Evidence Based Therapies - New Dawn Treatment Centers | Northern California Rehab

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Evidence Based Therapies

What are Evidence Based Therapies?

In our 30 years of experience, we have found that our patients have the best chance at success when we are providing them with only the most tested and proven evidence based therapies. These include Cognitive Behavioral therapy (CBT), Acceptance and Commitment therapy (ACT), Motivational Interviewing, and Dialectical Behavioral therapy (DBT). Together, these evidence based therapies will have the most positive effect on an individual’s motivation to change. These therapies also help one to understand their struggles and find the courage and tools to overcome them.

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Relapse Prevention & Coping Skills

Because the rates of relapse are so high for most individuals (close to 60% for those who complete a standard 30 day residential rehab program), relapse prevention should be an essential component of any recovery program. Our participants will learn that for many, relapse is a common struggle that is part of the recovery process. We prepare our residents in case a lapse occurs by helping them understand that feeling guilt or shame for “failing” to stay sober will only make them want to drink or use more.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is very effective in helping to prevent relapse from occurring. It is an evidence-based treatment approach that explores a person’s thoughts, feelings, and behaviors in order to identify how unhelpful or faulty thinking patterns contribute to unhealthy behaviors and increased negative emotional experiences.

Being Proactive in Recovery

Through CBT, individuals can learn how to proactively apply a range of different skills in order to identify and correct behaviors that are influencing their drug or alcohol abuse. These relapse prevention skills include better self-monitoring, and learning how to avoid people, places and things that may increase one’s cravings. The ultimate goal of CBT is to help individuals develop coping strategies so that they can reduce and manage the cravings that will inevitably occur from time to time.

Creating Effective Coping Strategies

The treatment focuses on identifying an individual’s core beliefs and distorted thinking patterns and attempts to restructure one’s thoughts in order to promote positive changes in emotional state and behavior. CBT also helps individuals not only enhance their self-control capabilities, but also instructs them on how to anticipate likely problems and struggles that could arise under various potentially harmful circumstances. Once they have learned how to anticipate variables that will influence their negative behaviors associated with drug and alcohol abuse, they become better equipped at avoiding these situations so that a relapse becomes much less likely to occur.

Using CBT Skills to Stay Sober

Individuals struggling with alcohol abuse or addiction to meth, marijuana, nicotine, cocaine, and other drugs have had better outcomes with their long term sobriety after learning how to change their behaviors and cope with cravings. Research has shown that CBT skills stay with an individual long after they have graduated from an addiction treatment program, and it is perhaps the most effective treatment approach that can be applied to help individuals stay sober and free from addiction. New Dawn has licensed therapists who are trained in the CBT approach.

Family Therapy - Individual & Group

Addiction is often referred to as a “family disease”. Whether they know it or not, family members all play a role that can contribute to their loved one continuing with their addictive behaviors. They are also frequently experience feelings of shame, resentment, anger, guilt, and responsibility for the negative actions and consequences caused their loved one.

For these reasons, it is extremely important for family members to be involved in the treatment of their loved one.

What is family therapy?

Family therapy is intended to provide a safe and supportive environment where clients and their family members feel comfortable enough to share honestly about their relational experiences and challenges. They also learn how to communicate with one another more effectively. Family therapy also gives them an opportunity to work through their negative feelings, and to better understand what their loved one needs from them in order to have the best chance at staying sober. Family members and loved ones are strongly encouraged to attend and participate in our weekly family group, which is offered at all our program locations (residential and outpatient).

What Happens in Family Therapy?

During family therapy groups, our marriage and family therapists discuss important topics such as enabling, codependency, and the “family disease” model of addiction. The goal is to educate families about how they can better support their loved one who is struggling with addiction, while also teaching them how to set boundaries and not feel guilty or responsible for the behaviors of the addict. In addition to weekly family groups and family visitation, clients can also set up weekly couples and/or family therapy sessions with their therapist.


In Brainspotting, clients are given the opportunity to process difficult emotions or traumatic experiences through different eye positions. With brainspotting, it is possible to identify “brainspots” linked to particular experiences, emotions, or distress sources. Mindfulness techniques are used by brainspotting therapists to help clients access, experience, and process thoughts and feelings stored within this brainspot once it has been identified.

What Can Brainspotting Help With?

Originally developed as a trauma treatment, brainspotting is now also used for depression and anxiety disorders.

Researchers are still studying the benefits and uses of brainspotting therapy, but early research suggests that it may be helpful for people struggling with:

  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or complex trauma

  • Attachment issues stemming from childhood trauma

  • Dissociative disorders

  • Emotion regulation problems, including anger issues or mood swings

  • Symptoms of depression or sadness

  • Anxiety disorders or phobias

  • Substance use disorders or addictions

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) is an evidence-based therapeutic approach that focuses on the use of acceptance and mindful awareness to assist individual’s in learning to relate differently to emotional pain.

How is Acceptance and Commitment Therapy Applied?

The core premise of ACT is that human beings tend to avoid negative emotional experiences. This defense mechanism of avoidance causes further suffering because it decreases one’s ability to engage in a life consistent with his or her personal values. ACT aims to clarify personal values and encourages those in recovery to take action based on their values so that they are able to obtain a meaningful life.

The Goal of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy

Through the use of metaphor, paradox, and experiential activities like mindful meditation, individuals learn how to be open-minded with thoughts, feelings, memories, and physical perceptions that they have previously avoided at all costs. Through group and individual counseling, individuals will eventually be able to confront and accept these impactful events, develop a better understanding about their personal values, and ultimately commit to needed behavior change.

Neurobiology of Addiction

Neurobiology of addiction is an education group that is designed to help those early in recovery understand why it was so difficult for them to stop using drugs or alcohol from a biological and neurological perspective.

The Impacts of Addiction on the Brain

The first group on neurobiology of addiction gives clients a firm grounding in the basics of neurobiology as it pertains to the causes, symptoms, and consequences of a physical or psychological dependence on alcohol or drugs. You will learn how different drugs impact the brain chemistry, and how those impacts lead to negative behaviors and an increasing need for the drug of choice.

Using Neurobiology Concepts to Avoid Relapse

In the second group we discuss ways in which a general understanding of neurobiology can make easier the transition from active addiction to early recovery, focusing on Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome (PAWS), triggers and high-risk situations.The third group tasks clients with revisiting the events and circumstances that brought them eventually to recovery.

Mindfulness and Self-Awareness

Having completed this exercise, we then move on to discuss the importance of constructing a comprehensive program of recovery, concluding with concrete ideas and guidelines.The fourth and final group in the series focuses on the importance of mindfulness. We return to themes alluded to in earlier groups: acceptance, patience and action. But we also touch on the importance of the daily practice of humility and gratitude, paying special attention to self-awareness, self-discovery, and the benefits of thinking about and helping others.

Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT)

Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) is an evidence-based therapeutic approach. The goal is to teach both problem-solving and skill building using acceptance based strategies.

How Does DBT Help?

Ultimately individuals will be able to identify how particular behaviors cause problems by better understanding the types of situations, thoughts, feelings, and behaviors that lead to these problems. They will also learn how new behaviors and skills can be used to prevent problem behaviors from ever occurring.

Who Benefits from Dialectic Behavioral Therapy?

DBT focuses on decreasing misery and distress with the use of four core skills: Mindfulness, Distress Tolerance, Emotional Regulation, and Interpersonal Effectiveness. Individuals that benefit most from DBT tend to be dual or multi-diagnosed, and can be struggling with any number of behavioral health issues. DBT has een proven in clinical studies to be very effective in treating individuals with substance abuse, eating disorders, borderline personality disorder, schizophrenia, or domestic violence trauma.

Can I Benefit from DBT?

The only way to know the answer to this question is to enroll in a program that has master’s or doctorate level therapists who have had training on DBT methods. New Dawn has both certified addiction counselors and master’s level therapists that are experienced in diagnosing and treating individuals who may benefit from DBT therapy.

Gender Specific

We believe gender specific housing and gender specific groups are extremely important in recovery because they provide individuals with the best opportunity to fully explore some of the underlying gender specific issues that are contributing to their addictive behaviors. This treatment component also encourages men and women to identify those issues that are most significant in their recovery.

Treatment Tailored for Men and Women

Women tend to use drugs and alcohol for different reasons than men, and providing gender specific group topics allows men and women the opportunity to address core gender issues and challenges in a supportive and safe environment without any distraction or judgment from the opposite sex. Men’s and women’s groups also can focus on the core struggles that are unique for each gender.

Types of Gender Specific Issues

From post traumatic stress disorder and the struggles with disordered eating and poor body image that are commonly experienced by women to the anger management and emotional intimacy issues that are commonly experienced by men, New Dawn fosters a safe and private environment where women and men can talk about the issues that are unique to their common life experiences.

12 Step Introduction

In our 12 step introduction classes, we teach the fundamental principles of the 12 step philosophy that lead to the creation of tens of thousands of AA and NA support groups all over the world. Essentially, the 12-step doctrine believes that emphasis should be placed on personal accountability. Acceptance of powerlessness in order to stop unhealthy addictive behaviors, along with the need to build a strong sober community for support are also important 12 step concepts.

Evidence Based Treatment

New Dawn is not a “12 step program”, because there is no evidence supporting the 12 steps as a successful treatment modality. We base our treatment approach on the research based outcomes showing that cognitive behavioral therapy, relapse prevention and intensive individual counseling are the most effective in helping individuals overcome their addictions. Research also shows that a person’s chance at maintaining long term sobriety is best achieved when a treatment curriculum aims to improve the mind, body and spirit. For this reason, we offer a variety of experiential activities in our residential program, including daily gym excursions, equine assisted therapy, acupuncture, mindfulness, and yoga.

12 Step & Other Support Groups

Because millions of individuals have had success staying sober after treatment with the help 12 step support groups, we do provide all of our clients with 12 step introduction. This class provides overview of the 12 step philosophy. The goal is to provide a greater understanding about how these support principles can potentially foster continued recovery after treatment ends.

Outside Meetings

We also provide our clients with the opportunity to attend and participate in several outside 12-step meetings each week, where they learn the importance of approaching their recovery from a ‘one day at a time’ perspective. These meetings, commonly referred to as AA or NA, are not mandatory. We offer many other options for our those who wish to pursue alternative avenues for sober support. Alternative support groups that are also introduced at New Dawn include SMART Recovery and LifeRing.

SMART Recovery

SMART Recovery is a fresh approach to addiction recovery. SMART stands for Self-Management and Recovery Training. This is more than an acronym: it is a transformative method of moving from addictive substances and negative behaviors to a life of positive self-regard and willingness to change.

How SMART Recovery works

Far too many people feel powerless over their lives and carry a sense of futility, a dread of staying trapped within an addiction pattern and locked into their circumstances. SMART helps them learn the skills they need to overcome their addictions and transform their lives.

SMART was created for people seeking a self-empowering way to overcome addictive problems. What has emerged is an accessible method of recovery, one grounded in science and proven by more than a quarter-century of experience teaching practical tools that encourage lasting change.

SMART is a powerful recovery community that includes passionate volunteers who recovered with SMART who are driven to help others. Peers and professionals working together fuse science and experience to help people build healthy and balanced lives.

In our mutual support meetings, offered online and in-person, participants design and implement their own recovery plan to create a more balanced, purposeful, fulfilling, and meaningful life. SMART provides specialized meetings and resources for a variety of communities, including Family & Friends, veterans, and more.

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing Therapy (EMDR)

EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) is a psychotherapy that enables people to heal from the symptoms and emotional distress that are the result of disturbing life experiences.

How EMDR works

Repeated studies show that by using EMDR therapy people can experience the benefits of psychotherapy that once took years to make a difference. It is widely assumed that severe emotional pain requires a long time to heal. EMDR therapy shows that the mind can in fact heal from psychological trauma much as the body recovers from physical trauma. When you cut your hand, your body works to close the wound. If a foreign object or repeated injury irritates the wound, it festers and causes pain. Once the block is removed, healing resumes. EMDR therapy demonstrates that a similar sequence of events occurs with mental processes. The brain’s information processing system naturally moves toward mental health. If the system is blocked or imbalanced by the impact of a disturbing event, the emotional wound festers and can cause intense suffering. Once the block is removed, healing resumes. Using the detailed protocols and procedures learned in EMDR therapy training sessions, clinicians help clients activate their natural healing processes.


A “healthy brain” is a brain in its neural dynamic stable state. Deviation from the neural cohesion and symmetry is usually a result of the brain’s exposure to trauma, either physical traumatic brain injury or psychogenic. Such trauma can trigger sleep disturbance, insomnia, post traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder and other mental disorders which are often subsequently self-medicated by those affected, compounding the changes in the brain’s physiological condition and negatively impacting an individual’s behavior.

In addition to behavioral evaluations, many scientific tests are available to directly measure the brain’s physiological properties in terms of its health condition. Studies with co-registered assessments of Positron Emission Tomography (PET) scan, Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) and Electroencephalogram (EEG) have shown that the brain metabolic rate is determined, to a great extent, by the levels of symmetry in its underlying electrical activities. Electromagnetic Brain Pulsing (EMBP) is a new, advanced and patented technology.


The essence of this electromagnetic therapy is identifying the patient’s physiological brain condition through quantitative analyses, and then, delivering a customized, magnetic pulse-matching, electromagnetic stimulation to normalize the human brain condition.

EMBP is a noninvasive, out-patient, physiological treatment procedure delivered through a mechanism called “neural modulation.” EMBP consists of three steps as it is delivered to a patient:

Recording the patient’s EEG at rest
Analyzing the EEG data by comparing them with a normative database, using an Artificial Intelligence (AI) process, to identify a patient’s characteristic alpha pattern
Delivering a pulse generator sequence that is customized according to an individual patient’s neurological pattern with its unique frequency distribution. The magnetic field treatment’s intent is to help restore the individual’s default brain state.