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Division of Public Relations and Marketing Communications
Nova Southeastern University
3301 College Avenue
Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33314-7796


SharkBytes Archives


Division of Public Relations and Marketing Communications
Nova Southeastern University
3301 College Avenue
Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33314-7796


NSU Researchers Are Pioneers in Addressing Substance Abuse Via Healthy Lifestyle Choices

Addiction Research Cited in Recent U.S. Surgeon General’s Report


FORT LAUDERDALE/DAVIE, Fla. – For more than three decades, Linda Sobell, Ph.D., ABPP and Mark Sobell, Ph.D., ABPP have been helping people make better choices in their lives to become healthier. Their focus has been helping people reduce alcohol use, eat heathier, develop improved sleeping habits, exercise more and consider changing risky behaviors such as tobacco and other drug use as well as developing better self-care. The Sobells – yes, they are married – have led the way when it comes to “Guided Self-Change.”

Mark Sobell, Ph.D.

Mark Sobell, Ph.D.

“For those who are dealing with challenges early on, guided self-change can be a difference maker,” said Mark Sobell, Ph.D., who is a professor at Nova Southeastern University’s (NSU) College of Psychology. “We help people take responsibility for their actions and lives, and that allows them to make changes  to improve their lives.”

Given continuing misuse of alcohol, tobacco and other substances in society, there is a serious need for alternative and early-interventions to help people avoid developing more serious problems. The Guided Self-Change program, a motivational, cognitive-behavioral treatment designed to help people make better life choices before things escalate and worsen, is an alternative to a 12-Step model.

“People are empowered to use their own personal strengths so they can set and achieve goals,” said Linda Sobell, who is also a professor in NSU’s College of Psychology.

In November 2016, the U.S. Surgeon General released Facing Addiction in America: The Surgeon General’s Report on Alcohol, Drugs and Health. This report, the first time the Surgeon General has ever reported on addiction, explains the effects on the brain of alcohol and drugs and how misuse can become a disorder. It also discusses the need for a continuum of services and specifically states that less-severe disorders “often respond to brief motivational interventions and/or supportive monitoring, referred to as guided self-change.” The brief Guided Self-Change intervention was developed by Drs. Linda and Mark Sobell and is available to the public at the clinic they co-direct at NSU.

“The report documented what we’ve known and have been doing for years – this model of early intervention works for those with mild alcohol and drug use problems,” Linda Sobell said.

The University’s Guided Self-Change Clinic at the College of Psychology, located on NSU’s Fort Lauderdale/Davie campus, is open to the community. In addition to services for alcohol and drug problems, the clinic provides assistance for people concerned about becoming healthier, losing weight, exercising more, developing better relationships, quitting smoking, quitting gambling, reducing internet use, becoming more goal-directed, and improving sleep.

Individuals who are interested in services or want more information can call (954-262-5968) or e-mail (gsc@nova.edu) the program. Individuals are usually seen within 24-48 hours of their first call. The program is open 9 a.m.– 8 p.m., Monday–Thursday and 9 a.m.–5 p.m. Fridays. Services are available in English and Spanish. The number of sessions is variable and determined by individual client needs, and a sliding fee scale is available.

The Sobells said that, to their knowledge, this treatment option is not available in other programs in the South Florida area. While the NSU clinic is open to anyone, they recognized that not everyone can make it to the University’s campus. Not to worry – there’s an app for that!

The Sobells and several of their doctoral students created and tested an Apple App – iSelfChange®   – designed to help young people curb their risky alcohol use. This evidence-based app is available for free from the iTunes store.


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About Nova Southeastern University (NSU): Located in beautiful Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Nova Southeastern University (NSU) is a dynamic research institution dedicated to providing high-quality educational programs at the undergraduate, graduate, and first-professional degree levels. A private, not-for-profit institution, NSU has campuses in Fort Lauderdale, Fort Myers, Jacksonville, Miami, Miramar, Orlando, Palm Beach, and Tampa, Florida, as well as San Juan, Puerto Rico, while maintaining a presence online globally. For more than 50 years, NSU has been awarding degrees in a wide range of fields, while fostering groundbreaking research and an impactful commitment to community. Classified as a research university with “high research activity” by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, NSU is 1 of only 50 universities nationwide to also be awarded Carnegie’s Community Engagement Classification, and is also the largest private, not-for-profit institution in the United States that meets the U.S. Department of Education’s criteria as a Hispanic-serving Institution. Please visit www.nova.edu for more information about NSU and realizingpotential.nova.edu for more information on the largest fundraising campaign in NSU history.


April 24, 2017

Joe Donzelli | Office of Public Affairs
954-262-2159 (office) | 954-661-4571 (cell)
jdonzelli@nova.edu | www.nova.edu