Mentoring new and seasoned counselors has been a passion of David’s. He feels a sense of responsibility to share his knowledge and skills and works closely with other counselors to help them provide the most effective treatment to their clients.
David has mentored many counselors working directly with him at New Directions Program and many more at other facilities or in private practice.
Following are comments from counselors who benefitted from working with David.
My first real professional accomplishment, still proudly displayed on my office wall
On August 28, 1978, I graduated from a 28-day treatment program for substance addiction. Less than a year later, in July 1979, I was accepted as an intern at Total Health Medical Center in Oakland, California. This internship was a result of a Vocational Rehabilitation program. My training remained mundane for the first several months, and I received paltry instructions until October 15, 1979. On that day, when I came into work as usual, I walked into the main office and unexpectedly encountered a handsome young man. He introduced himself as David Gust, immediately sharing his infectious and lovely smile. Apparently, he had been hired as Treatment Lead for our unit, thereby becoming my training supervisor. At that time, I was unaware of my new, important, and lifelong friendship that had kindled simply due to employment circumstances. (more…)
He has never said “no” to helping me, no matter the reason I called.
David Gust has been a mentor and teacher to me for over twenty-five years, whether he knew it or not. I first met David at a community training he brought to El Dorado County. I remember the room being full of therapists, public health and school professionals, outreach specialists, and a young twenty-five year old addiction counselor really wanting to do good work for our teens struggling with drugs and alcohol. I had been one of those teens myself, fully in my addiction by fifteen, dropped out of high school and in my first inpatient drug treatment program by sixteen, followed by two more years of terrible progression before hitting a heavy bottom at eighteen, and finding a new direction into real recovery for the past thirty-two years. (more…)
David was always generous with his time, encouragement, and practical experience with me and countless others.
The founder of the first and, arguably the best, model of treatment of adolescents and young adults with substance use disorders is David Gust. A combination of life experiences, as well as training at the Hazelden Foundation In Minnesota, provided David with the necessary insights required for his approach to addiction treatment. David used the Minnesota-Model principles of treatment and recovery and, from the ground up, diagrammed and implemented the New Directions Model. What David developed took advantage of the techniques of intervention applied over time (necessary for adolescents) and ingeniously outlined an application of “assessments” addressing the behavioral, physical, familial, emotional, spiritual and social dimensions of substance use disorder, particularly substance dependence. (more…)
With David, any errors or room for improvement were always met with constructive feedback.
I currently work at Turning Point’s Free to Choose Program as a Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor (CADC-III). Prior to this, I worked in several capacities within the field of Chemical Dependency treatment (CD). I first began working with David Gust in September of 2017 when he hired me to work under his supervision as a counselor-in-training (RADT-I) at New Directions Program (NDP) in Fair Oaks, CA. In addition to the many hundreds of hours of regular supervision David provided as I pursued my certification (CADC-I), David devoted an equal amount of his time to help me with some of the practical aspects of being a counselor that are not as frequently addressed: these included self-care, stress tolerance and management, and personal growth and development. Among these aspects, I also had the opportunity to learn from common mistakes. (more…)
David is a remarkable human being and true leader, pioneer, and unmatched counselor
The purpose of this letter is not only to detail and explain the nature of my relationship with David Gust, but also share my beliefs regarding his character and values. First off, I have known David for twenty-five years, since 1995. Since then, our relationship has taken varying differing dynamics, ranging and progressing from mentor, to eventually colleague and trusted confidant. Over the stages of our relationship, David has always had my best interests in mind, truly focusing, striving, and guiding me to ensure I reached my personal and professional goals, all while avoiding being self-serving in nature. (more…)
Even to this day, some 35 years later, I have a deep respect for David’s work and appreciation for his innovative and inspiring leadership.
I am honored to have the opportunity to whole-heartedly endorse David and the New Directions program treatment model. I joined David and New Directions in July of 1985. I felt privileged to be on staff with David, and to have the opportunity to learn David’s comprehensive treatment model that allowed each of us (staff members) to consistently utilize a structured and effective program. He later published this program Effective Outpatient Treatment of Adolescents, which is a compilation and reflection of his work. This was a model way out in front of any other known adolescent program at that time. This was a transformative, pioneering approach to treatment and recovery that instilled David’s standing amongst the leaders in the field. (more…)
His passion to help young people was not only impressive but infectious.
In 1989, while beginning my education to become a Drug and Alcohol Counselor, I encountered David Gust. David was teaching a course on Cultural Differences in Teenage Addiction. His passion to help young people was not only impressive but infectious. It was during this class that I decided to work directly with drug and alcohol addicted teenagers. Six years later I became an AOD counselor for teenagers involved in the juvenile justice system. Because of David’s passion and infectious attitude working with adolescents, I started my career in the Group Home system eventually becoming the agency’s Executive Director for 22 years. Over the last 30 years, I have continued to attend workshops that David has presented. He continues to offer excellent workshops and share his passion just as he did when I first met him. David Gust is an excellent teacher, an effective counselor and a wonderful mentor. Thank you, David.
There are a few people we encounter in our lives who help us become more than we imagined we could be. David Gust is one of those people for me.
There are a few people we encounter in our lives who help us become more than we imagined we could be. David Gust is one of those people for me. As I was entering the field of substance abuse counseling, David had the vision to see what could be possible, and the expertise and experience to guide me toward achieving my goals. His openness and ability to understand what I was seeking - even before I could recognize it myself - gave me the confidence to take the next steps in this field. His practical direction let me see what those steps were. And, his ongoing availability and support has, in many ways, made this journey possible for me.
We spent many hours re-reading, role playing and collaborating to enhance our skills.
More than two decades ago my wife, who is a marriage and family therapist, my best friend who specializes in at-risk adolescents and myself a school counselor, set off to find training to improve skills and helping addicted adolescents. At the time David Gust was (and still is) pioneering the most effective treatment program for adolescents. We were three highly ambitious professionals willing to travel anywhere in or out of the country. David Gust’s effective outpatient treatment for adolescents became the backbone to our practices for adolescents with addictive issues. We spent many hours re-reading, role playing and collaborating to enhance our skills. EOTA remains at center-stage of our practices.
I have been incredibly grateful for all the years of the practical, real world applications of his decades of knowledge and how that undoubtedly improved my skills as a therapist.
David Gust has been professionally offering his guidance and support for substance use issues with treatment information and recovery. In 2000, I started at Kaiser’s Chemical Dependency Recovery Program and that opportunity, in retrospect, catapulted my career to today. Now, after countless moving experiences in the recovery community over these past decades, and despite entering with merely a base level of knowledge like all therapists entering the professional sphere, my compassionate drive and overall desire to better serve the broader community, is matched only by David. I have been incredibly grateful for all the years of the practical, real world applications of his decades of knowledge and how that undoubtedly improved my skills as a therapist. (more…)
David Gust exhibits the values, consistency, honesty and tenacity that has been valuable in Sacramento and in the addiction treatment field.
Over the years I’ve had the pleasure of working with David Gust as a student, Peer and a Colleague. In all 3 capacities I appreciated being guided and mentored by Mr. Gust. In 1989 he was one of the instructors at Breining Institute, who helped shape my understanding and compassion for youth in addiction. In addition to adding to the value that shaped me into an effective counselor, David’s program helped to add value to my behavioral health organization through implementation of his adolescent treatment model. David Gust exhibits the values, consistency, honesty and tenacity that has been valuable in Sacramento and in the addiction treatment field. In this field there is constant change, but one thing that has always remained the same throughout the years is David Gust and his desire, compassion and love for the recovery community. David Gust has always worked diligently to create services that are innovative and life enhancing
David saw a potential in me that I did not see.
I met David Gust in 1990. We both had recently participated in three-day men’s retreats me in Southern California and David Santa Fe New Mexico. We were both on similar journeys committed to our personal growth. We both attended same men’s groups for over 20 years which included a yearly men’s retreat. Early in these experiences we developed close relationship and became friends. In 1998 he saw that I was in a pivotal moment in my work life and suggested to me to consider being a drug and alcohol counselor. David saw a potential in me that I did not see. I have been a successful Drug and Alcohol Counselor for the past 20 years. I was 48 years old at that time and took a huge risk, with David’s encouragement and support. I completed the program, in which David was one of the experienced instructors, and launched a new chapter and career in my life. I am grateful for David’s persistence and insight. David had insight and (more…)