McClendon Center is certified as a Day Services program through the DC Department of Behavioral Health. The Day Program identified different learning levels for clients, who are grouped according to their cognitive ability and degree of motivation. These learning levels, or tracks, include substance abuse recovery groups as well as early recovery groups for those individuals who are beginning to consider the process of recovery. The Day Program offers a morning session and an afternoon session.
The Day Program is staffed by a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker, a Licensed Professional Counselor, a Registered Nurse, a Art Therapist, a Certified Addictions Counselor, Peer Specialists, and other professionals with advanced degrees.
Individuals enter the Day Program for a variety of reasons. Some seek stability and routine in their lives, often as a stepping stone towards going back to work. Others seek to be a part of a community where they can focus on their wellness and recovery within a supportive environment, enjoying the social interaction that can be found here. Clients entering the Day Program hope to maximize their potential and develop the skills and self-confidence to achieve the goals that he or she sets.
The morning program has four tracks:
Through active discussion, clients are led by seasoned therapists in covering a variety of psychosocial and educational topics. A key part of their learning focuses on clients’ own uniquely designed treatment plans.
The afternoon program, Serenity ⬧ Transform ⬧ Achieve ⬧ Recover ⬧ Thrive (START) is geared toward clients who are ready for more advanced programming, have a wide range of needs and interests, or who have other commitments in the morning. A nutritious lunch is served each day and is free of charge for clients who attend their scheduled sessions. And for clients who do not use Medicaid vans or Metro Access, McClendon Center provides public transportation assistance.
START offers group sessions in three main areas:
The Day Program operates Monday through Friday, 8:00 am to 5:00 pm and is located at
1313 New York Avenue NW, Fifth Floor
Washington, DC 20005
The “Building Skills” component of our programming includes other aspects of life skills education as well. Through groups such as Action for Personal Choice, Health and Wellness, and Navigating Life, clients discuss, question, and learn about topics that they can apply to their own lives. Clients can walk away from each group, better prepared to be proactive with their recovery.
At our Day Program, we have two Peer Specialists on staff who facilitate groups and provide other support. Clients appreciate the fact that our Peer Specialists are often teaching what they’ve already lived through themselves. By learning from peers, clients often report that they gain a sense of empowerment and control over their own lives, when they can first see this accomplishment in the life of another.
The ‘Become Empowered’ groups are rooted in five wellness and recovery concepts: Hope, Personal Responsibility, Education, Self-Advocacy, and Support. These concepts are expressed through the following groups that articulate recovery from varying perspectives: Wellness Recovery Action Planning (WRAP), Pathways to Recovery, and Speak Up and Empowerment. Through these groups, clients develop many essential skills for maintaining their wellness and harnessing a sense of empowerment.
Examples of group activities include:
- Learning self-assessment skills to determine where they are in their own sense of wellness and recovery
- Learning methods to identify warning signs and triggers
- Identifying tools to help feel better when facing a challenging period
- Creating a crisis plan in case the need for it ever arises
- Pinpointing a contact person for additional support when needed
- Education regarding client rights and personal responsibilities
In all of the groups, clients learn the action steps necessary to being proactive in their own wellness and recovery as they continue to overcome obstacles and move towards their goals for the future.
Our expressive therapy activities facilitate self-awareness and connections between clients. Through dance, drama, yoga, music, drawing, and painting, clients find a greater ease in expressing themselves through these non-verbal activities. Often, clients who initially tend to be unresponsive to group discussions soon find that they are able to identify their concerns and interact with other group members through expressive therapies.
Traditional psycho-educational approaches stimulate one part of the brain, primarily the areas that deal with language. Expressive therapies allow individuals to access psychological information by stimulating non-verbal brain functions. By promoting creativity and self-discovery, insight can be gained into one’s life situation. As this happens, connections are made between one’s physical, visual, mental, and emotional realms. The Center provides a variety of movement and dance therapy groups, a range of art therapy groups, and music groups that facilitate engagement, thereby increasing social interaction, self-esteem, and confidence.
According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, half of those who are diagnosed with some type of psychiatric illness have additional diagnoses of drug or alcohol addiction. At McClendon Center, a special emphasis is placed on serving people with co-occurring disorders of substance abuse through our Rebuilding and Recovery Program.
Also known as “the Afternoon Program,” the Rebuilding and Recovery track is anchored by a daily Recovery Group, but includes various other groups to cover themes appropriate to this population. The Center’s Substance Abuse Services Coordinator is also a Certified Addictions Counselor. A wide variety of treatment approaches are utilized, but committing to a substance free lifestyle is what forms the basis for growth and recovery. Through discussion rooted in self-reflection and personal discovery, group members are challenged to focus on their recovery and to take things “one day at a time.” Groups that focus on life skills and expressive therapies are also vital to Rebuilding and Recovery. Art Therapy, Dance Therapy, Navigating Life, Wellness Recovery Action Planning, and Problem Solving are among the groups that are offered.
The Rebuilding and Recovery group hosts between ten and fifteen clients on any given day. These individuals have created a community based in trust and mutual support, both of which are essential when rebuilding one’s life in recovery.
Our Recovery program focuses on clients who have a dual diagnosis and are in one of the five stages of recovery: pre-contemplation, contemplation, preparation, action, and maintenance. Groups are conducted daily that focus on such areas as Recovery, Making Healthy Choices, Self Esteem, Mental Health Awareness, Breaking the Cycle, and Double Trouble, to name a few.
The Trauma Recovery program helps clients to rebuild their lives after trauma. Clients can expect to participate in groups that include psychotherapy and expressive arts therapies. Some of the topics that are addressed include: maintaining safety, coping skills for PTSD, self-care, avoiding re-traumatization, grounding skills, emotional regulation, anger management, grief work, re-building trust, and relationships, as well as the link between trauma and substance use disorders.