Limelight: The Sanford House Therapist Interview

limelight john street addiction treatment

The decision to get help for a substance use disorder can be a very scary prospect. In fact, the “unknowns” are a deterrent to seeking addiction treatment. So, at Sanford House we try, through our website, videos and marketing materials, to describe how the treatment experience will feel. Because, when you know what to expect, it’s not nearly as frightening.


Meet the Therapy Team…

The fear factor is probably the reason one of our most popular sections on the website, is Meet Our Team. This is where our clients and their loved ones get an introduction to the Sanford House staff – those people with whom they will be sharing their life for weeks or even months.

Introducing “Limelight”

The most important relationships our clients (and their families) will foster while in treatment and beyond, are those with their individual counselors and with the therapists who lead the many groups they will attend.


And so, over the next few weeks we present “Limelight” (a sort of Proust questionnaire). Where our therapists will answer a series of questions that illuminate everything from their taste in books to their greatest accomplishment at Sanford House. We hope you enjoy getting to know our clinical staff…


Limelight: Rae Rabideau, MS, Therapist



1. Why did you become a therapist?

I wanted to be in the social work field from the time I was fourteen. I loved that there were names for what I was feeling – that help was available. But, I come from a long line of addiction. And addiction therapy was about the last thing on my radar I thought I’d be passionate about. I got a job at Sanford House as a Residential Supervisor through a family member. At the time, I was very pregnant and writing my Master’s thesis. Rae Green (Sanford House Founder) convinced me to write my thesis on gender specific addiction treatment. And the rest, I guess you could say, is history.


2. What is your primary focus? What makes your therapy style different?

I was so relieved when I realized that our clients are just like the people I want in my life. This work is so rewarding… I focus on relapse prevention planning; shame; and family therapy. And because of my family history and the fact I no longer feel discomfort when having “that discussion,” I am empathetic to our clients’ concerns.


3. What is the key to success in recovery?

Treatment goes by faster than most people think it will. And, planning for after treatment is key to success in recovery.


4. What are the pitfalls/triggers to relapse?

The three things to avoid in early recovery are: unstructured time, boredom and isolation. I work with clients to develop a detailed plan prior to leaving treatment to promote success in recovery. If there is blank time we work together to add some ideas and suggest new things to try.


5. What other factors affect recovery?



Shame is something everybody experiences. It’s a universal emotion and a harmful one when not addressed. At Sanford House, clients explore their own shame triggers and they learn about the “anecdote” to shame.


Also, addiction affects the whole family system. It’s a family disease. Participation in family therapy is highly encouraged at Sanford House. We believe that a strong support network is a critical component to success in recovery and the opposite is also true. Family therapy helps clients and their loved ones begin to rebuild trust and practice open and honest communication. It also helps client’s and their families to get on the same page about what happens after treatment.


6. What is the most fun part of your job?

I work primarily at Sanford House at John Street for Men. And I love getting to know the guys – joking around. I also love to make John Street a place where our clients want to be. When someone enters treatment, it’s like the torch is passed and our clients seem proud to show the new guy around…


7. And the most challenging?

When it feels like, for whatever reason, a client is leaving treatment too soon. Especially if I know they would benefit from a longer stay…


8. What type of books do you read in your spare time?

I have a small child… When I read for pleasure, it’s always nonfiction. Brene Brown?


9. What is your greatest achievement as a therapist?

My most rewarding achievement is helping to launch the John Street alumnae group called “Sons of Sanford”. Because I feel so strongly about community and filling unstructured time, the alumnae group is a great way for our clients to keep in touch, bolster each other and provide meaningful activities in recovery.


10. What is your motto?

Nothing changes if nothing changes. And our House Manager, Rod Townes, says something at our John Street graduation ceremonies I like a lot. He says, Today the rubber meets the road… and you better have good treads on those tires…


11. Anything else?

Yes. This feels good – it’s a good fit. I am excited to go to work every day.



We can help.


At Sanford Addiction Treatment Centers, we want to inspire you to find your inner grit, rekindle your interests and engage your passion. Our guiding principles include a homelike environment, individualized treatment, medication-assisted and integrated therapies, robust excursions and family involvement. The treatment programs at Sanford House at Cherry Street for Women and Sanford House at John Street for Men are gender specific to foster safety, honesty and community. People in different stages of recovery need different levels of care - Sanford Outpatient Center provides connection, education and all levels of group therapy to those who are inspired to embrace sobriety in a real life environment. Sanford Virtual Addiction Treatment provides the same evidence-based practices in the comfort and safety of home.