What Is the Moving In a New Direction (MIND) Program?

The Moving In a New Direction (MIND) program is an evidence-based, cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) treatment program that was originally developed to treat both substance use disorders and criminal behavior in men in criminal justice settings. The MIND program has also been shown to be effective in jails, community corrections, alongside parole and probation programs, in alternative treatment settings and has since been used to help women as well. 

At Lake Area Recovery Center, the MIND program is incorporated into the recovery drug court program and felony drug court program. The overall aim is to reduce rearrest, reconviction, and reincarceration by helping individuals to understand how negative and criminal thinking reinforce substance use while also focusing on sustained, long-term recovery. Participants also experience the benefits of a therapeutic community and its ability to strengthen their new behaviors and ways of thinking. 

What does the MIND program involve?

MIND is set up in module form, with seven different sections that are more complimentary than sequential. This flexibility allows for a certain level of customization for each individual’s needs. In addition to personal workbooks and group discussions and activities, participants will also be able to view videos that accompany each lesson, featuring firsthand experiences from prison staff who have interacted with the MIND program and inmates who have found substance use disorder recovery.

Each module introduces the participants to an overview and an outline of the stages of personal change. Participants are urged to “think about their thinking” and are introduced to basic concepts that relate to addiction and recovery. Each module takes a deep dive into the thoughts, feelings, and behaviors that have influenced and affected an individual’s course of action in the past. Using a Thinking Report, participants can then analyze these patterns to develop alternative ways of thinking and pinpoint opportunities for change, including the development of positive communication skills. 

Participants are encouraged to think comprehensively about the impact that their substance use disorder has on their own lives as well as the lives of others. Part of this self-evaluation is an examination of past relationships and what these reveal about the participant. Individuals are introduced to various treatment options to address their substance use disorder, including medications and CBT, and are educated about practical ways to prevent relapse. The final module helps participants to prepare mentally and logistically to reintegrate into everyday life, setting goals for employment, health and wellness, how to spend free time, and how to build financial stability.

The MIND program puts a strong emphasis on therapeutic communities and their importance to sustained recovery. Community members might include peers, therapists, facilitators, and others who help individuals work toward growth and healing. 

How does the MIND program help individuals with substance use disorders?

The MIND program focuses on making connections between actions, thoughts, behaviors, and participants’ current situation. How did past experiences and decisions lead them here? The goal is to understand the circumstances surrounding their substance abuse. To this end, individuals are encouraged to delve deep into understanding how emotions and thinking impact behavior. They will also learn to find opportunities for change and understand the impact that change could have on their lives. Participants are instructed in new ways of communication and helped to see the value of positive participation in the community. All the while, they are helped to recognize that their addiction is a chronic brain disease that can be treated, managed, and successfully lived with. 

A key part of this process is defining personal triggers and cravings and understanding withdrawal and tolerance. There is also a focus on problem solving and identifying distortions in thinking patterns. Once participants recognize the patterns, they can work to readjust them. Individuals finish the MIND program better able to connect with their communities and ready to take ownership of their impact on those around them. The aim is not to bring shame or guilt, but to aid in realizations and to help individuals structure their future so as to build healthier, more positive, and more sustainable lives and relationships. At the same time, they learn practical tips to manage anger, stress, disappointment and other negative emotions. 

Once a person becomes more self-aware and intentional about their decisions, they can then lead a life that does not lead them back to addiction, but instead allows them to take control of their emotions and thinking. They also learn to be constructive in their behavior. The end goal is to prevent relapse through proactive thinking and a more balanced lifestyle that does not swing into extremes. Participants will identify their personal triggers and are helped to develop ways to work through potentially high-risk situations ahead of time, so that when faced with a challenge, they can react in a new, more measured way. Trust and respect of others and of those in authority also factors into the discussion, helping individuals reject feelings of isolation and loneliness, and instead helping them to regain a sense of community.

How long does the MIND program last?

The MIND program includes seven individual modules which are beneficial when done consecutively, but can be done at each individual’s pace and according to their specific needs. Only the orientation module is given a prescribed time period, within two weeks with daily sessions of four or more hours. The entire program can be provided on a short-term (3-6 months) or long-term (6-12 months) basis, with a required total of 100 hours of interaction with treatment providers. If a medium-length program best suits a participant, the program can be adapted to accommodate them. And if needs dictate, aftercare is also available to participants once the official treatment phase ends. 

Work With the Lake Area Recovery Center

At Lake Area Recovery Center, we know that overcoming behaviors and habits can be a difficult process. But we also know that recovery and growth are possible – we see it happen everyday. If you find yourself in a situation where you have dealt with the criminal justice system and also are working through a substance use disorder, it’s vital to understand the thinking, actions, and environments that are behind your situation. Knowing these truths can make recovery and transition to life at home more doable. Don’t wait – reach out to our team to learn more about the Moving In a New Direction (MIND) Program, or to get more information about our addiction treatment center and drug and alcohol rehabilitation centers in Ohio.