The Minneapolis VA Health Care System’s Addiction Recovery Services (ARS) offers one of the most comprehensive outpatient substance abuse treatment programs in the entire VA facility network. It provides care at the Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP) level and has an eight-week aftercare group for alumni. ARS also offers a relapse prevention group for clients who have completed treatment and are at-risk for or have had a relapse. ARS has been in operation since 2011, and also arranges referrals to the VA’s residential facilities for clients in need of a higher level of care.
Treatment and Staff
After an assessment, clients admitted to the IOP must attend a Monday orientation session. They then receive a treatment plan that includes group therapy three times each week and individual therapy once a week for four weeks. Groups meet on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays and clients can choose the morning track—which meets from 9 am to 12 pm—or the afternoon track, which meets from 1 to 4 pm.
Groups are led by Master’s-level therapists, including LCSWs, and use CBT and Motivational Interviewing (MI) to address problem-solving skills, relapse prevention, boundaries and addiction education. Clients in need of dual diagnosis support can participate in specialized group and individual therapy and can receive medication management from the Minneapolis VA’s mental health department. CBT groups for mental health issues are often scheduled directly before ARS groups for client convenience.
Clients enrolled in ARS’s Relapse Prevention track have the option of attending group therapy twice a week for three weeks (on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10 am to 12 pm) or once a week for 12 weeks (on Saturdays from 10 am to 12 pm).
All clients are asked to attend at least one peer-support group each week, such as AA/NA, Celebrate Recovery or SMART Recovery. ARS hosts two SMART Recovery meetings on-site each week. Clients who respond to the peer-support framework can also receive training by ARS to become peer support leaders and host ARS alumni groups.
IOP clients are asked to bring family members and/or significant others to its monthly family day for support and education. Family therapy is also available for those who wish to take an active role in their loved-one’s recovery.
ARS’s aftercare group meets once a week for eight weeks, and it has just started a series of peer-led alumni meetings, which were initiated by program graduates. ARS also offers anger management and PTSD support groups. Additionally, ARS has an Opiate Treatment Program (OTP). Physicians prescribe Suboxone and methadone and work with clients to create tapering or long-term maintenance plans.
The Minneapolis VA Health Care System’s Addiction Recovery Service offers IOP treatment, aftercare groups and a relapse prevention program. It recently instituted peer-led alumni meetings and coordinates comprehensive dual diagnosis support with the VA’s mental health department. While most VA facilities focus on residential substance abuse treatment, the Minneapolis VA’s Addiction Recovery Service continues to evolve to provide modern and effective outpatient treatment to our veterans in need.
Minneapolis VA Health Care System
Addiction Recovery Services
Mental Health Intake
Room 1P – 170
One Veterans Dr
Minneapolis, MN 55417
Minneapolis VA Health Care System Outpatient Cost: Free for US Veterans. Reach Minneapolis VA Health Care System at (612) 467-1921. Find The Minneapolis VA Health Care System on Facebook
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