In this podcast, Monnie Furlong and Dr. Alexis Poles talk about the 40-year-old facility, Onsite, and its newest trauma-based program Milestones.
Gina Thorne: Hi everyone, welcome to the Lakeview Podcast Series. I am joined today by Sheri Perlman from New York City who is a clinician working in the field of addiction medicine. Welcome, Sheri.
Gina Thorne: Hi everyone this is Gina Thorne, and welcome to the Lakeview Podcast Series. I’m thrilled today to be joined with Monnie Furlong with Onsite and with Dr. Alexis Poles from Milestones with Onsite. It’s nice to have both of you here.
Monnie Furlong: Thank you!
Dr. Alexis Poles: Thank you, it’s nice to be here.
Gina: Onsite has been known to be one of the premier programs in the country that works very closely with people around trauma-related issues, especially from the clinical side, I know that we speak with a lot of clinicians that do some really solid work when they go out there. Could you tell us, Monnie, a little bit about what is Onsite?
Monnie: Yes, I’d be happy to! I’d like to start with a little bit of history just because most folks know who Sharon Wegscheider-Cruse is. She’s an icon in the field who founded the ACLA movement but she started Onsite about 40 years ago based on her work with Virginia Satir in family sculpting and experiential therapies. So that is what Onsite is based on, is that work. So we have 4 ½-6 ½ day intensives, we use experiential therapy, psychodrama, equine therapy, to get underneath those issues that drive unhealthy, and addictive behaviors. So again, that’s the basis but we have many different workshops, our core workshop is the Living Centered Program.
Gina: So anybody and everybody can go to Onsite. It’s not just for someone with a strong clinical background?
Monnie: That’s a real good point and that’s a great question. Onsite is great for people who may have been in recovery and need to do some Stage 2 recovery work, looking at family origin, attachment issues, trauma issues, things like that. It’s also great for people who are just stuck in the process, stuck in their life, not having healthy relationships; they may have anger going on, some place that they’re stuck in their life, Onsite is a great place to get some movement and to bring balance back to their life.
Gina: I know that I’ve had just great feedback from friends of mine that have participated in some of these intensives and what’s most compelling to me when I talk to them is how they’ve fostered these really powerful relationships with other people in these intensives that they stay connected to, long after, in many cases years after they’ve done these intensives. It’s almost as if they have this following of alumni folks that they work with. It seems like it’s a traveling peer support group. Is that pretty accurate?
Monnie: It is accurate. I just met with a lady last night that is an alumni, and we are launching alumni programs around the country, however, once they do leave Onsite, they stay connected on their own. They have Facebook pages that are private, just for them, and they travel together, they come back to Onsite together, and they just really bond. It goes so deep, so quick, it’s really a bonding experience and you can make lifelong friendships.
Gina: And if someone wanted to know more about Onsite and how to get involved with an intensive, how would they get in touch with you?
Monnie: They can go to www.onsiteworkshops.com and our phone number is 800-341-7432 and you can ask for me, I’m Monnie Furlong, or you can ask for anyone in our admissions department. We have a great team and we’d love to support you and help you in any way.
Gina: Fantastic. Well I am going to switch gears and talk to Dr. Poles for a moment because Milestones is what you are in charge of and it’s a brand new program and it sounds like it just opened up on the campus of Onsite and you oversee the medical and soon-to-be clinical component of what Milestones is about. Can you tell us a little bit about your background first and then about what Milestones is.
Dr. Poles: Sure. I’m an addiction psychiatrist, and I’ve been in the field for about 30 years doing that kind of work at various facilities in all levels of care, actually. So that’s my general background, but I also have a special interest in therapeutic approaches because I know the limitations of medications and I think it has to be a whole package to work well together, even if medications are indicated. I’m also a certified sex addiction therapy supervisor and an EMDR consultant and trainer and training with Francine Shapiro so I do those other aspects of therapy as well.
Gina: And so you joined the milestone community recently? Have you been with them for a while?
Dr. Poles: The facility has been open for a little over a year and I’ve been there a year.
Gina: Ok, and tell us a little bit about Milestones. It’s not specific to addiction, per say, it’s more trauma-based?
Dr. Poles: It is trauma and relationally based. So we have an on-campus residence so people stay there anywhere from 30 days to 90 days but our typical length of stay is usually about 30-45 days. It’s all voluntary, obviously. It’s people who are typically in a crisis, perhaps, in their lives or their relationships, though not a crisis that would require an inpatient psychiatric hospitalization. We have 24/7 staff members there, we have a nursing component and also a psychiatric component but most of the work is therapeutically driven.
Gina: And if you were to say what that one special thing is that sets Milestones apart from other programs, what would that one thing be?
Dr. Poles: I think we blend different approaches and a loving, supportive holding place for people to be able to safely do their own work.
Gina: That’s fantastic. Well Onsite obviously has a 40-year history and having Milestones as a part of that is just a deeper dive into what trauma is going on and how to help people move into that place where they can feel like life balance is possible for them. So if someone wanted to learn more about Milestones, how could they get in touch with someone there?
Dr. Poles: The same way that Monnie recommended. Going to www.onsiteworkshops.com or 1-800-341-7432.
Gina: Ok, perfect. Well thank you both for taking the time to speak with us. I know that this is your first time visiting us at Lakeview so we’re really excited to have representation here from Onsite. For those of you that are interested in learning more about Lakeview and would like potentially see what we can offer as far as residential treatment, we invite you to visit us at lakeviewhealth.com or you can reach us at 866-887-0142.