stepping-stones-staff-web-june2016

Members of the Stepping Stones team. Front row: Kim Curtis (left) and Rae Burgess. Back row: (from left) Brian Lusk, Chris Alderman and Bert Graham.

An intensive outpatient program (IOP), Stepping Stones serves adults living with substance use disorders. The program, which meets at the Montgomery Center, is offered at three different levels, depending on the individual’s level of need:

Level III (most intensive)
• 16-18 weeks, 3x times weekly (Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays from 5:30 – 8:30 p.m.)

Level II (Continuing Care)
• 16 weeks, 2x times weekly (Tuesdays and Thursdays from 5:30 – 7:30 p.m.)

Level I (Relapse Prevention)
• One day weekly (1 hour) for two months
• Once every two weeks (1 hour) for two months
• Once monthly (1 hour) for two months – plus one, 1-hour individual session each month

The Living in Balance model, used during the initial 16 weeks of Stepping Stones, consists of 36 sessions, each covering a specific topic. The major addiction-related topics include relapse prevention, drug education, and self-help education. Physical health issues addressed include nutrition, sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), HIV/AIDS, dental hygiene, and insomnia. Psychosocial topics include attitudes and beliefs, negative emotions, anger and communication, sexuality, spirituality, and the benefits of relationships. In addition, there are sessions on money management, education and vocational development, and loss and grieving.

The family educational group of the Matrix Model – also used during the initial 16 weeks of the program – is designed to educate family and friends of those in the program about the disease of addiction and what can be expected during the recovery process. Clients are encouraged to invite someone to attend this weekly, 2-hour group with them who is a positive influence and will be there to provide support during their recovery. Education is provided about the predictable changes that are likely to occur within relationships as recovery proceeds and how those in a recovering individual’s social network can navigate these changes effectively.

Matrix Relapse Prevention Model is used in the Continuing Care portion of Stepping Stones. The Relapse Prevention (RP) group is a central component of the Matrix IOP method. These sessions are forums in which people with substance use disorders share information about relapse prevention and receive assistance in coping with the issues of recovery and relapse avoidance. The RP group is based on the following premises: (1) Relapse is not a random event; (2) The process of relapse follows predictable patterns; and (3) Signs of impending relapse can be identified by staff members and clients. The RP group setting allows for mutual client assistance within the guiding constraints provided by the counselor. Clients heading toward relapse can be redirected, while those on a sound course to recovery can be encouraged.

Program staff currently include:
Bert Graham, LPC, CSAC, CADC, has worked in the substance abuse treatment field in many different capacities over a 32-year career. Bert is a Licensed Professional Counselor, a Certified Substance Abuse Counselor, and a Certified Sex Offender Treatment Provider. He is also a Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor through the Substance Abuse Certification Alliance of Virginia (SACAVA).

Rae Burgess, MA, MS, QMHP has been employed with NRVCS since December 2014. Her education and training has been in Marriage and Family Therapy and Clinical Mental Health Counseling. She is also an evaluator with the Alliance of Therapy Dogs and has been working with her registered therapy dog for five years. Rae is currently working toward licensure as a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC).

Brian Lusk, MS, CSAC, has been employed with NRVCS since July 2013. Prior to joining NRVCS, Brian worked for 5½ years as a clinician providing Mental Health Support Services to adults in the New River Valley with co-occurring disorders. Brian is currently working toward licensure as a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) and certification as a Certified Substance Abuse Counselor (CSAC).

Kim Curtis, BS, has combined work experience of three years in mental health and substance abuse and is currently
a case manager for the Special Deliveries Program, as well as a facilitator for the Stepping Stones group.
She is an active member of the recovering community and
has herself been in recovery since 2000. Kim is currently
pursuing a (CSAC) Certified Substance Abuse Counselor credential to better serve the needs of consumers seeking treatment for addiction.

Chris Alderman, AAS, has combined work experience of five years in mental health and substance abuse and is currently a Peer Specialist and Case Manager for the Bridge Program, as well as a Peer Specialist for the Stepping Stones group. He is an active member of the recovering community and has himself been in recovery since 2004. Chris is currently pursuing a Peer Specialist certification to better serve the needs of consumers seeking treatment from addiction.

For more information about Stepping Stones, contact Brian Lusk or download the brochure.