About Pathways Florida

About Pathways Florida


Pathways Florida is located in beautiful, sunny Sarasota, Florida. Our residential treatment center is nestled in North Sarasota, just minutes from local attractions such as Marie Selby Botanical Gardens and the Ringling Museum. The Pathways Florida client residence is a 1953 motel that was purchased by First Step of Sarasota, Inc. in 1983. The building has been remodeled and has 70 furnished bedrooms. Each room allows for two clients and each room has a bathroom and closet to accommodate the clients comfortably. The residential treatment center provides a number of amenities, including an exercise area and a volleyball court.

In 2012, the Welch Family Foundation Community Room was added to the campus. This building houses First Step of Sarasota, Inc. administration and also serves as the dining hall to the Pathways Florida clients. The state of the art kitchen provides three healthy meals per day, approved by a licensed dietician. The salad bar at lunch and dinner provides additional healthy options.


Motivational Enhancement Therapy

Motivational Enhancement Therapy (MET) is a client-centered counseling approach for initiating behavior change by helping clients resolve ambivalence about engaging in treatment and stopped drug use. This approach employs strategies to evoke rapid and internally motivated change in the client, rather than guiding the client stepwise through the recovery process. This therapy consists of an initial assessment session, followed by two to four individual treatment sessions with a therapist. The first treatment session focuses on providing feedback generated from the initial assessment to stimulate discussion regarding personal substance use and elicit self-motivational statements. Motivational interviewing principles are used to strengthen motivation and build a plan for change. Coping strategies for high-risk situations are suggested and discussed with the client. In subsequent sessions, the therapist monitors change, reviews cessation strategies and continues to encourage commitment to change or sustained abstinence.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is based on the scientific fact that our thoughts cause of feelings and behaviors, not external things, like people, situations and events. The benefit of this fact is that we can change the way we think to feel/act better even if the situation does not change. CBT is based on the scientifically support assumption that most emotional and behavioral reactions are learned. Therefore, the goal of therapy is to help clients unlearn their unwanted reactions and learn a new way of reacting. While CBT therapists do not present themselves as “know-it-alls,” the assumption is that if clients knew what the therapist had to teach them, clients would not have the emotional/behavioral problems they are experiencing.

Moral Reconation Therapy

Specifically designed to meet the needs of clients with a long list of substance abuse related legal issues, the Extended Care Forensic track uses a treatment method called Moral Reconation Therapy (MRT). Pathways Florida pioneered using this evidence-based treatment method in a community-based addiction treatment setting, however, MRT was first used in the criminal justice system with great success. In short, MRT fosters the development of “pro-social” thoughts, relationships and loyalties in clients who are diagnosed with anti-social behavioral disorder. Individuals with this diagnosis tend to have no regard for laws or rules, show a lack of remorse for hurtful and illegal actions and often have repeated legal issues.

Co-occurring Disorders

The co-occurring track of the Extended Care Program was designed for clients managing an addictive disorder while being affected by mental illness and/or developmental disorders. Clients in this program receive a thorough psychiatric evaluation and, when appropriate, medication management services before learning to successfully manage mental illness and substance abuse disorders simultaneously. The Pathways Florida treatment team is trained in evidence-based practices shown to be effective in assisting co-occurring clients.

Rapid Resolution Therapy

Addressing the trauma through a specialized trauma treatment plan greatly improves the chances of sobriety in trauma victims. One treatment methodology is called Rapid Resolution Therapy® (RRT). Developed by Dr. Jon Connelly, RRT® eliminates the negative emotional or behavioral influence of traumatic events, whether these experiences are remembered, repressed or forgotten. It is not necessary to relive past events or experience any pain. The mind is cleared, organized and optimized. There are dramatic improvements in thoughts, feelings and behavior. Unconscious conflicts blocking desired changes are pinpointed and resolved. As the root cause of problems is cleared, positive change endures.

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)

As its name suggests, Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) is influenced by the philosophical perspective of dialectics: balancing opposites. The therapist consistently works with the individual to find ways to hold two seemingly opposite perspectives at once, promoting balance and avoiding black and white – the all-or-nothing styles of thinking. In service of this balance, DBT promotes a both-and rather than an either-or outlook. The dialectic at the heart of DBT is acceptance and change. DBT provides clients with new skills to manage painful emotions and decrease conflict in relationships. DBT focuses on providing therapeutic skills in four key areas: improving one’s ability to accept and be present in the current moment; distress tolerance; emotion regulation; and interpersonal effectiveness that addresses one’s communication skills. DBT treatment consists of individual therapy and skills group sessions.


Recovering from a drug or alcohol addiction can be a very difficult and taxing process. One of the most important parts of recovery is the reshaping of entire lifestyles. Reshaping lifestyles, while also learning live a life free of drugs and alcohol, can be overwhelming and cause stress and discomfort. However, keeping a positive attitude and engaging in fun and therapeutic activities, in addition to attending meetings and groups, can help make the process more comfortable.

On the residential campus, there are many activities clients can engage in for a sense of excitement and thrill to help assist them in their recovery. Among these activities are playing volleyball and basketball, exercising, and going on trust outings. Clients can also attend outside 12 Step meetings or invite family and friends to attend specific groups or attend visitation, which is held twice per week.

The residential campus offers a basketball hoop and volleyball court for clients to engage in friendly competitions with one another.

Clients can also exercise using the weight area provided on campus. The weight area has weights clients can use for resistance training and a punching bag – great for letting off some steam! Exercise provides many benefits to those in recovery, such as reducing and relieving stress, naturally altering brain chemistry, and increasing self-confidence. By exercising, clients are able to find a healthy and natural way to relieve their stress while improving both tier physical and mental health. Also, regular exercise fosters improved sleep, greater energy, and enhanced feelings of well-being, all of which make life more enjoyable and recovery that much more possible and sustainable.

In addition, clients can spend some of their time going on trust outings. Clients are given the opportunity to spend quality time off campus with their peers and staff members when they reach trust level within their program. Every Tuesday, clients go out for a fun day of bowling with their peers and staff. Every Friday, clients get to work with staff to decide where they would like to go for their trust outing. These trust outings include trips to the beach, library, bowling alley, parks, movies, museums, and the store. Not only do these trips allow clients a break from group therapy and assignments, but they also allow clients a chance to spend time with their peers in a fun and exciting environment. Building friendships and making connections with others in recovery can give clients a chance to build their support system as well as creating lasting friendships.

Along with fun and therapeutic activities, clients can also attend outside 12 Step meetings. These outside meetings include Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA). When an individual is in recovery, he or she needs the support, understanding, and encouragement of others who have been or are currently going through similar circumstances. Listening to what others in recovery have to say is one of the best things for those who are serious about their recovery.

What To Bring

  • All prescription medications, vitamins and over-the-counter medications must be turned over to staff immediately upon arrival onto campus
  • Upon admission, each client is provided a plastic storage bin that can be used to store personal food items. Outside food is permitted as long as it is pre-packaged and non-perishable.
  • Clients do not have phone or visitation privileges for the first seven days of treatment

Items you may want to bring:

  • Clothing – 7 days of comfortable/casual clothing and 3 pairs of shoes; laundry facilities are provided at no cost
  • Hangers for clothing
  • Personal hygiene products that are alcohol free: mouthwash, shampoo, conditioner, shaving supplies, deodorant, soap, feminine products, etc.
  • Hair dryer
  • Medications – must be in original prescription bottle with current date
    MP3 player that does not have internet capabilities
  • Over the counter medications and vitamins – must be in original unopened containers
  • Beach towel and bath towel
  • Blanket and pillow (Pathways Florida supplies one sheet set, one comforter, one pillow, one bath towel and one washcloth)
  • Telephone calling card/change for payphones
  • Alarm clock without radio
  • Cans of soda/bottled water – no gallon or liter size soda, no energy drinks

What not to bring:

  • Cell phone
  • Clock radios
  • Cameras or video cameras
  • Automobiles (unless approved prior to admission)
  • Bleach
  • Extension cords
  • Pornography of any kind
  • Clothing that depicts alcohol, drugs, sexual activity, racism or violence of any kind
  • Power tools
  • E-Cigarettes
  • External audio speakers