Julia Purcaro Featured in Long Island Radio – Looking Ahead

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You’re listening to Looking Ahead, sponsored by Water Gap Wellness. My name is Aynisa. Thank you so much for joining us today. So we do this show to talk about addiction recovery, mental health, and resources that are available in the community. We bring in different guests to highlight those things and really just shed some light on these topics that you might not otherwise hear about on the radio.So our guest this week is Julia Purcaro. She is the program manager for Mountainside’s outpatient treatment program located right in Huntington and their family wellness program, also outpatient. So Mountainside is a wonderful agency. They actually have several locations for detox and residential care, as well as outpatient care, focusing on mental health and addiction.

So we absolutely love working with them. Great partner to Water Gap Wellness and for a few different reasons, one of them being just the competency and uniqueness, I guess you could say, of the programs. Very progressive, very current and up to date and just teams of experts really at all of their locations.

So, I had connected with Julia a while back and really was impressed with the work that they do right in Huntington at the outpatient level. So, if you or a loved one are struggling, Please just check them out. They’re really such a great resource. Beautiful building, been there many times, and just really competent staff that are there to help you with your needs.

So Julia, I meant to say too, like, if you have the phone number at some point, if you could drop that so people listening can give you guys a call. So thank you so much for joining us. Thank you for having me. I’m so happy to be here. And yeah, we’re happy. We’re happy that you’re on. Can you tell us a little bit about just like what got you into this type of work?

Yeah. So, In undergrad, the University of Rhode Island, I took a course on family dynamics, so I’m a licensed marriage and family therapist and a credentialed substance and alcohol abuse counselor. So fell in love with the family system approach and then went to graduate school for marriage and family therapy.

Had my internship at a, at a residential substance use disorder treatment program for adolescents and worked in their family department and then kind of just. fell in love with, , this, this field of, of addiction. So what about, I know Mountainside does a ton of work with families, engages them clinically, offers education and support.

What about that is so important for our listeners? Because our listeners are everyday people that are just tuned in. What would you say is the most important part about engaging families in the work that you do? We view addiction as a family disease. So, you have someone that you love. Somebody in your family that you see struggling, doing things that are harmful to them, and it impacts every single person, that cares about them.

So it’s really important that we work with. Both the client, in their recovery process and also with the family so that we can help them heal. there’s so much trauma when you’re in kind of crisis mode for however long while this person that you love is suffering. So really giving them space to, to heal and for the family system to get healthy again, improve the dynamics, the boundaries, communication, and really just support the family members because everyone needs, to kind of.

heal and go through their own recovery process. Yeah, very well said. And I don’t think people realize how impacted the family unit is because in the crisis, the family is either. From what I’ve seen, one of two things. I mean, there’s everything in between, right? But super supportive and the person is like over relying on them.

Like, oh, they’re gonna drive me and they’re gonna, This is my advocate, right? Or, like, pushed away. Like, I do not want my family involved. They’ve been the bad guy. They keep calling me out and challenging me. So it’s very polarizing. The family dynamic, right? And then, like, the treatment experience creates an equilibrium for people that are in crisis, and it creates that, like, kind of middle ground of just, like, stability.

And when the family’s left out of that, they stay in one of those corners of, like, either I’m a super advocate, and I’m over involved and maybe enabling, or, like, I’m shunned from this person, right? So engaging the family pulls them into that middle ground, and, and, It creates that sense of stability in the family unit, which is a beautiful thing.

We, we offer family services too, and it’s always like, let’s find the middle ground here, everybody, right? Cause we don’t want to give that to the client and then send them home to the family who doesn’t have that middle point that maybe they need as well. So what would you say? Is most effective in creating that.

Is it like education, validation, like open communication? What do you think are the missing areas for families that when they come to Mountainside Outpatient and when they do this through their, your family wellness program, when they do this work, what do they benefit most from? All of what you just said. Part of it is that addiction is complicated. There’s so many different, contributing factors, and, and it’s hard to understand how this person that you love and is acting in a way that doesn’t make sense to You there’s, there’s lying, there’s manipulation, and there’s so much hurt.

So family members feel, guilt. They feel terror, everything they do is, Based off of fear of what’s going to happen to this person. So when we engage them and have, give them their own support, it’s educating them so they can have a better understanding of, the things that this person was doing, it’s not personal, they, they were, they were suffering and, their disease kind of took over.

So part of that, also just. checking in with them, giving them a space to really talk about what they’ve been through, because it’s so focused on the individual who’s abusing substances. everything’s about them and no one’s really checking in with the family. So even something as simple as saying to them, like, how are you doing with all of this can have such an impact.

So, it’s psychoeducation, and giving them space to process what they’ve been through, learning new ways to interact, how to support versus try to fix or take over someone’s recovery. And also in our clinical group that we, that we have in this program, it’s a, it’s a space to relate and speak with people who know how it feels.

I always say this is kind of one of those things that you don’t know about until you’re in it, unfortunately. And with the stigma and everything, there’s not. Many people that, a family member would feel safe or feel understood by when sharing, what’s going on with this person that they love.

I could see where a lot of family members are like, I never talked about this before. It’s embarrassing or it’s scary or it’s taboo like, all of those things. So having that lifeline and also when you were describing that I was kind of picturing like the clients are in crisis for the most part.

And they’re the identified person that needs help, and the family, I think, sometimes is quietly in crisis. Right. And then when you ask the questions, like, how are you doing? What can we do for you? All of a sudden, it kind of melts away, and they’re like, wow, yes, I need help, too. Yeah, and when the, their loved one, gets treatment, Some and they don’t, they’re sometimes left stuck kind of still in that that crisis state of and where do we go from here, and then you see this person healing and and, getting healthy and if the family doesn’t have that support to do that with them, it can make it a lot more difficult for, long term recovery and sobriety and the whole family deserves that same kind of care.

Yeah. Yeah. The healing has to be in the whole dynamic, I think. Otherwise, also the individual’s going to go right back to certain challenges within the family system. What would you say what would you say is the most common dynamic that you guys work with? Is it like parents older parents?

Is it spouses? Like who, who steps up to be most involved from what you’ve seen? I would say it’s kind of Half and half, we see a lot of parents, regardless of the age of their child, anywhere from from adolescence to could be 50s, and then also Partners spouses, that’s the majority of the the family members that we work with It seems to be kind of half and half.

Mm hmm. Yeah, and the approach that you use would you say is Like what type of therapy is like, family, like I know there’s different types of family therapies. What is the model would you say that you, you guys use? So for the family session, couple sessions, that really depends on the clinician and what’s, what’s most appropriate, emotionally focused couples therapy structural family therapy, just basic family systems.

there’s always CBT, motivational interviewing thrown into any addiction treatment. And the clinical group. We really try and parallel our substance use disorder outpatient program curriculum so that the family members and, and the, the clients in treatment get the same education and learn some of the same things, so basics skills, self care wellness, mindfulness, meditation, looking at Communication boundaries.

Grief is a big one also. So, we, we use many different modalities. And it’s really something about Mountainside is we have clinicians who have all different training, and then also receive similar training. So we’re trauma informed. And we really take an integrative approach to any client that we, that we treat.

Yeah, that’s great. So mountainside. com Yep. It’s the main website. If you go on there, there’s a locations tab and it pulls up a few different locations, which again have detox, residential and outpatient options. Mountainside in Huntington, they have their own number. Is that correct? Julia? Okay. We’ll, we’ll provide that in just a moment, right?

When we come back. But for now, the website mountainside. com does have a lot of phone numbers, a lot of information and very easy to navigate with lots of different options. It’s actually in New York, Connecticut. New Jersey and Manhattan Long Island and Manhattan in New York. So thank you so much for tuning in and we’ll be right back after this to talk more about outpatient work, addiction care, and how to incorporate families into treatment.

Welcome back. You’re listening to Looking Ahead, sponsored by Water Gap Wellness. If you hear something on this show, you have questions, you want to learn more, you could always check out watergapwellness. com. We are a very unique treatment model that treats both mental health and addiction. Co occurring, meaning together or separately if you have mental health without addiction you’re able to come to our program as well and you could call us at 646 599 0577 or check out our website.

There is no wrong way to make that first call. A lot of times families and individuals don’t know where to start. And we hear that so often on the phones where somebody calls either for the first time they’re ever reaching out for help. or the 10th time. And they’re just like, I’m overwhelmed.

I’m confused. I went on Google and there’s so many things that come up and I got rerouted to some number in Tennessee. I mean, all these things happen. So we always encourage people to call local resources, reliable, dependable. And if that’s not the right program for you, usually they can walk you through and help you navigate a little bit because that process can be daunting.

But making that first call is really the best first step. So with that in mind Julia Percaro from Mountain Time. She’s the program manager of Mountainside’s Huntington location, wonderful outpatient program. And we’re gonna talk more a little bit about the work that they do specifically with people who are struggling with addiction and their families and loved ones.

Before we do, Julia is ready to provide Mountainside’s number as well. So our Huntington location, direct line 631 456 4646, or you can also go through our admissions department and reach them at 800 500 0399. And all of that’s on the website too? Yes. Okay, perfect. So Julia, we were talking a bit, I love that notion of parallel healing that you brought up.

I think that’s, that’s cool. I want to use that going forward because I think it’s so important that you like correlate it with the patient experience, right? Because if you’re teaching skills that aren’t running parallel to each other yes, both. entities can heal, but maybe not in the same direction or on the same timeline.

And that could create maybe some confusion as well. So I think that that’s brilliant that you all do it that way. And what came to mind though, was like the denial that comes sometimes from families. So my question for you is this, when you have someone who comes to you, comes for help, and maybe had been hiding it from their family, do you find that, like, how do you navigate that initial phase of denial with the family that then The individual is not going through because they know what’s been going on and they, finally came out with it and they’re there for treatment.

If the family is in that phase I think it just comes with so many mixed feelings when I see it come up. So how do you help someone to navigate that? Like how would you help a family system navigate that? So we would start with, of course the client’s consent. Can we reach out to them? Can we reach out to your family just to introduce ourselves, and kind of start to develop over a rapport with your family member and then in those conversations, really some basic psychoeducation, and helping them understand this is what what your loved ones going through, and if appropriate, we would really appreciate it.

kind of advocate for some family sessions and have everybody come in so we could support the client in educate, helping the family understand, this is what I’ve been going through. This is why, maybe I was hiding it or maybe you weren’t aware, like the extent of it, and really just supporting them and feeling safe to have those difficult conversations. A lot of times families might take it personally. So those initial sessions just talking about the reasons why I could see being really helpful, like this is what was going on with me, and letting the families hear that that makes a lot of sense. So, As far as the, the process, like somebody comes to you for outpatient, right?

They’re coming once a week, several times a week. So we have intensive outpatient and outpatient in, in Huntington. So our intensive outpatient program is seven weeks long. It consists of four groups, four days a week. Three hour groups from 10 a. m. to 1 p. m. Monday through Thursday. And then after the first three weeks, we drop the Wednesday group and it’s just three days a week.

In conjunction with individual therapy either weekly or biweekly, really depending on the needs of the client. We have the client in, attend a psychiatric evaluation with one of our psych providers and then maybe ongoing psych services that, on an individualized basis. Mm. And we Mm.

start the process of speaking with family members if the client’s ready for that and kind of go from there. So, the intensive outpatient program, it has 24 groups total. And, we have a curriculum that really covers a lot of the different approaches to recovery. we’re not a one size fits all.

We want everybody’s different. Everybody has different needs, different experiences. And we want to make sure to educate and provide our clients with all of the different options and skills so they can pick and choose and figure out what’s, what’s going to work for me and what’s that going to look like.

Yeah, that’s great. I love that model because everyone’s built differently and you might go into it thinking you need meditation, but then coming out of it thinking that you actually need like some deep, psychotherapeutic work, right? Or fitness or something that’s completely different than what you thought in the beginning.

So the more you offer people, the more it gives them a chance to figure that out. With regards to the family wellness program, right? You had said that that is a virtual offering. Yes. Virtual New York and connect kit. Perfect. Can you talk about that a bit? Like how would a family enroll in that? Does their loved one need to be in treatment with you?

What’s kind of the criteria that you look for? So, their loved one does not need to have any affiliation with Mountainside or they can they could be in active addiction or in recovery or in treatment, it doesn’t matter, this is a program that is open to anyone and the basic criteria is Somebody that you love is abusing substances in some way, and, it’s impacting you.

So, we offer individual therapy, so this family member would be set up with their own clinician, and it could be weekly at minimum once a month, really based on their need. We have a clinical group that has a 10 week long curriculum. It’s 90 minutes a week. Tuesday evenings. And that covers a lot of the things I mentioned before, boundaries, communication, processing, grief, trauma self care, because that’s huge with families aren’t really taking care of themselves when all their energy is focused on their loved one.

So kind of bringing them back to, first, let’s start with you. And we also Offer, family and couple therapy through that program, as well as EMDR if needed, and the family wellness outpatient program offers psychiatric services as well. If somebody, is struggling with things like anxiety, depression, and may need to explore medication options, we can get them set up.

It seems incredible that you offer that and it can be independent of some a client being with you, right? It can be yeah just for family members who need support. So that’s wonderful and you take insurance with that program as well, right? Yes, we’re out of network with insurance, so we’ll always try to to that’s where we’ll start and We offer self pay rates as well If we aren’t able to work with someone’s insurance and the way to get set up in that program is is to call our main admissions line again eight hundred five zero zero zero three nine nine and answer a couple questions and then, they would get you set up with your initial appointment with your clinician.

Great stuff, Julia. Thank you for outlining that a bit. So, a couple minutes left here. What would you see is like new and on the horizon for Mountainside’s Outpatient in Huntington? I know that you’re there day in and day out. Yeah, such, such a beautiful location and, and services that they offer there.

What, what is like maybe something that you can give like a little teaser, something that you guys are working on or maybe part of the program that you’re building currently? So we, I think what’s pretty unique about our Huntington location, on Long Island compared to some of our other outpatient programs is we have such A diverse population, there’s anywhere from 18 year olds, to, to someone who’s 70 male, female, it doesn’t matter.

And it just kind of works, in, especially in our intensive outpatient group, where we have all these different walks of life, kind of coming together and supporting one another. So we’re looking at, What is what are the needs of these different populations and starting to look into some more specialized outpatient groups, maybe focusing on something like, people are struggling with anger, maybe something like that.

So we’re really trying to survey and look at our current clients, and our community and see what’s the need so we can it. And we’re trying to increase our services to really make sure we’re, we’re providing everything we can for our community. So building out different services based on what those needs are.

You guys see a diversity of needs there and you’re always trying to, yeah, that’s great. Love to hear that. What would be a message, last question for you, a message of, of hope or inspiration or motivation that you would give, let’s say a family member is listening right now and they’re like, wow, I don’t really know where to start and I’m, I’m overwhelmed.

What would be a message that you would give that person? There are services, there’s support for you, even if your loved one isn’t ready to get help. And, we can provide you with that at Mountainside. Love that, Julia. Thank you so much for joining us this week. Thank you for having me. You are a great guest.

We love working with you and your teams. Please check out mountainside. com really, really a wonderful program with locations in several states up in the Northeast and the tri state area. Mountainside. com Julia Purcaro was our guest this week, the program manager. At their Huntington outpatient location, and they off also offer family services.

So again, there’s no wrong way to make that first call. If you’re listening or you’re struggling, or a loved one of in your family is struggling, please just reach out and we’re here to support. We hope you have a wonderful week, and we hope you tune in again next week. Have a great day.

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