Clinical Overview

Professionals from around the country and here in the DC Metro area refer clients to Encore to receive integrated, coordinated, and customized treatment for addiction and co-occurring disorders. Encore works closely with referring healthcare, consulting, HR, and legal professionals on a regular basis.

The Encore treatment model uses a variety of modalities to deliver effective personalized care, but our overall approach is grounded in trauma-informed treatment and the delivery of holistic care that acknowledges each client’s family and community situation. We believe that traditional methods of treating compulsive, self-destructive, and generally unsafe behavior insufficiently address underlying trauma — limitting full recovery. Although not every person referred to Encore will meet criteria for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), research indicates that the majority of individuals with addiction or substance use disorders have a history of acute or complex trauma. Substance use and other high-risk behaviors are closely associated with an accumulation of negative life experiences that prevent people from connecting with others and forming meaningful relationships and struggles managing cognitive, affective, behavioral, and autonomic responses. Pain and distress often limit tolerance of even benign interactions and may lead individuals to unhelpful and desperate means to manage intense somatic sensations, emotional sequelae, and memories.

Encore’s approach integrates interventions that address trauma-related responses, such as Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), Somatic Experiencing (SE), and Trauma-sensitive yoga. Cognitive and behavioral therapies are used as well. Specifically, our treatment utilizes Motivational Interviewing (MI), Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) strategies (i.e., dialectical, validation, and change strategies) and skills training (i.e., mindfulness, distress tolerance, emotion regulation, and interpersonal effectiveness), and other mindfulness and acceptance-based techniques to support individuals’ coping and movement towards building meaningful lives.

Part of this process incorporates intensive family therapy conducted by dedicated and licensed family therapists trained in a variety of treatment modalities. Additionally, Encore’s family program is based in Community Reinforcement and Family Training (CRAFT), which aims to teach family members how to interact with their loved ones to support change.

We create customized programs that take into account the whole person and address a variety of factors that often precipitate and contribute to substance use issues. We avoid pathologizing the person; rather, we conceptualize self-destructive behavior as a by-product of trauma, negative life experiences, and a combination of psychological and biological factors.