Turning Point leads culturally specific treatment in Twin Cities

Turning Point Inc. held a community meeting in mid-November to present its 2015 best practices report. The program had presentations by Ray Richardson, Merlyn Ware, Dr. Peter Hayden, Elizabeth Reed, Angela Reed and Professor Mahmoud El-Kati.

Peter Hayden
Peter Hayden

Overall, Turning Point wants to link existing practices to published literature, theories, models and specific cultural values. The organization has a vision of linking its programming and practices to research theory, created by the University of Minnesota’s Program in Health Disparities Research. Funding for this research was provided by the Office for Business and Community Economic Development.

What did the report find? The executive summary presented in the report states, “Turning Point applies concepts from theory, in a variety of its programs, including the areas of human development, behavior change, and community improvement. Turning Point develops programming that incorporates those theory concepts in areas such as client treatment, organization and administration, and community outreach. This basis, along with inclusion of African American values and principles, creates a framework for the treatment of low-income African Americans seeking treatment for substance abuse or otherwise.”

The research suggests a need for and receptivity to alcohol and substance abuse treatment among African American substance users, as well as the potential need for supportive services in certain subpopulations of African Americans (including mental health, housing and employment).

As professionals serving those with chemical dependency, staff at Turing Point understand how culture fits within the bigger picture of treatment. Turning Point President and CEO Peter Hayden stated, “This is what we do! How do you work with people that are different? That’s who we are! We went from being a halfway house to an organization that likes to think we have a room full of people that would like us to show you how to do best practices.”

Angela Reed, the organization’s support services division director, also added, “We must also go from awareness of culture to integrating cultural aspects into programming. Interactions should be tailored to the culture, community and the individual.”

Turning point uses programs that have surface as well as deep structure. Surface structure meets individuals where they are culturally and personally, while deep structure is having programs tailored to specific cultures, races, ethnicities and norms.

To make sure that Turning Point is reaching surface and deep structure with its program participants, during the intake process the organization surveys its clients to determine their background, needs, satisfaction and desired outcomes so that the appropriate accommodations can be made and the necessary supportive services provided.

Services provided to cater to the African American and Afrocentric communities include:

  • African American current event sessions
  • Study of the Negro Almanac
  • African American movies
  • Understanding of the seven basic values of African American culture (unity, self-determination, working together, supporting each other, purpose, creativity, faith)

During her public presentation, Angela Reed mentioned, “Turning Point prides itself on addressing ecological factors such as individual, interpersonal, community, organizational and societal.” They work on improving client relationships with family, friends, and the community at large, thus hopefully reducing the recidivism of addiction.

Turning Point also works to help clients build and improve their social networks and social supports. The use of positive emotions is promoted in Turning Point treatment programs as well. Being emotionally well and knowing how to express those emotions assertively is all a part of the healing and intervention process.

Turning Point strives to have a collective impact on the lives of program participants through:

  • Common agendas
  • Shared measurements
  • Mutually reinforcing activities
  • Continuous communication
  • Backbone organizations

Here are a few recommendations to better serve the community dealing with chemical dependency:

  • Fully understand unique needs of client base.
  • Use this understanding as the basis for treatment models and programming decisions.
  • Ensure clear and documented adherence to chosen treatment model and programming decisions.
  • Engage in open communication and networking to increase potential for collective impact.

Turning Point is on target for reaching best practice standards.


Brandi Phillips welcomes all comments at bphillips@spokesman-recorder.com.