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Meet Evan Amarni of Multi Concept Recovery in Burbank

Today we’d like to introduce you to Evan Amarni.

Evan, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
For many of the first years of my life, I had always tried to steer clear of drugs because I lost my father to a drug overdose when I was two years old. Aside from drinking and the occasional smoking marijuana I didn’t really get into any other substance use until I was about 18 years old which is when I started using methamphetamine. Little did I know what was waiting for me in the coming years. My meth use led me to a very dark place where I felt complete hopelessness and didn’t see any other way to live. My mother came to me one day and asked me what I was “going to do with my life now?” through a plexiglass window during a visit during my last incarceration. I always had answers for everything but I didn’t really have an answer To that question. She then said, “you like helping people, why don’t you look in to being a drug and alcohol counselor?”. That was the beginning of my journey to living the life I have today dedicated to helping those who felt the same way I have, experienced similar things as I have, and those who are addicted to some kind of substance as I had been.

I went through treatment directly after my release at Walden House in Downtown Los Angeles, an old Therapeutic Community model program, where the main focus was behavior modification. I learned to trust and listen to the staff there, following some kind of positive direction. I learned to be my “brother’s keeper” and communicate assertively and effectively to help my other peers change their behaviors as they did the same for me. I completed four months of residential treatment and two months of outpatient treatment. By the time I completed, I had a full-time job, my own car, and my own apartment in downtown Burbank. A couple of years down the road I got my first actual counseling job for that same treatment center.

I loved counseling people for their substance use disorders. Watching the light turn on in their eyes and their self-esteem increase were just a couple of the things I enjoyed but the most fulfilling part of counseling people for me was watching them reunite with their loved ones and have stronger, healthier relationships, and still, until this day, when I see a mother who is sitting in a group with her son learning how to improve their communication skills and open up I get all teary-eyed. The most beautiful thing ever.

So fast forward a bit, I also continued on with my own recovery and being of service which is how I met my partner, Eric Moore, at a local treatment center picking up guys to take them to a 12 Step meeting. We got to talking and decided that we should partner up. He was performing interventions and had a sober companion company and I just opened a private practice for counseling and started a sober companion company as well. We’ve been working together ever since. About four years ago we were discussing the idea of opening our own outpatient treatment center, and we wanted it to be a place where people felt respected, honored, cared for, and treated like individuals that they are. So we developed this idea of having two different programs under one roof that would provide people with a choice in their own recovery. We called it the Emotional intelligence and mindfulness program and the Traditional Program. We have found since we opened, that if people are given a choice in their own recovery from substances they are more invested in it and sustain it longer.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
For the most part, it has been a smooth road. Reflecting back on this question I can see that the years of experience my partner and I have definitely helped. The only reason I say for the “most part” is actually for a couple of reasons. One, finding the right people to work at Multi-Concept Recovery has not been an easy task because there aren’t many professionals that are open to learning a totally new modality to treat addiction so we had to look at strengths people already possessed that would fit well with our mission and our vision. Two, building the curriculum and structuring the program to actually work for what people would benefit most from was a bit of a challenge as well.

Multi Concept Recovery – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
Multi Concept Recovery is an outpatient treatment center for substance use disorders and finally diagnosed individuals. We provide the following levels of care: Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP), Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP), Outpatient (OP) and for those professionals who work during the day, we have an Evening Intensive Outpatient Program (PM IOP). I would say that our specialty is definitely substance use and abuse, but additionally, we have seen our program really benefit those who have survived significant traumatic experiences, and those who struggle with other more acute issues such as suicidal ideation (SI). Every person who inquires about receiving treatment with us is assessed thoroughly prior to admission. Once admitted they are assigned to a primary therapist and a primary counselor. I think too many times organizations in the private sector miss this crucial combination when providing care to their clients. From my experience, combining both therapy and drug and alcohol counseling provide the necessary support for those with substance use disorders.

We also specialize in contemplative practices (meditation). We have integrated contemplative practices with the soft science behind emotions to create the Emotional Intelligence and Mindfulness Program. This is a completely secular program that no other center offers to this day. A completely viable option to sustain recovery and alternative to the 12 Steps. Although, they blend very well!

In addition, every client receives Neurofeedback as an inclusive service in our program along with the possibility of resolving through EMDR therapy. We like to have fun at MCR too so Wednesday we mix up our programming from psychoeducation to all experiential. Starting off with Rock to Recovery in the morning and Breathwork immediately to follow, them Art Therapy and Reel Therapy.

Things I’m most proud of as a company? We accomplished quite a bit in our first year. We worked really hard to increase access to treatment, so in our first year we went in-network with several insurance companies including Anthem Blue Cross, Aetna, and Beacon Health Options and went for our Joint Commission Accreditation and the team we built is the perfect blend ranging from master level clinicians to first-year drug and alcohol counselors all with their own special skills and talents that make Multi a Concept Recovery the place it is. Lastly, but definitely not least, the work we do and have done with people that have received treatment with us is above and beyond what I have seen before. We are a small and intimate center which allows us the flexibility to treat each person as an individual and they thrive as a result.

I think what sets us apart from other treatment facilities is our organizational approach. We are Client-centered from an organizational standpoint. We provide people with good viable options when they walk through the door, we don’t force them to do anything, they have a sense of empowerment and individuality, they feel honored and know they have the support they need, providing a space for people to feel secure enough to come share openly and begin the healing process. This is what sets us apart. Partnering with the clients at the organizational level, not just at the clinician level, that’s the difference and I’m very proud of this as well.

What moment in your career do you look back most fondly on?
I am most proud of when I worked for HealthRight360 in the county jails. In four years of working with the in-custody population, we (a team of five case managers) had an 80% success rate of keeping people out of the county jail for a year or longer.

As Multi Concept Recovery is still fairly “new” I strongly believe the way we have structured everything from the clinical department to admissions, to tracking outcomes and data that it will soon become my most proud accomplishment in my career thus far.

Contact Info:

  • Address: 210 N Pass Ave, Suite 202
    Burbank, CA 91505
  • Website: www.multiconceptrecovery.com
  • Phone: 818-433-7831
  • Email: info@multiconceptrecovery.com
  • Facebook: @multiconceptrecovery

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