Few people in the field of adolescent treatment are more respected, trusted or beloved than Bill Lane. A pioneer in therapeutic transport services, Bill and his team have created a uniquely nurturing, effective approach for getting resistant young people into treatment. The following is an interview with Bill that offers a greater understanding of the services he provides.
PTC: What is the role of a therapeutic transport in the treatment process?
BL: Our primary directive is to provide a safe and caring experience to get youth from their home or hospitals, etc., to a treatment setting, such as a therapeutic boarding school, a rehab or a mental health program. It is our goal to take the fear and anxiety out of the process as best we can. The client is always treated with dignity and respect.
PTC: What are the reasons that a parent/loved one may want to use a therapeutic transport rather than just bringing their loved one to treatment?
BL: One of the main reasons is that a client reacts differently with a couple of strangers than with parents. We recognize that this is a very emotional time for the family, and this gives us an opportunity to pump the client up about the program and emphasize that this is an opportunity and is not punitive. Using a transport company makes for a smoother transition and takes a lot of the pain out of the process for the family.
PTC: What are the common misconceptions about therapeutic transports?
BL: The most common misconception is that we are goons, thugs, etc., who mishandle the client. This is far from the truth. Our agents are trained and are nothing but good, compassionate, courteous, quality professional men and women from dynamic, diverse backgrounds.
PTC: How do you ensure that the transport is safe?
BL: We always use two agents and match the gender with the client. The travel logistics are handled entirely by us prior to the trip so that the agents are never more than an inch away from the client. We also work hard to establish rapport with clients. The creation of an authentic relationship reduces the physical and emotional risks exponentially.
PTC: What type of support and education are you able to provide the family members so they feel comfortable with the process?
BL: Good communication is the key. We are in constant contact with parents, the program, consultants and referral sources. Everybody knows what to expect and when it should happen.
They are all updated on everything that happens as it is happening. There is no guessing. No needless sitting with anxiety about the unknown.
PTC: How did you become interested in providing therapeutic transports?
BL: I have been in recovery since 1962. I started his recovery in Synanon in California and then remained working for them for 12 years. Following Synanon, I worked with Cedu Schools (adolescent therapeutic boarding schools) for over 30 years. During this time I served as president of the Cedu High School and Cedu Middle School. While at Cedu, I developed the adolescent transport business because I found that students arriving at the school were in an escalated state, resisting and/or running away. This was unsafe and the treatment process was compromised. I knew something had to change. After Cedu was sold, I founded Bill Lane & Associates.
PTC: What kind of training does your company provide for the folks that are providing the transports?
BL: Our training consists of Crisis Prevention Intervention (CPI), First Aid/CPR and a lot of shadowing and on-the-job training with a senior agent. This includes the development of de-escalation tools and schmoozing (developing rapport) with the clients. All of our agents also undergo through background checks, with California agents being required to register with the California TrustLine Registry.
PTC: What would you recommend parents look for when evaluating a therapeutic transportation service?
BL: Parents should look for length of service in the industry, integrity, quality, wisdom, parent recommendations, program recommendations and training. When possible, we recommend that they make sure the service is a member of AMATS (Association of Mediation and Transport Services) Bill Lane & Associates is a founding member of AMATS, which is an association whose purpose is to establish practices and professional standards and guidelines for the transport industry. In addition, the organization insures that each company carries the proper liability insurance and that they are conducting accurate background checks on prospective agents. A family can feel secure in hiring an agent that belongs to this organization.
PTC: What is the process from the first call to the end of transport that the family and adolescent can anticipate?
BL: A: Parents, professionals or programs call our office (866-492-3400) and speak with one of our representatives who will walk them through the entire process from beginning to end. B: When meeting the client with the parents, the parents explain to their son/daughter exactly what is happening. C: Once out of the house and in the car, agents will have a chance to really defuse any anger or anxiety. Usually, once we get to the airport, things are calm. After clearing security and having breakfast with the client, contact is made with the parents, the program and the referral source to give them an update on how things are going. D: Agents continue to update the parents, program and referral source when changing planes, after landing in the destination city, and again when they are on their way to the program with an expected arrival time. E: Once arriving at the program and safely turning the client over to the staff, agents again call everybody with a final update.
PTC: Thank you for taking time to help take some of the mystery out of what can seem like a daunting process.
BL: It was my pleasure. Like yourself, we are here to be of service.
For more information, visit www.billlaneandassociates.com; or call 866-492-3400.