Howard C. Samuels, PsyD, is the founder and CEO of The Hills Treatment Center in Los Angeles, California. Samuels is a licensed therapist who holds a Doctorate in Clinical Psychology in addition to being an oft sought after professional known for his expertise in the field of addiction and recovery. Samuels has appeared on numerous television shows including Good Morning America, TODAY and Entertainment Tonight.
Samuels first began his training and work as an addiction counselor at Phoenix House in New York. He relocated to Los Angeles to pursue his Master’s degree and landed a job at the original Promises West LA, and subsequently helped open the prestigious Promises Malibu. Samuels co-founded a rehab facility called Wonderland Treatment Center before ultimately founding The Hills. His experience in dealing with addiction is vast but he is especially regarded for his knowledge in dealing with co-occurring disorders, sex and love addiction and interventions for substance abuse. Additionally, sober companionship is available as part of the intervention services provided by Samuels and The Hills.
Born and raised in New York City, Samuels hails from a very prominent East Coast family. His father was a successful politician and all of his siblings excelled academically and sought higher education at prestigious colleges. Samuels, however, battled a learning disability that was never properly diagnosed, struggled in school and started fighting his own addiction demons at a very early age. When he was only 19 years old, all of his troubles were brought to light in a very public arrest at JFK airport for cocaine and heroin possession. He was in and out of treatment after that but did not truly commit to sobriety until his father died suddenly of a heart attack in 1984. Samuels has now been clean and sober for over 30 years. As one would expect, his personal experience with addiction often informs his work and creates a level of empathy often necessary to reach those in the depths of their own substance abuse. While Samuels had planned to attend NYU with sights set on a film career, he ultimately decided to devote his life and career to the field of addiction, alcoholism and recovery.
Samuels is a big proponent of family involvement in a loved one’s intervention. Still, he truly believes the difficult but necessary boundaries family members create when someone they love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction are key to that person’s chances at survival and long-term sobriety. He advises relatives and friends to gather, sans any young children, and discuss the facts surrounding the alcoholic or addict, how their behavior has impacted them and what they what they’d like to say to them. He then meets with the family in order to practice what’s planned—identify and rehearse the list of behaviors that will no longer be tolerated and discuss potential reactions and responses from the loved one who is struggling. Samuels and the family then decide on a treatment facility to suggest. From there, the family selects a private location and invites the person struggling at a time when hopefully he or she is sober. At the intervention, Samuels advises avoiding the words “alcoholic” or “addict” or coming from a place of anger or blame. Instead he suggests focusing on starting the intervention with calm statements of loving concerns, beginning statements with with “I” or “We.” He contends the family should then ask the individual to confirm the existence of a problem. They should then be willing to listen to the addict’s response before replying with loving affirmations followed by the offer for treatment, and a explanation of what it will entail. Samuels strongly believes an intervention and subsequent invitation to get help should be the family’s final ultimatum but that the therapist or interventionist is there to help ease the denial or anger of someone who denies treatment. Samuels is a proponent of both formal, structured alcohol and drug addiction treatment in a rehab setting as well as 12-step communities such as NA and AA. The Hills incorporates 12-step recovery principles, individual therapy and group therapy into treatment in addition to providing detox if needed.
Post-Intervention and Summary
If the client does not agree to go to a treatment facility, Samuels still deems any intervention a success as it at least forces the family to set a boundary and sends a message to their loved one that they will no longer tolerate his or her actions. He also believes it sets the wheels in motion for the individual to eventually get sober, even if it isn’t immediately.
c/o The Hills Treatment Center
8207 Mulholland Dr
Los Angeles, CA 90046
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