Offering an Integrative Approach to Addiction Treatment
Listening to Dr. Vanessa Vergnetti, one quickly senses the passion with which she approaches the mission of Sagebrush, an addiction treatment center she founded about seven years ago.
As a naturopathic doctor, Vergnetti and her team seek to treat patients using a customized holistic approach, addressing body, mind, and spirit to identify and eliminate the root causes of addiction.
The center focuses on the needs of each individual because every patient responds and recovers in different ways. A variety of programs are used including group therapy, individual therapy (at least once a week for every patient), EMDR therapy, experiential therapy, psycho-drama. Music and art therapy are also incorporated as well as acupuncture, hypnotherapy, and massage therapy. Where appropriate, Sagebrush likes to hold family sessions or couples sessions to support both the patient and their families.
“Addiction is a comprehensive illness that affects the whole individual—body, mind, soul, family, community, workplace,” explains Dr. Vergnetti. “For example, the problem could be emotional, but what about nutrition? How can you build a healthy body if you’re not getting the proper fuel? Most of our patients come to us malnourished, without proper nutrition to heal. Our residential food program is nutritionally rich with a diverse diet of high-quality food. We look at proper diet and food as medicine. Addiction does not need to be treated with medications, although in some cases they may needed occasionally. The body can heal itself as long as it has what it needs. We believe our nutrition is the best in the country and in fact, I am the only naturopathic doctor running an addiction center.”
Dr. Vergnetti opened Sagebrush seven years ago in Great Falls with an eight-bed residential treatment facility. This was expanded to include outpatient facilities a couple of years later, and then a large outpatient clinic was added in Tysons.
Both are open seven days a week. They are preparing to open another facility in Vienna. Sagebrush has 45 employees, with eight independent contractors and the rest being full-time staff.
As Vergnetti prepared to design her center, she found that most treatment centers are hospital-based, which are not conducive to the healing that needs to happen. “Out of frustration, I decided that I could do better for this population,” she recalls. “Many in this area do not want a lower-level treatment environment. They are higher-functioning and their needs are different. We respect our clients and want to offer a place that is comfortable and homey, warm, and soft.” There are no plastic chairs for patients in these facilities.
Patients come from direct referrals by hospitals, physicians, and psychiatrists. Sometimes Sagebrush hears directly from a patient or someone who cares about the patient, like a family member or employer. Once the connection has been made, the client meets with a therapist who determines what level of care is needed and how much. The center offers residential treatment, partial hospitalization or intensive outpatient treatment. The intensive outpatient arrangement allows for those who must continue to work or maintain family obligations. The center can arrange evening or weekend schedules as the intended treatment permits.
When asked about the future, Vergnetti says, “We are growing. We have just added new staff and we have expanded our outpatient space. And there is the Vienna facility being planned. Let’s face it, the need is not going down. As the premiere facility with the most integrative and creative clinical services, Sagebrush will continue to bring the best treatment possible for our clients.”
Driving force for Sagebrush
As the CEO and founder of Sagebrush, Vanessa Vergnetti’s vision for healing, growth, and recovery are the core of her life’s work. She is steadfast and dedicated to creating sacred spaces where true transformations can occur. Her knowledge and expertise in alternative treatments to addictions and other chronic and degenerative diseases have made her a healer, teacher, and leader. She is a perpetual student in the abundance of life, holistic healing, spirituality, and divine truth. Vanessa takes a personal interest in the personal story and progress of each client. She is sincere and focused on the profound restoration of the sense of purpose in one’s life and she is determined to educate others in the benefits of recovery and a restored sense of self.
After graduating college in 1992, Vanessa worked as a drug and alcoholism counselor in Pennsylvania. Returning to school in 1997 after having two children, she studied Complementary and Alternative Medicine. After receiving her Doctor of Naturopathy (N.D.) degree, she practiced for several years in Pennsylvania as well as in Arlington, VA, before establishing Sagebrush in 2009. She earned a PhD in Natural Health in 2011.
Her unwavering devotion to manifesting the gifts of the soul, along with her courageous spirit continually inspire, encourage and guide the path, vision and cohesion of the Sagebrush team.
– excerpted from online reports