impact on how we feel. And how we feel generally motivates our actions and attitudes. CBT is a method of re-writing our narratives so that we can feel happier and make better decisions in our lives. CBT teaches us to slow down and question our thoughts. This slowing down process helps us avoid impulsivity and emotional reactivity. CBT has particularly been shown to help with anger management. At Guardian we teach CBT in both group and individual therapy.

Dialectical-Behavior Therapy (DBT) – DBT is a type of CBT that focuses on self-destructive behaviors and thinking patterns. DBT is broken down into four main strategies: Increasing an individual’s distress tolerance, teaching them to react less impulsively and without resorting to self-injury or substance abuse to dampen distress; increasing one’s ability to regulate their emotions by recognizing, labeling and adjusting those emotions; practicing mindfulness to increase one’s awareness of themselves, others and the present moment and teaching individuals tools for bettering their interpersonal relationships and navigating conflict. At Guardian we teach DBT in both group and individual therapy.

Eye Movement Desensitization & Reprocessing (EMDR) – EMDR is a method for treating unresolved trauma. With every memory one side of our brain processes and records the facts of a situation, such as where we were, who we were with and what happened; the other half of the brain processes the emotional memory — how we felt about the situation. During a traumatic event, the brain has a built-in defense mechanism — it splits the connection between the two hemispheres of the brain. This is why a serial murderer can recount the facts of his crimes without showing any emotion. Likewise, this is why a soldier can smell a fragrance and panic, hitting the deck in fear without really knowing why. His brain remembers the emotional response, without remembering the facts of what originally triggered that emotion. EMDR utilizes external stimuli — such as flashing lights or vibrating handholds — to stimulate the two sides of the brain. An individual going through EMDR therapy alternates their attention from right to left, right to left, as they explore their traumatic memory. The external stimulus has a way of reconnecting the two hemispheres of the brain. By making our memories whole in a safe environment, we can process them and heal. Some of Guardian’s therapists are trained in EMDR and can help clients process their unresolved traumas.

Specialty Programs – At Guardian Recovery we have several specialty programs for individuals with specific needs. These include our dual diagnosis program, kosher recovery program, executive program and family workshops.

Dual Diagnosis – Our dual diagnosis program is designed for individuals who suffer from both a substance use disorder and a mental health issue. At Guardian we treat both issues simultaneously because the two often exacerbate one another. If both conditions are not treated, an individual is unlikely to experience long-term sobriety or mental wellness.

Executive Program – Guardian recognizes that there are many individuals in high-powered jobs who cannot take time off work to seek treatment, and who have critical concerns about privacy. For those individuals, Guardian developed an Executive Program. While in the Executive Program, individuals have access to wi-fi, personal laptops, computers and a flexible schedule. They have private rooms stocked with snacks. Food can be delivered directly to the room to avoid contact with other guests. And extreme confidentiality measures are taken to protect the privacy of the individual.

Family Workshops – Addiction affects the entire family and severely impacts family dynamics. There is a wealth of pain and suffering that occurs when a family member is struggling with addiction. At Guardian, we believe every family member needs healing. Guardian hosts multi-day family workshops at several of our facilities. These workshops educate family members about the nature of addiction, teach the components of recovery and provide tools for restoring family health. Your Content Goes Here

Integrated, Holistic Care

At Guardian Recovery we believe in taking an integrated approach to addiction treatment, meaning that we simultaneously focus on physical, mental, emotional and spiritual healing. We take a “whole person” approach to recovery, which allows for the development of vital relapse prevention and life skills. Clients learn how to work through uncomfortable feelings and emotions and engage in self-care as they navigate early recovery and transition back into independent living. To learn more about our integrated approach to recovery, or to learn more about the importance of mindfulness and meditation, contact us today.

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Reviewed professionally for accuracy by:

Ryan Soave


Ryan Soave brings deep experience as a Licensed Mental Health Counselor, certified trauma therapist, program developer, and research consultant for Huberman Lab at Stanford University Department of Neurobiology. Post-graduation from Wake Forest University, Ryan quickly discovered his acumen for the business world. After almost a decade of successful entrepreneurship and world traveling, he encountered a wave of personal and spiritual challenges; he felt a calling for something more. Ryan returned to school and completed his Master’s Degree in Mental Health Counseling. When he started working with those suffering from addiction and PTSD, he found his passion. He has never looked back.

Written by:

Cayla Clark

Cayla Clark

Cayla Clark grew up in Santa Barbara, CA and graduated from UCLA with a degree in playwriting. Since then she has been writing on addiction recovery and psychology full-time, and has found a home as part of the Guardian Recovery team.

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