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.
I completed my B.A in Psychology/Chemical Dependency Counseling and internship at Johnson Institute in Minnesota. In addition, I had close personal experience with the devastation that addiction brings to families, as my dad struggled with alcoholism all of his adult life and died directly as a result of this disease in his late 50s.
I could see right away that David’s treatment modality was consistent with principles I learned in my education and training in Minnesota, a leader in addictions treatment at that time. David also had MN roots and we shared that knowledge and framework. David designed an original comprehensive adolescent treatment model that engaged the whole person, i.e., social, emotional, spiritual, behavioral and family. The program structure beyond individual psychotherapy, significant family involvement and twice weekly groups were and are David’s ‘brand.’ It was a model particularly in tune with adolescent needs. I was hired, along with another male counselor, to be therapists in a second New Direction’s location, and I was excited to work at this location, as the business was quickly expanding. Early upon my joining New Directions in 1985, I learned the material personally from David that was presented in the family program. This modality was so revolutionary, David successfully delivered highly in-demand keynote speeches on the subject nationwide for 25 years, and even has taught multiple courses at various local universities.
I later had the opportunity in 1993 to co-facilitate a workshop with David at Hazelden, to showcase the work and positive outcomes that David’s treatment model cultivated. I enjoyed the encore and had fun joining David on this project.
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. David modeled honest and ethical work in every aspect. His pursuit of bringing healing and long-term recovery to individuals and families is both evident and admired.