In our recent podcast, we discussed the development of the SMART Recovery Activities Scale (SRAS) checklist and some of the ways Dr. Meichenbaum views checklists as part of the recovery process. The ideas presented in that podcast were valuable not only to the SMART Recovery community, but to the larger community of professionals working in the field of addiction recovery.
For those of you not familiar with the SRAS, it is a checklist that can be used by those in recovery to assess where they are in their own recovery process. It is also a tool useful for professionals, who may have clients attending SMART Recovery meetings as part of their treatment plan.
The benefits of using a checklist, such as the SRAS, are many. Below we share with you some of the ways that checklists can be used and some of the important functions that they serve.
1. Facilitate the treatment engagement process and help individuals to collaboratively establish specific, doable, time-limited treatment goals that bolster hope.
2. Encourage a strengths-based treatment approach that highlights a practical “toolbox” of coping skills that can be revisited on demand and that can act as a reminder-list to manage cravings and behaviors.
3. Provide ongoing, real-time feedback so individuals and their health care providers can assess where participants are in their recovery process, identifying “unfinished business” and potential learning opportunities for engaging in each of the SRAS designated behaviors.
4. Enhance the likelihood of generalization and maintenance of the recovery process by soliciting an individual’s “reasons” for changing, ensuring that they take credit for changes, and bolstering self efficacy.
5. Place the participants in a “consultative role”, in the form of group discussions that encourage the participants to share the “lessons learned” with others and describe how thoughts, feelings and behaviors interconnect. In this way, the participants can internalize the language of possibilities and becoming.
6. Provide the means to anticipate and address potential barriers, and increase the likelihood of developing back-up plans and accompanying skills in a participant’s coping repertoire.
7. Encourage participants to view themselves as members of a “community of recoverers”, all of whom have gone through a similar set of skills training that reinforces similar SMART Recovery principles.
8. Engage would-be participants to join SMART and treatment, highlighting what new members may get out of some form of treatment.
9. Be used during a meeting to help stimulate discussion and to help the facilitator identify what tools/skills/areas to target for further sessions.
10. Can be shared with family and friends, so that they can see what the participant is getting out of the SMART Recovery meetings. It is a way to make a public commitment to recovery.
A new version of the SMART Recovery Activities Scale (SRAS) has just been released. This version uses a 5-point scale (“Likert scale”), rather than the yes/no scale used in the first version. Although there are no absolute scoring measures, how the participant answers the questions can be instructive for both the participant and any professional working with them. You can download the SRAS checklist from the SMART Recovery online toolbox.
Please check out our podcast where these ideas are discussed in greater depth. As always, we encourage your feedback about the SRAS, which can be e-mailed directly to Dr. Myers at Julie.Myers100@gmail.com.
Julie Myers, Psy.D., MSCP is a clinical Psychologist in San Diego, specializes in teaching self-regulatory strategies for coping with addictive behaviors, anxiety, and other mental health conditions. She is a Master Addiction Counselor, holds a Postdoctoral Masters Degree in Clinical Psychopharmacology, and serves on the California Psychological Association, Psychopharmacology Division Board. Dr. Myers has been a long-time contributor to SMART Recovery and is the co-author with Dr. Meichenbaum of the SMART Recovery Activities Scale (SRAS). You can find her blog and other helpful resources on her website: www.DrJulieMyers.com.
Donald Meichenbaum, Ph.D. is Distinguished Professor Emeritus, University of Waterloo, Ontario Canada from which he took early retirement 17 years ago to become the Research Director of the Melissa Institute for Violence Prevention, Miami: www.melissaInstitute.org. He is one of the founders of Cognitive Behavior Therapy. In a survey of clinicians, Dr Meichenbaum was voted ” one of the 10 most influential psychotherapists of the 20th century.” Dr.Meichenbaum recently received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Clinical Division of the American Psychological Association. He has presented in all 50 U.S. States and internationally . He has published extensively. His most recent book is Road Map to Resiliance: www.roadmaptoresilience.org.
Copyright (2013) Julie Myers, Pys.D. and Donald Meichenbaum, Ph.D. All Rights Reserved.