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Unity Place of Monmouth County has a host of excellent and probing group topics that allow clients to confront a particular problem or set a specific goal. The staff who lead these groups each have certain subjects that give them greatest degree of satisfaction, and that they see as offering essential benefits to their clients.

Unity recently polled the staff about the various groups as asked them to name the one that means the most to them, or to their clients.

Critical to successful recovery is belief in oneself. For that reason, two Unity counselors, Beatrice B and Kate D., regard Motivation and Self-Esteem as crucial to her clients. Kate put it as follows: “I love seeing clients building themselves and each other.”

Clients’ health often is something clients with substance use and mental health may well have neglected before they came to Unity Place.  With that in mind, Health and Nutrition is the preferred group of Chris Terry, who also happens to very much like talking about food.

Two Unity staff most enjoy Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. One of those, Nikki M., said that through CBT clients alter their thinking patters, which in turn helps them to change behaviors. Samantha A. also derives a sense of reward in guiding her clients through CBT groups.

Creating a cohesive team is something Tracy Tennis, LAC, views as critical to recovery, so Team Building ranks as her favorite. Working well together is something everyone needs and it benefits clients in their personal and professional goals.

Related to this is Social Education and Relationship and Boundaries, topics that Carolyn W. enjoys working with clients on. She wants to see them become more social and create and sustain strong relationships. This can include repairing relationships that suffered before the person entered recovery.

Tia Guerin favors Psych Ed. In that it teaches clients about their symptoms and, most importantly, makes them aware of their triggers. Awareness of triggers is critical to reducing susceptibility to relapse.

Both Jamie P. and Bridget C. enjoy doing intakes, which is central to their work. During the intake process, each say they appreciate how it gives them opportunity to get to know the person entering treatment at Unity Place. This introduction to the program gives clients a sense of the excellent care Unity will provide.


Unity Place of Monmouth made sure that clients had an entertaining and tasty Halloween, with some friendly competition added to the mix. The preparations began more than week ago as counselors decorated pumpkins that clients would vote on as part of the holiday’s festivities.

It was not only the staff’s creativity that was on display. Clients put on a talent show and choosing a winner was certainly difficult. Nor was picking the best client costume easy.

There were Halloween-themed activities, one creating mummies in short order, as clients were given 10 minutes to wrap a person in toilet paper to make a mummy of them. Another game matched to the holiday was Bingo with a spooky twist.

There is certainly no shortage of Halloween cinema, and some of Unity clients got to see ‘Gremlins.’

As for eats, before the sweets came a special order from Taco Bell, with tacos and nachos on the menu.

Halloween, falling on the last day of October as it does, meant a client of the month was named; Gary D., nominated by program director Lorraine Laura, took the honors.


Sometimes the timing of events could not be more perfect. A recent example took place this week as Judge Thad Balkman in Oklahoma meted out a fine of more than $500 million against Johnson & Johnson for its role in the opioid crisis. Like other producers of opiate painkillers, Johnson & Johnson downplayed the addictiveness of the drugs. The fine, which was levied on August 26, coincided with a week during which communities across the country will hold Overdose Awareness events.

Unity Place on Monmouth did its part this week, inviting a speaker from Recovery Advocates for the Shore (RAFTS).  Recovery Advocate David Clauser came to Unity to talk about RAFTS’ programs and the importance of fighting stigma. The organization combats stigma towards addiction, stressing that addiction is not a moral wrong but a brain disorder. Treatment, not punishment, will produce the best results for the individual and society.  Unity Place provides such treatment, including medication assisted treatment for those with an opiate addiction.

RAFTS supports and promotes recovery in many ways. It offers telephone support, which includes assistance in finding treatment.  The organization embraces all pathways to recovery: holistic, faith-based, 12-step. What is essential to any recovery is good treatment, which is precisely what clients of Unity Place receive.

RAFTS was created response to this scourge of opiate addiction in shore communities. Overdose awareness is much needed in Unity Place’s home county of Monmouth and it and in neighboring Ocean County. These two are two of the hardest hit counties in the state by the opioid epidemic.  Unity Place is doing all it can to provide quality treatment to the many in need.


Summer’s end is approaching, but Unity Place of Monmouth is making sure the clients have a memorable close to the season. Throughout August, the client

s and staff work together to prepare for  a Luau, set to take place on August 30.  Home-made grass skirts the clients make, leis and a limbo contest will be part of the island-themed festivities.

Staff are working on other games, including musical leis, a variation on musical chairs, and the tacky tourist, with contestants vying to come up with the most over-the-top tourist wear.  There will be a host of creations for clients to make as they get ready for the Luau. These include fashioning Tiki Masks, colorful fans and sun visors. In addition, clients will be constructing a totem poll for the case management room.

A Luau would not be a Luau without the right cuisine. Chef Dena and Kaitlyn will serve up Hawaiian Chicken with rice and grilled pineapple. And to top it off, a pig-shaped cake will be served for dessert.

The Luau itself will take place during the two afternoon groups on the last Friday of August. There will be a Limbo face-off and a hula-hoop contest. These special events will complement the regular end-of-the-month activities such as awards for clients.

The finale will be a pie in face of counselor, with clients to vote on the counselor to be on the receiving end. The chosen counselor will have a taste of summer to remember, while the clients will have an image to bring a smile to their faces well into fall.


Turning Point of Paterson recently hosted outreach and marketing representatives Daniel Meara and Bridget Cowan, from High Point of Flemington and Unity Place of Monmouth County, respectively. The Unity and High Point staff gave an in-service training on their facilities’ programs to the full complement of Turning Point clinicians; lunch was provided courtesy of Unity of Monmouth.

This was the second visit to Turning Point within a few months for Unity Place Jamie Paris joined Bridget at that earlier meeting.

Turning Point Clinical Discharge Planner Donnell Shearin helped arrange the recent presentation and made introductions.  Turning Point has been a good partner to Unity Monmouth and High Point, and the meeting sought to strengthen the ties between the two organizations for the benefit of the substance use clients.  One of the goals of the meeting was to ensure the best possible communication between to the organizations when making a referral, exchanging clinical information that is as thorough and timely as possible.

The clinical staff of Turning Point were impressed by the creativity of High Point and Unity outreach staff, who have developed activities to mark Gay Pride Month and Mental Health Awareness Month, and National Ice Cream Day, as well as others. These special groups engage clients and they appreciate the effort made to offer them. The two PC and IOP programs are knows for the large catchment areas they transport from.

Following the meeting, Bridget and Dan were given a tour of the facility, which ended with a brief meeting with the Manager of the Admissions Support Center. The manager is said to sit in his elevated command post like Captain Kirk of Star Trek fame.

Before leaving, the Unity and High Point representatives were presented with a certificate in appreciation of their presentation and of the ongoing partnership between the treatment organizations.


At Unity, our goal is to provide a therapeutic environment where each client can learn how to successfully handle life’s challenges.

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Suite C
Oceanport, NJ 07757


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