New Technology Leads to New Treatment Plans at the East Texas Treatment Facility

At the East Texas Treatment Facility in Henderson, Texas, a new programming innovation has been introduced. Staffing challenges made meeting the treatment needs of the facility difficult, so facility leaders created a more efficient approach.

Here’s how it works: programming and treatment sessions presented by East Texas counselors are broadcast from studios inside the facility – referred to as the “Zoom Room” – into multiple dorms where clients receive the information, then process it with a combination of peer-led discussions and feedback given on paper or in-person.

Remarkably, to create and establish this broadcast system, facility leaders looked no further than their own staff.

“Well, our philosophy here at the facility is ‘One team, one mission,’” says Warden Bernadette Rodriguez. “I heavily relied on the staff that we have in place to help set up the Zoom Room from the construction to the digital format to the TVs. So, they were very successful in doing so.”

East Texas Zoom Rooms Still
East Texas staff.

Joshua Pair is a substance abuse counselor coordinator. His background includes an interest in audio-visual production. He was one of those who were instrumental in creating the Zoom Room.

“I get to lean on some of that past experience,” he says. “But we are kind of learning as we go – what works, what doesn’t work – because we’re trying to apply technology to treatment, and that’s a new-ish field for what we’re trying to do. So, we’re taking a lot of suggestions from both clients and other professionals.”

“I think it’s wonderful,” says Steven Miles, facility resident. “Because now we have to listen, and we have to take it in, and we have time to digest before we see that given counselor. I think it’s conducive for our success to not be able to give feedback all the time and be able to just let it marinate on our hearts. I mean, it works well. I think MTC is doing well with it.”

East Texas Zoom Rooms Still
East Texas residents.

Zachary Gilliam is one of the residents who helps lead his dorm in the discussions that take place as part of the Zoom Room presentations.

“They’ve kind of put that ball in our court to where we can teach each other and lead by example and be a part of facilitating the groups,” he explains. “They give a ten-minute or a five-minute break here and there throughout the video to kind of keep us all engaged if you will. I’m grateful that I’ve been given a leadership role and something that I can benefit from. I just want to change myself into the best version that I can be of myself.”

“I enjoy technology, but I love when I see people change or being impacted,” says Joshua.

East Texas Zoom Rooms Still
Joshua Pair, East Texas staff member.

“And if we can just change one life,” adds Warden Rodriguez, “We’re making a big difference in this world.”