Addiction is a powerful force that damages real families and claims real lives. The battle against the scourge of addiction has front-line soldiers—workers whose diligent efforts and quiet professionalism make a substantial impact on a recovering person’s progress. At Transformations Treatment Center, these difference-makers are the behavioral health technicians. Like an offensive line in football, these men and women help provide protection against addiction’s destructive forces that isn’t always glorious; despite their unsung status, they are crucial components of a highly functioning addiction treatment team.

What behavioral health technicians do is both important and varied: their roles include observing the behavior patterns of clients, creating reports for review by senior team members, organizing group and recreational activities, talking with families and others in a support network, assisting with admission and program completion, helping lead individual and group therapy, ensuring proper administration of medications, ensuring unit preparation and organization, and maintaining order and cleanliness on their unit. But their impact runs much deeper than what can be written down on their clipboards.

To truly understand the benefits of a behavioral health technician’s presence requires considering some of the consequences of addiction. When people suffer from addiction, they experience an entrenched pattern of poor decision making, unhealthy interpersonal boundaries, internal chaos, low self-esteem and deficits in integrity. They also carry deep feelings of shame and fear. Problems like these seep into every aspect of a person’s life and are only corrected by the slow process of learning how to create constructive habits—which requires healthy modeling by other people and unconditional support.

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Behavioral health technicians are experts in providing these benefits. They are always on the lookout for ways to support a person in recovery, whether it’s being available for listening, offering a kind word or sometimes even sharing their own stories of struggle and triumph. Through rigorous training and experience, behavioral health technicians develop excellent instincts for detecting hindrances to a person’s recovery and helping address them. People suffering from addiction must learn how to navigate the world free of the influence of drugs and alcohol, and behavioral health technicians are often their first models in sobriety for how to do so. Techs provide examples of kind, assertive behavior: they can show clients how to negotiate conflict without causing unnecessary damage, or how to be able to express emotions in a productive way.

Freedom from active addiction happens with simple, daily, frequent input that changes the arc of a person’s thinking and behavior. In the early phases of recovery, healthy interactions with behavioral health technicians and other staff provide the stable structure and framework for new, healthier relationships, provide models for positive interactions, help people process feelings and to learn how to tolerate the presence of those feelings. Here’s a recollection from the Transformations Treatment Center team that captures the essence:

“I remember one Tech that was able to comfort a client who was afraid of being away from home for the first time and was terrified to tell others that he was badly homesick. This Tech had also left home to get clean and sober, so he could relate to the fears of revealing secrets and weaknesses and gave care and comfort when it was least expected. This young man stayed in treatment and as a result, that young man’s family has their son back, on the front line, battling another day to save one more life.”

The behavioral health technicians at Transformations Treatment Center display high levels of patience, can handle stressful and demanding situations, have exceptional observation skills, exhibit self-control and can effectively communicate with virtually everyone. Since these are the traits that tend to lead clients to successful recovery efforts, the role of our techs in delivering care is a critical one.

The field of addiction recovery relies on the men and women who engage in the work of changing lives through small, consistent actions. Each time a behavioral health technician takes the time to sit with a person who is suffering, to listen, to pray with them, or to read the Big Book together, it creates more hope and healthier bonds, and increases the chances for a successful recovery. Every day, techs are able to empathize with people who feel they can’t be understood, or they are able to share their own stories, helping to ignite the desire for healing in another human being. Each day, behavioral health technicians document the details of new, unfolding, spectacular stories of redemption and recovery. Thank one today for doing their job.

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