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051 - Travis Pantiel

Updated: Jul 13, 2021

Travis Pantiel joins us from American Addiction Centers to talk about wanting to help people from a young age, the ability to get people to open up quickly, and trauma treatment. He talks about the importance of treatment programs like theirs for professionals, and looks to the future of integrated healthcare where the boundaries between medical care, mental health, and other patient care like chiropractics or yoga can be managed in synergy for the most effective patient solution. Enjoy.

The Illuminate Recovery Podcast is about Mental Health, Mental Illness, and Addiction Recovery. Shining light on ways to cope, manage, and inspire. Beyond the self care we discuss, you may need the help of a licensed professional. Curt Neider and Shelley Mangum are a part of Illuminate Billing Advocates ( They are committed to helping better the industry and adding value to the lives of listeners by sharing tools, insights, and success stories of those who are working on their mental health.

Transcript (no grammar): travis pantel joins us from american addiction centers to talk about wanting to help people from a young age the ability to get people to open up quickly and trauma treatment he talks about the importance of treatment programs like theirs for professionals and looks to the future of integrated health care where the boundaries between medical care mental health and other patient care like chiropractic or yoga can be managed in synergy for the most effective patient solution enjoy welcome to the illuminate recovery podcast we shed light on mental health issues mental illness and addiction recovery ways to cope manage and inspire beyond the self-care we will discuss you may need the help of a licensed professional my name is kurt neider i'm a husband father entrepreneur a handyman and a student of life i avoid conflict i deflect with humor and i'm fascinated by the human experience and i'm shelley mangum i am a clinical mental health counselor and my favorite role of all times is grandma i am a seeker of truth and i feel like life should be approached with tremendous curiosity i ask the dumb questions i fill in the gaps the illuminate recovery podcast is brought to you by illuminate billing advocates make billing and collections simple with leader in substance abuse and mental health billing services verification and analysis of benefits pre-authorizations utilization management accurate claim submission and management denial and appeal management and industry leading reporting improve your practice's cash flow and your ability to help your clients with eliminate billing advocates today we've got travis pantel on with us he's an experienced licensed mental health clinician he's been in the industry for a little over 10 years he's been with american addiction centers for almost six working on a doctorate of behavior behavioral health um and as a licensed mental health counselor so thanks for coming on today travis absolutely appreciate it appreciate the invite yeah of course um you know excited to hear more about what you're working on what you're passionate about um you know maybe give us a quick little story on you know where you came from and how you ended up in the field yeah absolutely i don't know if it's a really fancy story but i have i was born in new york moved down to florida as a teenager and basically decided i don't like snow so i'm staying in florida forever i found myself very interested in helping people very early on in life and with that i found myself getting into the mental health field and since then it was kind of a straight shot all the way to right now where i decided to put myself back to the rigors and go for my doctorate because either for my ego or just for my interest in helping people it's something i felt interested in uh continuing on and especially with uh helping make mental health and behavioral health and medical health all one combined phenomenon so people don't have to go to one place or the other but actually just finally get themselves involved in all treatment at one time yeah that's fascinating so it's interesting that you say early on you got interested in helping people um and this has come up in the podcast before because a lot of the people that are in you know especially the addiction recovery substance abuse and treatment um industry get here because they've kind of come through it right a lot are in treatment a lot you know this is not exactly a field that people grow up wanting to be in except some people just have this kind of early sense of wanting to help right in fact i think we had one guest just called him helpers right he had he had learned about being a helper so where did that come from for you did you do you feel like that was instigated by a parent where do you feel like that kind of inner drive came from you know it's a good question and i don't think i knew the answer of that until i started helping others and being more influenced in the field but you know mental health and addiction runs in my family so it's um acoa if you're familiar with that adult child of alcoholics and those kind of phenomenons there's a big laundry list and i'm sure i've got a couple of them and one of them is being a helper you know learning to help where you believe you're needed and being a part of that and for me that turned into you know being able to talk to people in a way that had them open up pretty quickly and i think for me that just gravitated into using that for good and eventually winding myself up to a field where i'm able to help people on a variety of issues specifically right now it's substance use disorders and i also expertise in trauma so i do a lot of trauma work and when we look at addiction and trauma they're they're kind of like peanut butter and jelly right where you find one you're most likely going to find the other so being able to work with both it's just been something that's i don't want to say come natural or maybe it's just become normalized one of the two but it's something i'm able to do and i'm glad to be able to provide it honestly yeah so tell me about the adult child of alcoholics right is this now are you saying that this is like a symptomatic what would you even call that it's not it's not like a diagnosis obviously you're just kind of assigning terminology to kind of where you've come from but are there are there a consistent set of symptoms or traits that come from you know people who come from that same background is that what you're saying oh absolutely adult children of alcoholics or addicts there's different phrases for it's been around a long time it's an actual group but kind of like 12-step um there are people there's meetings there's all kinds of approaches to it and basically you know it is a representation of traits and features that people start to have for survival mode when they have family members friends and not just exactly parents but it could be uncles aunts grandparents um siblings it can call kind of go all different ways and it's a representation in how people learn different traits to manage whether that's handling crises or chaos or just really strict measures that they had to live by expectation-wise that were maybe necessarily normalized other people would have to experience it's it's a powerful a powerful way of describing someone's experiences in childhood when they have these other obstacles that maybe you know other parents didn't necessarily engage in our family members engage in so yeah it's it's definitely used to describe that that is super interesting so you you mentioned kind of being a helper as part of that what are some of the other traits that you know you see often so if we were to look at the laundry list there is and it's a pretty um i would say standard thing you see a lot um if i was to go over the 14 actual traits of a laundry list is becoming isolated and afraid of authority becoming approval seekers and losing identity in your own process being frightened by angry people and by personal criticism either becoming someone who struggles with addiction like alcohol or marrying someone or getting attracted to someone with a very similar concept um even the personality of that almost like a like a workaholic maybe would be a representation of that someone who has that drive and continuous need to do something and uh there are quite a few other ones like develop over develop sense responsibilities which makes us feel like right to be helpers but there's the other side of that where we have difficulty making connections with people confused love with pitying people or rescuing people getting addicted to the idea of excitement judging ourselves harshly having low self-esteem and really it kind of keeps going into it where it shows a cycle of disease if we don't if we don't do something to either manage it break away from it or understand it better so we don't fall victim to it that's super fascinating is this a community that you're active in like is this something that you do you go to groups that kind of thing or is this just something that you've kind of learned over time and so you've been able to it's not for some of those yeah it's not something i'm actively involved it's something i teach and demonstrate and you know i've been to um 12-zep meetings because i feel like you have to attend them to understand them to be able to provide that information ecoa is something i've been more just aware of and help people kind of just understand a little bit oftentimes the people i'm working with who have addiction issues often with parents who had addiction issues or runs in the family and maybe a skipped a generation sometimes you may find someone who has addiction issues their parents did not at all that's because their parents ran away from it because their grandparents their parents had addiction issues so it's a lot it's very interesting so i think just having this information you know it shows where some things may come from and and how to be aware of breaking a cycle so your own children don't fall victim to it yeah i'm sure there's plenty of people who'd be like oh i don't want to label that i don't i don't want to you know that kind of thing but right but to me i think um it's there's certainly people who can turn that into you know kind of a victim type thing or they're not in control of their life anymore but i think for most it's empowering to know like okay there's some of these things that are not intrinsic they're not me they're not my fault these are things that you know other people who come from my same background are also struggling with so to me i think there's a lot of empowerment to those types of things um another thing you were saying was that you kind of naturally well i don't know if you said naturally i'm jumping to a conclusion there you said you get people to open up quickly is that a skill that you've cultivated or is that kind of a talent that you've grown up with you know yeah i guess i never really looked that deep into it but i guess it's something i've uh i've cultivated over the years you know it's a soft skill right and it's one of those skills that it's hard to it's hard to teach someone to have persona to be personable to have those soft skills to engage in someone and make someone feel comfortable i supervise therapists and you know there's the ones that come in that do great at it and the ones that struggle a little bit for various reasons and it's not to say that they don't have skill sets but it is a harder one to to teach so i do think there is some natural ability there and people cultivated to you know meet goals for whatever they might be so yeah i guess i would say it was cultivated over time with myself and working at it but something somewhere had to had to give for me to be able to do it in the first place i think it sounds like it came natural to a certain extent why you said it um my mother had this skill this is a side a side note um and i think because of that she was not a therapist but turned out playing therapist for a lot of different people right and even at even at her funeral this was kind of like one of the big compliments that people gave her right like she could see through them right they they felt like they could be open and they felt like she understood and i and and you call it a soft skill but i i've kind of always wondered if that's something that it sounds to me like it comes more naturally to you but i i would be interested if that's something that you can kind of cultivate and i would assume that as you know therapists as an industry you kind of have to learn how to do that on some level so i think anyways as an industry goes we in school learn how to use these skills in a specific way right we learn how to use certain words certain directions certain ways of opening up a conversation through yeah different styles but you know like you mentioned with your mom there are a lot of people out there that have that empathic ability to feel and see through things and connect and you know you don't have to be a therapist to do those things it just can come naturally to people but at the same time you know going through the professional rigors and learning how to recognize the real symptoms and warning signs and how to provide long long term care that's where you take those natural skills and put it to like the professional standards of making sure people are well yeah that's a multiplication right any but anybody just likes to be heard that's the soft skill but doesn't mean that you can provide care for them necessarily well that's super fascinating so working on the doctorate now um what is what does the day-to-day look like for you at american you know what's what's your role there what are you excited about on the way to work so i've been at american addiction centers at our river oaks facility in tampa florida for quite a while since we opened actually in 2015 um and i've had a chance to kind of go through a variety of different roles and do a variety of different things as we've grown as a as a program and one of my favorite things we're doing right now is we are currently providing care and support for the people that provide care and support since covet we have seen a tremendous tremendous amount of people in the health care industry struggling right everyone's been struggling with this it's pandemic it's clear it's been difficult for just about everyone you can imagine the healthcare professionals have been on the front line and it's not even necessarily just the frontline people as you imagine like er doctors and nurses but even past that therapists have been on the front line and they have been absolutely uh inundated with more clients it has been one of the busiest years to date for almost everyone i talk to whether in private practice or a program like mine or doing something completely different everyone's seeking help which is great but at the same time overwhelming so what we started to really notice is that for physicians for nurses uh for behavior health professionals it's just really in the allied medical programs they're experiencing a lot of stress a lot of burnout and a lot of substance use to help manage that burnout so we provided a professionals program really designed to help target people in that healthcare industry but also other people who may have professional programming like licensures and certifications to keep practicing and help them return back to their their employment their profession in a safe sober way with some safe strategies so they can continue helping people without harming themselves to do it and that is a a really important place to be especially as we work forward here and have so much more you know like a spotlight on this topic yeah stressful year and different stress right nobody was nobody was programmed for this the ones the providers with experience over the last 30 years they're not ready guys fresh out of college they didn't teach anything about it there either right so but this is not necessarily for the professionals in your program these are for industry professionals across the kind of medical profession and maybe that's an assumption are these outside of medical too so we can go outside of medical i mean the program was initially thought of for specifically primary care physicians because they are the most overworked and overloaded of all the medical categories and they oftentimes are the ones seeing mental health clients more than mental health clinicians are because of just the nature of primary care unfortunately so there's a huge burnout up to 40 of positions are burned out there are articles that i was reading not too long ago saying doctors are just quitting medicine not with any backup jobs or anything else just quitting medicine because they can't handle it anymore there's too much loss too much medical bureaucracy too much you know uh barriers along the way for everyone and they just said i have had enough and unfortunately that doesn't get better unless we provide better care and support and that's the goal of this program to really make sure that support gets provided especially for those struggling with substances on top of it which a lot of people turn to alcohol turn to other substances to to manage stress right and healthcare professionals can be no different at times same thing for attorneys and nurses attorney attorneys have some of the most high level substance use that there is almost 30 percent of them struggle with depression and substance use because of it yeah those are those are both stressful jobs and substance abuse has some different connotations right because i think there's the you know illegal drugs but there are many mind-altering substances that are perfectly legal you know there's nothing wrong with a drug a doctor who has a drink from time to time but like you say that turns into stress turns that into addiction pretty quick or you know any other form of abuse i guess but so what does that program look like for you is it a is that a residential program is it an outpatient program i assume if it's a kind of designed for working professionals there's you know a schedule flexibility there how does how does that program work on a day-to-day basis so the program that i'm in is actually a full uh scale treatment it starts off with medical detox residential levels of care outpatient programming like partial hospitalization and intensive outpatient so we do have all the levels of care that one would hope for in the world of covid right now though with visitation being minimal and it's difficult to have outpatient services that are true we've been having the majority of our clients enter and detox and really stay on campus with us while they finish their treatment out and that's really been great for consistency to ensure that everything is going right in the directions they need and then by the time they leave here they have an aftercare plan that oftentimes includes going back to work and maintaining safety in fact in florida there are a couple of programs that are responsible for this for physicians and mental health professionals call the professional resource network prn and basically they step up when anyone's license is in jeopardy due to mental health or substance use and they will help that person get into treatment get themselves in a safe place and getting back into a better place and you know treatment combined with aftercare has got a very high level of success and usually with the prn program we're talking numbers of over 80 success rate which is pretty phenomenal that is phenomenal you mentioned the prn and you mentioned having licenses in jeopardy are what are the circumstances where that license is in jeopardy meaning if somebody doesn't ever do anything wrong in the workplace and they you know recuse themselves from work come get treatment and go back does that ever are there are there lines or flags that are you know kind of crossed there that put somebody in jeopardy or do they have to do something wrong in the workplace what are what are the circumstances where that licensure is kind of under investigation so historically people who struggle with substances or mental health would you know take a leave from work get treatment go back no one's really none the wiser for the most part and continue on until something happens again for programs like prn and we also have for nurses called ipn which is the intervention project for nurses basically something has to happen in the workplace or something has to happen in a legal way such as like a dui or some type of a rest or a charge that's related to substance that needs to be um identified and managed right so for medical professionals a really common thing we might notice is for nurses who are struggling diversion of medication you know taking medication from a patient and taking it for themselves is a unfortunately something that we see a lot and when that happens you know there's a it's a huge huge thing and you know hospitals want to make sure that the everyone is treated well and safe but they also want to make sure their staff are safe so uh everyone's license is including mine as a mental health professional all of our license state that if we do anything that is illegal that involves substances or mental health that there's a chance that we can lose our license due to risk of providing care in the future right if your doctor is struggling with a opiate problem there's a good chance that we may not want them continuing care while they're actively on substances right so the board of uh health you know the person's board would then see them and then prn would step it and say hey we'll help this person before they lose their license by giving them a chance to get better because everyone hopefully everyone nowadays is recognizing that addiction is a disease and there's mental health components to it and people can get better 100 but we just have to give them time and the right path which is why a program like this is not to help make that a possibility yeah that's great i'm sure i'm sure i'm sure it's been more than helpful over the last year seen a lot of those numbers go crazy so what does what does the future look like like for you what's the track on you know on your doctorate and where do you go from there personally in your career so the doctorate is it was actually started based on my interest and confusion once you get into the field of mental health and just the medical field in general you see that there is a massive divide between the two right you get medical care you go to your primary care doctor and then to get mental health care you have to go see a completely different program a therapist someone outside of that the problem is for the general public senior primary care doctor is normalized but seeing your therapist isn't as much right and i think that stigma's kind of slowing down it's it's getting better but it's still pretty significant as i mentioned before primary care physicians the primary care environment the way the whole setup is made basically sets up primary care for failure because more than 50 of mental health patients go to primary care first before they see a mental health program because it is kind of the funnel system we funnel everyone to primary care or the emergency room and then they're supposed to get diverted to something else but most of the time people don't follow up they just go back to primary care for the next crisis or emergency which historically has not been very effective you know as we see mental health becoming a massive thing in our country so this doctor that i'm working on is through arizona state university great program so far and what they're really doing is trying to promote this idea of having an integrated health care system where you put everything together and it's a one-stop shop where everything becomes normalized you see your doctor and the doctor says hey talk to this therapist for a minute about whatever's going on whether it's a major mental health crisis like depression or they just need a little weight and need some motivation strategies or maybe they just lost someone and they need a little grief work you know it's meant to kind of tackle a little bit of everything like a primary care physician does and give that person some backup because primary care physicians don't get training in mental health that they're kind of just trying to make it work and unfortunately that's not going to be the system that helps get our generation and our country in a safe mental health world and i think some of the insurance changes over the last you know 10 15 years help with that too right meaning the i can screw all the you know the different acts up but affordable care and requiring you know some of the mental health and behavioral health um insurance coverages make that a little bit bigger for an integrated health provider to combine those right because it's i mean it's going to be impossible for a behavioral health specialist to ever include the rest of the primary care you know and and that direction of health versus you kind of got to be a little bit bigger organ of his organization or at least not necessarily in size but i think it takes a different either you know small practice or a little bit larger mid mid to large size facility to be able to cover both of those and so it seems like that would help open doors for that a little bit yeah it's scale you know the scale does matter and for primary care including behavior health is is another spoke in the wheel because they include all kinds of different treatment options but mental health has been historically put to the side of the specialty um if you think of all the different types of holistic care um chiropractic um think of like yoga those holistic exercises massage all those things are considered medical and they they oftentimes have programs where all that stuff's included but mental health is slowly getting brought into it and they're seeing lots and lots of data now that says when you include all of these things together an integrated program in one place you get much better results with less health care spending which becomes a very big part of the conversation unfortunately though insurance being insurance can cause some barriers for billing and so forth which has been a kind of a large hiccup for programs that don't have the size like you mentioned before large size hospital programs they they could start including this which some of the places in florida really are thankfully however there's a lot of places a lot of rural locations that still do not have this opportunity available to them uh because of billing it's a difficult place to be you know i think everyone in the field recognizes this is not just a trend but a necessary step forward it's just the question is how do we do it in a way that works in our current medical system um making sure patients get great care but also is you know sustainable financially and that's kind of where this program goes and reviews and really starts to dive into new ideas yeah and and behavioral health like you say is one step a lot of those other ones you know the medical community has really struggled to get on the same page for a long time right i mean you mentioned chiropractics you mentioned yoga i mean it's it'd probably be pretty rare for a you know most gps to prescribe you one of those things right i mean it's pretty it seems like pretty often it ends up being rest or a pill and you know that's that treats the symptoms type thing and so it does take kind of a multi-faceted organization or really just a kind of a remarkable individual because like you said those primary care providers are just they're already taxed right they're already so busy um so that's super fascinating that's fun that's interesting that that's you know something that you're going to dive into um what else you passionate about what are you working on see other things that i'm currently working on um currently working on opening up some programs because i live in florida and in florida we have different populations of things but one of our larger populations is geriatrics and we're currently working on developing some programs especially since covit has become so isolating and detrimental to a large amount of populations especially that one concerning the the risk level that's been engaged with it i'm working with some programs partnering with them to to help develop some behavior health clinics to help restore connection reduce isolation which in turn helps with preventative medicine helps reduce depression and all those positive things that we're looking for so that's that's another thing that i'm currently working on um working with a couple different programs to develop and maintain um but really the main focus right now has been that professionals program because i think that at this very moment that is the the the largest need i can even imagine right now especially just working in the field and talking to a bunch of doctor friends and therapist friends and colleagues and just seeing the toll it's been taking on people it is it is immense yeah it's immense um a huge kind of pill to swallow and a lot of demand so that's awesome that's it's that's a great program for you guys to be focusing on excited to hear um fun to hear about some of the things you're working on um you obviously you know sounds super intelligent which i think you know certainly need in the field i think in the field there's a lot you know big spectrum top to bottom as far as you know um clinicians and administrators and that kind of thing is concerned so these these sound like super awesome initiatives um where you know for any of our listeners that want to get in touch have interest in the professionals program or any of the other things that you've talked about today you know what's the best way for them to get a hold of you so for anyone who's interested in the professionals program at overox we have a local number the local number is 813 and for anyone who may be outside of florida but interested in coming to the program do we do have a call center phone number that's open 24 hours a day with uh people that are staffed here 24 hours and help make sure their insurance works for the program or any of our other programs because there are other multiple programs in different states and that phone number is 888 891 9325 awesome and do you have for those that are out of state you have a telehealth element to that program so the thing about telehealth is uh it all goes by your licensure so in order to practice in other states we have to have licensure in other states which during covid we were actually able to do that for quite a while with the emergency orders going on but since the cope and emergency orders have reduced you know thankfully that ability's been sort of slipped away from us so at this moment for our program in florida we can provide telehealth in florida there's another program in las vegas we have one in louisiana uh california rhode island you know we have multiple different states so depending on where any of your listeners are if they have any of those states mentioned absolutely there's telehealth programs for them that they may be a great fit for perfect that's great news um thanks for your time today travis appreciate it absolutely appreciate it thank you for the invite

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