The Recovery Unplugged Experience: Admissions

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The Recovery Unplugged Experience: Admissions

They say that first impressions are the most important, and there are few contexts in which this is more accurate than addiction treatment. When a person finally makes the decision to get help, whether it’s on their own or through the guidance of a loved one, they’re bringing with them all of their physical pain and sickness, and the emotionally traumatic experiences that have altered their ability to trust anyone, even themselves. It’s up to us, as treatment professionals, to take these experiences and behaviors into account and realize that they can very easily lead to clients being discouraged by the seemingly smallest things, like too many questions, insurance issues or minor delays.

The reality is that the moments leading up to admission can be a ticking clock, during which people are constantly second-guessing their decisions and literally battling their brain chemistry to resist the urge to just give it up and go use. Clients and their loved ones place an enormous amount of faith in a treatment facility when they entrust us with care, and they deserve to have this faith met with the appropriate level of treatment, support and guidance during recovery. This starts with a seamless, hassle-free, comfortable and proactive and sensitive admissions process.

Recovery Unplugged recognizes the immense emotional physical and emotional toll addiction has taken on our incoming clients, and have designed our admissions to address every aspect of their vulnerability and get them into treatment immediately to start care.

The Recovery Unplugged Experience - Our Admission Process

Punching their Ticket: Using Music to Engage Clients during the Admissions Process

Our use of music to increase clients’ comfort starts during admission. One of the primary elements that distinguishes Recovery Unplugged from other treatment centers is that, in addition to assess clients medical, behavioral and lifestyle needs, we also identify their favorite genre of music and favorite. This song is playing when they’re picked up by our personnel to start their treatment journey.

Playing these tracks helps immediately establish rapport; let clients know they’re heard and valued; helps shorten the period of adjustment; and expedite the therapeutic process. Everyone has a favorite song, and this universal reality can be a touchpoint of communication, commonality and trust during a time when it’s needed more than ever.

Removing Fear and Shame from the Admissions and Recovery Paradigm

Very often, the traditional treatment process can be predicated on fear and consequence-based dialogue. The very nature of addiction makes this approach largely ineffective. Anyone who has ever experienced addiction knows that fear and consequences are an afterthought during active substance abuse. Combining respect, rapport and accountability into evidence-based treatment practices helps patients feel empowered, listened to and valued rather than judged.

The admissions process can very easily set the tone for the entire treatment experience. If someone feels as though they’re a burden, object of judgment and or just another number, it doesn’t bode well for their willingness to fully embrace and internalize treatment.

The Messages Music Sends during Admission

A client’s musical preferences during the admissions speaks literal and figurative volumes about their state of mind, and where they are in their own recovery. If a client is listening to angry, dark, sad or overly aggressive music, it’s doubtful that their lives have been easy walks in the park. Instead of trying to change the music they’re listening to in hopes of altering their moods, we leverage it as a means of processing the feelings they can always articulate through talking to others. Ideally this process leads to us “peeling the emotional layers” and reframing the conversation toward their long-term addiction recovery.

Dialogue: Helping Clients and their Loved Ones Understand our Musical Process

Another critical part of the admissions process at Recovery Unplugged is thoroughly explaining to clients and their loved ones the exact ways we integrate music into our treatment program. It’s easy, and unfortunately common, for people to hear about music-based treatment and dismiss it as a sort of “gimmick”.

Once we explain to them that we simply leverage music to help clients more readily embrace our state-of-the-art, evidence-based care options, like medical detox and comprehensive behavioral rehab. Part of the admissions process is assuring clients that their care needs will be effectively met through each stage of treatment.

Instead of using the normal open-ended questions or psychosocial assessments to establish rapport, we use a musical connection. This improves the mood of both clients and clinicians. We also work hard to assure clients and their loved ones that you don’t need a musical background to enter our program, and that 90 percent of our clients are not musicians.

New Beginnings Start with the Right Beginnings

Our admissions process is the first and most important window into our philosophy, quality and culture. We work hard to strike the right chord, from the moment a client and their loved ones come to us for help. This common thread of compassion, respect, support and quality care continue throughout our program to give clients the tools they need to successfully maintain recovery.

Recovery Unplugged

About The Author

The Recovery Unplugged music-focused addiction treatment approach was primarily developed by our co-founder and Chief Strategy Officer, Paul Pellinger. Paul’s years of experience in the addiction treatment industry combined with his deep love of music, and his belief in its ability to heal, led to the...
read more about: Paul Pellinger