Timothy Sinnott, MFT, CADC-II. Photographer: www.mikechasephoto.com
In his more than 25-year career leading addiction rehabilitation programs, Timothy Sinnott, MFT, CADC-II, has approached his duties with dedication and compassion rooted in his own experiences as a counselor and as someone who once struggled with addiction himself.
Sinnott, recently appointed executive director of Bayside Marin, a residential and outpatient substance abuse treatment facility in San Rafael, California, did not set out to work in addiction treatment. He originally moved to California in 1970, operating a grocery store in the Santa Cruz area for five years. After he sold his business, he had his first experience with substance abuse counseling-as a patient. “I had no more excuses for my dependency issues,” he remembers.
His own treatment experience inspired him to obtain an advanced certification in alcohol and drug counseling. He later earned a master's degree in counseling psychology with an emphasis on marriage and family therapy. After his doctoral studies at the University of San Francisco, he began working as a counselor and steadily moved into administrative positions.
“I saw a need for people on the business side who knew how the counseling side worked,” he says. “Going into administration came out of a desire to have somebody in that part of the business who knew the work that was being done in the trenches.”
Sinnott also served as director of behavioral health services for Dominican Hospital in Santa Cruz, where he created a patient fitness center and an acupuncture program.
“Addiction is a disease of body, mind, and spirit, but often the body is the part that is treated the least,” Sinnott explains. “I believe very strongly that people need to get their bodies moving, to be in touch with their bodies and start taking care of themselves. They will feel better emotionally, mentally, and spiritually if they do that.”
This interest in a holistic approach to treatment drew Sinnott in 2003 to the Crossroads Centre in Antigua, an addiction treatment facility founded by musician Eric Clapton that integrates fitness, nutrition, massage, yoga, and other activities with a traditional 12-Step treatment program. Sinnott served as Crossroad's CEO before joining Bayside Marin, which also includes massage, yoga, tai chi, acupuncture, and other therapies in its treatment programs.
In all of his endeavors, Sinnott has strived to help his co-workers with their own professional development. “We are in a profession that is aging, and a lot of people are retiring,” he notes. “I've made a commitment that part of my responsibility is to help up-and-coming counselors and therapists to remain in this profession, and to grow.” He points out that at Bayside Marin all counselor and program assistants are enrolled in certification classes.
While at Dominican Hospital, Sinnott worked for Catholic Healthcare West, a large hospital system, while Crossroads Centre is a 36-bed facility. At 18-bed Bayside Marin, which is part of CRC Health Group, a nationwide network of behavioral healthcare centers, Sinnott feels he has the best of both worlds.
“Bayside retains the benefits of being in a small setting, but with the advantages of having the resources from a larger organization like CRC,” Sinnott says.
“One of the things that attracted me to Bayside and CRC were their mission and values,” he continues. “I'm a real big mission and values guy. These are all things that are important to recruiting and retaining new people in the profession, and they create a solid approach that I think clients benefit from, because the provision of services is better.”
Brian Albright is a freelance writer. Behavioral Healthcare 2009 April;29(4):37