Monica Frank, LCSW, LCADC
Monica is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and Licensed Clinical Drug and Alcohol Counselor. She has been helping people heal from trauma, depression, anxiety, and substance abuse since 2009. Monica is an eclectic practitioner who draws from motivational interviewing, EMDR Therapy, DBT, mindfulness, relational cultural theory, and body-based interventions. She works with teens and adults, is LGBTQIA affirming and welcomes any client seeking an inclusive environment for therapy.
For many people, substance use disorders are a hidden and shameful secret. Living with a substance use disorder is a lot like wearing a mask, a socially acceptable mask that covers up the shadows underneath. In the shadows exist pain, shame, and other emotions, beliefs, or experiences people have “exiled” to deep within. Substance use is a misguided protector that is working very hard to hide, avoid, or numb the pain underneath. This then creates a cycle that often leaves people feeling trapped – the person uses substances to avoid pain, substance use brings on more feelings of pain, and the person uses agin. When this cycle is accompanied by physical dependence, it can be incredibly difficult to escape. But by starting to welcome those exiled parts of ourselves instead of shaming it, we can create a bridge to healing what lies beneath the substance use.
Trauma can show up in other forms of compulsive behavior aside from substance abuse, including behaviors that might be easier to overlook. Some might identify this as the “addiction” of being busy, perfect, helpful, or perhaps inexplicably find themselves in the same toxic relationships. Monica believes that there are many pathways to recovery and aims to support the recovery process that is unique to each individual.
Our job is not to deny the story, but to defy the ending – to rise strong, recognize our story, and rumble with the truth until we get to a place where we think, “Yes. This is what happened. This is my truth. And I will choose how this story ends.”
Monica invites her clients to explore the cycle of secrecy, shame, and silence. She offers a new path through a truly supportive and non-judgemental approach to relating with her clients and shows up with openness, compassion, and humor. She believes that everyone already has all the answers inside of them – but various experiences, beliefs, cognitive patterns, and traumas first need to be waded through before you can find your solution. Healing from trauma and substance use disorders is not sequential – with the right tools and support of a safe person, healing happens simultaneously.
As there is no “one size fits all” approach to recovery, Monica has trained in many treatment modalities and incorporates breath work, mindfulness, and grounding exercises into her work. She is a trained EMDR Therapist and utilizes this powerful approach among others to tailor a treatment plan for each of her clients.
Monica additionally provides clinical supervision to social workers, drug and alcohol counselors, and peer recovery coaches throughout the state of New Jersey. She enjoys teaching and passing along the knowledge that she has learned from her mentors throughout the years. When Monica is not working, you can find her working out, teaching or practicing yoga, spending time with her husband and her two cats, or reading/watching fantasy or science fiction.