For Providers

Practice Guidelines of SEATA Providers

Self-empowerment: Providers endeavor to make treatment and related experiences as positive and self-empowering as possible, to help the client lead a meaningful and purposeful life based on the client’s values.

Client goals: Providers accept the client’s goals so long as harm is reduced. Even in a case where the client does not seek to abstain, the provider will work to promote client wellbeing. Some types of abstinence may be a condition for receiving some services (*see clarification below). Clients who only slowly engage in treatment are worked with non-confrontationally.

Scientific foundation: Providers maintain knowledge about current scientific research on addiction and recovery.

Informed consent: Providers help the client make informed choices about treatment, mutual help groups, other services, and goals, primarily by providing well-established information and asking questions about client preferences. Clients are given unbiased information about the full range of options available.

Client responsibility: Provider presents treatment and support services as adjuncts to the natural process of recovery, a process for which the client is primarily responsible, working in collaboration with the provider. Provider will refer out a client whose model of recovery is incompatible with any approach the provider offers.

Treatment matching: If treatment is not achieving desired outcomes, the provider looks for a mismatch between the treatment and the client, rather than blaming the client, and refers out if needed.

Family involvement: Concerned significant others (CSO’s) are involved in the treatment process, to the extent the adult client is willing and CSO’s are beneficial to the recovery process. Family involvement, where helpful, is a high priority for teenage clients. An empowering approach is also used with the CSO’s.

Choice of providers: Within the limits of available staff, clients may choose the providers they work with.

Presentation of outcomes: Unless a “success rate” or similar statistic can be supported by scientific research published in a peer-reviewed scientific journal, the provider will not cite one.

Licensed and certified providers: Clinical services are provided by government-licensed mental health professionals or professionals-in-training in the fields of psychiatry, psychology, social work, marriage and family therapy, professional counseling, and psychiatric nurse practice, who practice under the ethical guidelines of their professions. Alcohol and drug counseling is provided by certified counselors or counselors-in-training (or licensed counselors in some states), who operate under the ethical guidelines of their organizations. Staff who provide services that are not eligible for licensure or certification will abide by other relevant standards.

Financial transparency: If the provider pays a referral fee (or “kickback”), the client is informed of the amount of the payment and to whom it is made.

Refund for unused services: Provider refunds money on deposit for services not used (allowing for a reasonable notice of discharge).


*Clarification of the Client Goals guideline using examples:


A) Goals that would probably be acceptable to both a self-empowering and a powerlessness (or disease-oriented) provider:


1)     Client seeks to abstain from all substances except for caffeine and nicotine, but wants to continue apparently problematic patterns of eating and gambling. The self-empowering provider accepts these goals, and would also seek agreeable ways to improve eating and gambling.


B) Goals that would probably be acceptable only to a self-empowering provider:


1)     Client, once diagnosed as “alcoholic,” now seeks moderation training for alcohol use. This service is provided. Provider works to accomplish the greatest overall progress given client motivations.


2)     Someone who is abstaining from heroin wants to continue drinking alcohol and smoking marijuana. Provider accepts this goal. Provider works to accomplish the greatest overall progress given client motivations.


C) Examples of abstinence being required as a condition of services:


1)     The provider’s outpatient facility has two rules about substance use: a) no smoking cigarettes except outside in a designated smoking area, and b) no other substance use on the property. These rules are acceptable under this guideline.


2)     The provider’s residential facility requires all residents to abstain at all times from a range of substances, possibly including nicotine and caffeine, while they are in residence. This rule is acceptable under this guideline.



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