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Jan 18, 2022

In this episode of Beyond Theory, Dominic Lawson interviews Mark Baumgartner, Executive Director of Virtual Intensive Outpatient Services at The Meadows Behavioral Healthcare. Baumgartner shares valuable insights into the MBH Connect program, which provides accessible, high-quality virtual care for individuals struggling with addiction and mental health issues.


Baumgartner emphasizes the importance of connection in the healing and recovery process, noting that meaningful vulnerability and authentic engagement can occur even in a virtual setting. He highlights the power of eye contact in fostering intimacy and discusses how shame, often stemming from subtle traumas, can create barriers to connection and authenticity.


The 8-week virtual IOP curriculum at MBH Connect covers essential topics such as boundaries, trauma, addiction, and recovery management. Patients can begin at any point in the cycle and receive comprehensive care that addresses underlying issues. Baumgartner also discusses the expansion of family support within the virtual IOP, including support groups, therapy, and coaching.


Drawing from his extensive experience in the field, Baumgartner stresses the significance of aspiring clinicians doing their own inner work to develop self-awareness and connect with their authentic selves. He recommends Pia Mellody's books as valuable resources aligned with The Meadows' approach to addiction treatment and trauma healing.



Key Takeaways:


1. Connection is vital for healing and recovery in addiction treatment, whether in-person or through virtual intensive outpatient programs (IOP) like MBH Connect.



2. Virtual IOP at The Meadows fosters meaningful vulnerability and authentic engagement between patients and therapists, despite the online format.



3. Subtle traumas can lead to internalized shame, creating barriers to authenticity and connection. Addressing these traumas is crucial in comprehensive addiction treatment.



4. Eye contact is a powerful form of intimacy and connection. Awareness of eye contact patterns can provide insights into one's emotional state and shame.



5. The Meadows' MBH Connect program offers an 8-week curriculum covering boundaries, trauma, addiction, and recovery management, allowing patients to start at any point.



6. Family support, including therapy, coaching, and support groups, is an essential component of virtual IOP at The Meadows.



7. Aspiring clinicians in behavioral health should focus on self-awareness and connecting with their authentic selves to provide effective addiction treatment.


8. Pia Mellody's books align with The Meadows' approach and serve as valuable resources for understanding trauma and addiction treatment.




This episode provides a fascinating look at the adaptation of intensive outpatient treatment to a virtual format, highlighting the potential for online platforms to increase access to transformative, connection-based care. Baumgartner's insights underscore the importance of addressing shame, trauma, and authenticity in the pursuit of lasting recovery and mental well-being.



Mark Baumgartner is the Executive Director of Executive Director of MBH Connect at Meadows Behavioral Healthcare. His clinical and leadership career spans more than three decades and he has a broad range of experience on the substance use disorder and mental health continuum. Find out more about his work at