How one treatment center helps young men realize their dreams in recovery.
What do canines, licensed clinicians, and Christ’s love have in common? They represent the foundational pillars of Capstone Treatment Center in Searcy, Arkansas. Established in 2001 for young adult males (ages 14-25) struggling with chemical and/or process addictions as well as trauma and family conflict, Capstone treats the whole person and his loved ones. Its renowned Core Model Therapy approach incorporates marriage and family therapy, interpersonal neurobiology, and adventure therapy with specialty training in trauma and multiple addictions. Says Adrian Hickmon, PhD, founder and executive director of Capstone, “Every person was created in God’s image to love and be loved at a core-to-core level of intimacy with self, God, family, and friends, and to use his unique gifts in a meaningful, purposeful life.”
Capstone’s long-term, residential addiction treatment—between ninety and ninety-six days—allows time for lifestyle changes and healing to take place and encourages lasting recovery. Clients learn to develop deep, rich relationships within a Christ-centered environment. Their lives begin to reflect the spiritual principles of the twelve steps, including honesty, faith, courage, willingness, humility, brotherly love, and service. They work toward spiritual growth and cultivate a personal relationship with God through Jesus Christ. They become men of integrity.
“Our program is built to serve young people in recovery as well as their families,” says Hickmon. “Clinically trained therapists, coupled with the Core Model, address the underlying causes of an individual’s addiction.” Capstone focuses on the core issues, not merely the symptoms. Additionally, family recovery is held to the same standard as individual recovery. Loved ones are provided with intensive family counseling (including sibling therapy), Family Week, a two-day family retreat, aftercare calls, family relapse prevention, and an annual Capstone Family Reunion. Staff members work with families to ensure everyone—including the addict—is on the same team. Forgiveness opens the door to freedom. Freedom leads to acceptance. And acceptance is the foundation for recovery.
Man’s Best Friend
In order to meet the specific needs of every client, Capstone employs various modalities of treatment. Adventure therapy, an exercise program, and trauma therapy are just a few of the specialized services offered, but perhaps the most heartwarming of all is canine therapy.
Upon admission, each client receives his own registered Labrador retriever puppy. He begins to establish a relationship with his furry new friend. From dog walking to regular feedings to kennel cleaning, he nurtures his pup and becomes a responsible sober person. He experiences unconditional love and acceptance. Following graduation, the client takes his canine buddy home as a reminder that recovery is a daily commitment.
“Research on canine therapy indicates that being in the presence of a canine friend lowers stress levels, thus reducing factors that contribute to relapse,” Hickmon says. “The relationship with the canine enhances attachment neural pathways in the brain. The family rallies around the puppy, which serves as a positive reminder of all that was experienced and achieved during treatment. While loneliness, rejection, inadequacy, and boredom are primary triggers for relapse, a canine companion confirms that the recovering addict is not alone. The puppy provides unlimited amounts of love and is always excited to see their ‘boy,’” he adds.