The Four Agreements are one of the holistic approaches we use to supplement our behavioral therapies. In the first week, we teach you The Four Agreements to give you a solid foundation of reliability and trust on which to build your life after recovery.
Week 1 Schedule:
Day One — The First Agreement
Skill — Safe place
Day Two — The Second Agreement
Skill — Container
Day Three — The Third and Fourth Agreements
Skill — Light stream
The Four Agreements are:
We believe that in order to understand how to overcome mental illness and substance use, as well as things like trauma that cause them, you must understand the way they impact the brain.
Understanding how trauma and negative thoughts affect the brain and thought processes can be crucial to finding success in recovery. We take the time to help you understand how your brain responds to certain situations and triggers so you can overcome those situations.
The primary tool we use to do this is known as the ABC method, which identifies an activating event, then a rational and irrational belief, and the corresponding healthy and unhealthy consequences.
Week 2 Schedule:
Day One — Brain Works Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT)
Skill — ABC worksheet
Day Two — Brain Works CPT
Skill — ABC worksheet
Day Three — Brain Works CPT
Skill — ABC worksheet
Substance use and mental illness often put a strain on the social relationships in patients’ lives. However, humans are social creatures, and it is often very hard to recover successfully without the support of a social network. At Continuum Outpatient, we teach you how to start mending those relationships with friends, family, and other loved ones.
We use methods including:
Day One — Interpersonal Effectiveness
Skill — (DEAR MAN)
Day Two — Interpersonal Effectiveness
Skill — (GIVE FAST)
Day Three — Love and Apology – The Languages
Skill — “I feel” statements
Trauma is one of the primary factors that lead to mental illness and substance use disorders for many people. In our IOP training, we focus on helping people learn to understand, deal with, and overcome their past trauma. This allows for lots of personal growth and helps you develop the ability to see yourself as more than a product of your past trauma.
To achieve this, we use tools like grounding, where you find ways to physically ground yourself in the space you are currently in, as well as things like exercise and focusing on the moment.
Day One — What Happened to You? PTSD
Skill — Improve the moment
Day Two — The Limbic System on Trauma
Skill — 54321 grounding
Day Three — Post-Traumatic Wisdom
Skill — Intense exercise
We also cover dialectical behavior therapy or DBT basics in our curriculum. This teaches you to be fully present in the moment rather than focusing on the past or the future. DBT basics also revolve around helping you develop healthy ways to cope with stress without relying on harmful thought patterns or behaviors, and building skills to help you find healthy ways to repair and rebuild relationships that may have been damaged by substance use or mental illness. Much of this involves body language and “mentality techniques” like willing hands and half smiling as a way to work through emotions.
Week 5 Schedule:
Day One — Biosocial Theory and Dialectics
Skill — Willing hands
Day Two — DBT Assumptions and Options for Solving Problems
Skill — Half smiling
Day Three — Radical Acceptance
Skill — Willingness
Emotional intelligence or emotional IQ is the ability to understand, use, and manage your own emotions in a positive way. This helps you to relieve stress from your life, communicate effectively with the people you care about, empathize with others, overcome emotional challenges, and defuse conflict. All of these skills are very important for people looking to live a happy, healthy life, but they are especially important for people in early recovery. We will teach you how to identify and understand your own emotions and how to apply these emotional skills in your daily life.
To teach emotional intelligence, we focus on using DBT techniques like:
Week 6 Schedule:
Day One — Emotions Wheel and Mindfulness
Skill — STOP
Day Two — Reducing Emotional Vulnerability
Skill — TIP the TEMP
Day Three — Building Distress Tolerance
Skill — Check the facts, opposite action, problem solving
Mindfulness is the practice of being aware of one’s self and fully present in the moment, and focused on your own task and priorities in the moment. Practicing mindfulness helps you limit distractions not only from those around you but also from regrets of the past and worries about the future.
Mindfulness focuses on the mind-body connection and allows you to be fully present without being overwhelmed or overly reactive to the world around you. To do this, we discuss different ways to experience mindfulness, including mindfulness in the way you observe the world around you, mindfulness in the words you use, and mindfulness in imagery.
Week 7 Schedule:
Day One — Wise Mind
Skill — Mindfulness observation
Day Two — Reduce Suffering Mindfully
Skill — Mindfulness through words
Day Three — The “How” of Mindfulness
Skill — Mindfulness through imagery
We know that substance use and mental illness often get in the way of everyday life and make daily tasks feel hard or even impossible to manage. Things often feel distorted, and important parts of life get put in the background. At Continuum, we focus on everyday life skills to give you the tools you need to start a healthy, independent, and thriving life during and after recovery. Some of the life skills we focus on include effective communication, building a budget to use in your daily life, and putting together an emergency kit so you are prepared for the unexpected.
Week 8 Schedule:
Day One — Resumé and Interview Skills
Skill — Effective communication
Day Two — Budget and Debt Management
Skill — Create a written budget
Day Three — Smoking Cessation
Skill — Emergency kit
Recovery is a journey that must be taken one step at a time. For many people, a part of that journey is relapse. Our treatment program works to prevent that. Our relapse prevention methods focus on identifying the stressors and triggers that lead to substance use or other harmful behaviors. Then we will help you build skills and find better, healthier ways to cope.
Some of the skills we focus on include ways to physically relax your body, finding healthier ways to rebel, breathing practices, and mindfulness meditation practices.
Week 9 Schedule:
Day One — Planning for Dialectical Abstinence
Skill — Paired muscle relaxation
Day Two — Alternate Rebellion
Skill — Paced breathing
Day Three — Clean Mind vs. Clear Mind
Skill — Mindfulness meditation
We teach a number of life skills through the course of treatment here at Continuum Outpatient. We believe that learning to set boundaries and find balance in your life are fundamental parts of recovery.
Throughout the course of treatment, you will learn skills to help you set and maintain boundaries with yourself and the people in your life. You will learn how to say no, even when it feels difficult. You will also learn about how to balance your life by taking time for yourself and learning to cope with stressful situations without turning to unhealthy coping methods. Developing these skills will help you find long-term success in recovery.
Some of the tools used to teach about boundaries include:
Week 10 Schedule:
Day One — Myths About Boundaries
Skill — ACCEPTS
Day Two — Burning and Building Bridges
Skill — The four types of boundaries
Day Three — Values and Priorities List (DBT)
Skill — Self-care wheel
Mental illness and substance use both take a major toll on the body and the mind. In addition, a lack of self-care often makes many disorders worse and more difficult to overcome. It is a vicious cycle. Our program puts an emphasis on making time for yourself and tending to your emotional, physical, psychological, and medical needs. We’re able to get your mind and body back on track toward wellness.
This is taught in our program through a medical presentation that teaches you to understand your own strengths, care for your body and mind, and ensure that you get quality sleep.
Week 11 Schedule:
Day One — Medical Presentation
Day Two — Taking Care of Your Mind by Taking Care of Your Body (DBT)
Skill — My strengths and qualities
Day Three — Sleep Hygiene (DBT)
Skill — Nightmare protocol
It is very common for substance use disorders and mental health issues to cause behavioral issues that lead to damaged relationships. It can be really hard to stay connected to your family while struggling with substance use and/or mental illness, which often results in strained or broken family relationships. Our treatment program teaches you how to start repairing and maintaining healthy relationships with your loved ones.
This is achieved by teaching you about codependencies and the different roles that family members take on when addiction is introduced into the family.
Week 12 Schedule:
Day One — The Five Roles in Addicted Families
Skill — Sensory awareness
Day Two — How to Break Out of Our Role
Skill — “Resource Building”
Day Three — Addressing Enmeshment
Skill — Codependency for dummies