A mental health counselor and sex therapist who has organized a two-week virtual retreat addressing addiction and recovery topics for the public says the experience is telling her a great deal about treatment. On the positive side, “There's such heart in these people,” Erica Goodstone says of the substance use treatment leaders she interviewed for the online Healing Recovery Retreat.
On the other end of the spectrum, it is clear to Goodstone that stigma remains a potent force. She tells Addiction Professional that she expects fewer people overall to access this free event than has been the case for other summits that she has organized, such as those on love topics. She sees some registrants unsubscribing when they learn that addiction takes up a major part of the content.
“It might be upsetting people,” says the South Florida-based Goodstone, whose website describes her as a relationship healer. “They don't want to look at it. I want to reach people who might not want to face these issues.”
The May 14-27 event features free access to two presentations each day, with only a name and e-mail address required for registration. The presentations consist of interviews of around 30 minutes each, all conducted by Goodstone. Participating speakers include Mary Woods of WestBridge, Dee Ross Franklin of The Renfrew Center, Brennon Moore of The Refuge, and Rosemary O'Connor of Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation.
Goodstone says that any of the 24 presentations that make up the retreat content can be watched free of charge on the final two days of the event, May 26 and 27. There also will be an opportunity to purchase the interviews.
Woods tells Addiction Professional that WestBridge, which paid a small fee to be a sponsor of the event, saw the retreat as an opportunity to provide thought leadership around information about its specialty area of treating co-occurring disorders.
“It gave us an opportunity to talk about families, and subjects such as anchoring and enabling,” says Woods, whose organization emphasizes use of the positive construct over the negative in discussing family dynamics.
Goodstone hopes the presentations will help people understand more about the expertise they should be looking for when seeking to access treatment services. “A lot of coaches out there talk about a lot of things, and gain many followers. But there are people doing incredible work out there that people don't know about,” she says.
She adds that a couple of common themes emerged in the presentations. "One of the things I've heard over and over again is how important it is for families to be involved," Goodstone says. "And also, it's a long-term recovery. It's a marathon."