Q: What have you learned about the human brain in your time as a licensed therapist?
Bernadine Fried: Our brains are magical and mystical organs. It is a fascinating study. In recent years, further scientific information has helped explain the often complex relationship between addiction, trauma and the brain.
Q: Why is the brain so deeply affected by addiction and trauma?
Bernadine Fried: The brain shapes a person’s emotions, thoughts and behaviors while interpreting and reacting to all experiences. Traumatic experiences and addictions often impact the brain in a significant, long-lasting, way. Emotional memories are not simply erased. Oppressive negative memories need to be actively replaced by positive memories. Treatment methods are available that show promise in healing of trauma and addiction.
Bernadine Fried, founder of Wonderland EPA, discusses the core values behind the treatment center’s services.
Q: When examining your clients’ progress, what have you found to be the factor most often noted as contributing to successful treatment?
Bernadine Fried: Clients typically crave the accompaniment and attention from our compassionate staff members. A young woman in her 20s recently came to Wonderland EPA and our consistent, caring efforts have made a world of difference in her treatment. During the early stages of her stay at Wonderland, she was always overseen by our tremendous staff. This client and her parents are now regulars in our Family program.
In 2004, the husband of Bernadine Fried was undergoing treatment for addiction at the age of 42. The couple’s daughter had just celebrated her second birthday. As a licensed addiction specialist and Marriage and Family therapist, Bernadine Fried had worked in the profession for more than 15 years and was instrumental in helping her husband receive the treatment he desperately needed. After many battles with self-doubt, Fried’s husband emerged from under the dark clouds and eventually rebuilt his career and home life. Daniella is now 12 and thriving with the support of both her parents.
Motivated to continue this legacy of productive living, Bernadine Fried and her husband decided to organize the recovery community while fostering an atmosphere of teamwork. In order to reduce the mass destruction caused by addiction, the couple decided to harness their entrepreneurial spirit and start their own treatment center. Addiction is a difficult and complex disease, says Bernadine Fried. In 2009, the number of deaths associated with addiction (37,485) outnumbered deaths from vehicular accidents. When factoring in deaths related to eating disorders, behavioral addictions and smoking, the numbers are staggering.
In her two decades of professional experience, Wonderland EPA founder Bernadine Fried has used her expertise as an addiction therapist to understand the power of addiction and how best to treat this devastating disease. Despite the life-threatening consequences, many addicts continue to use. Drugs of abuse, she says, alter both the function and the structure of the brain.
Q: Where do some treatment centers fail in their strategy of assisting clients?
Bernadine Fried: Matching services, interventions and treatments to a client’s specific needs is crucial to providing optimal recovery services. One of the important goals of recovery is to integrate recovery into the client’s lifestyle. No single course of treatment works for everyone, treatment needs to be individualized. Providing individualized recovery services requires resources that many treatment centers do not have. Another issue in the past has been the lack of treatment availability. The destruction to individuals, families and communities are devastating when treatment is not readily accessible and effective.
Wonderland EPA, a trailblazer in alcohol and drug rehabilitation, recently launched Artists in Recovery, a program envisioned to serve artists, musicians and filmmakers who are struggling with addiction. Based in Laurel Canyon, California, Artists in Recovery is directed by Wonderland EPA founder and licensed therapist Bernadine Fried.
Q: What are the featured amenities available at Wonderland EPA?
Bernadine Fried: Our location includes gallery space, offices, screening rooms, a recording studio and a soundstage. Overall, the space offers members of our community a safe and comfortable place to express themselves while gaining their foundation in recovery.
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