Glossary of Terms

These are some definitions of the terms that are commonly used in and around the social services and agency's that we have indexed on our site. We want to provide clients with  information about the terms, work and processes they might come across when applying for these services. We hope that clients have a greater understanding of what they are applying for and any additional processes that they might have to complete later in an application cycle. 


There different versions of the federal poverty measure: poverty thresholds and poverty guidelines:

The poverty thresholds: 

This is the original version of the federal poverty measure. They are updated each year by the Census Bureau. The thresholds are used mainly for statistical purposes. for instance, preparing estimates of the number of Americans in poverty each year. (In other words, all official poverty population figures are calculated using the poverty thresholds, not the guidelines.) Poverty thresholds since are available on the Census Bureau’s Web site. 

The poverty guidelines: 

This is the other version of the federal poverty measure. They are issued each year in the Federal Register by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).  The guidelines are a simplification of the poverty thresholds for use for administrative purposes — for instance, determining financial eligibility for certain federal programs. 

is a process for people to access the prevention, housing and/or other services that they need. Coordinated entry incorporates uniform screening and assessment, prioritization and program matching, and connections to mainstream services to help those seeking housing and services access appropriate programs more efficiently.

Coordinated Entry System (CES) Referred to as the “” of social services. It is thought that Coordinated Entry Systems streamlines the process of finding services for those who are in need with the goal of prioritizing the the most vulnerable people first.

The Brief Intake/Assessment is the initial meeting with the client during which the case manager gathers information to address the client's immediate needs to encourage his/her engagement and retention in services.

A clinical interview is a tool that helps physicians, psychologists and researchers make an accurate diagnosis of a variety of mental illnesses, such as obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). There are two common types: Structured clinical interviews and clinical diagnostic interviews.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT): is a six-phase “problem-focused” therapy that helps clients identify goals and obstacles and then receive problem-solving skills to work toward or through. This can be done through discussion, imagery work or biofeedback, among other methods, in either one-on-one or group settings.

Individual Therapy: One-on-one sessions between a doctor, counselor or therapist and a client.

12-step/AA/NA: The most traditional and widespread approach to treating alcoholism and addiction, Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous are a spiritual though not religious programs which emphasize relying on a self-defined Higher Power to help break the cycle of addiction. (There are over 30 different 12-step programs but AA/NA are the ones typically introduced in treatment.) The 12 steps involve admitting powerlessness over addiction, identifying a Higher Power, examining the past with the help of a sponsor, making amends, leading a new life with better behaviors and finally helping others through the same cycle.

Intensive Outpatient Treatment/Intensive Outpatient Program ( IOP): This is primary treatment program recommended for some circumstances by a clinical medical assessment. IOP is most often recommended for individuals who do not require medically-supervised detox. IOP can enable people in recovery to continue their recovery therapies following successful detox, on a part-time yet intensive schedule, designed to accommodate work and family life.

CPIT (Crisis Prevention and Intervention Teams)

CPIT's are Community-based outreach teams with the ability to respond to and provide services in the community 24 hours-a-day. (e.g., homes, schools, or hospitals). CPIT serves adults, adolescents, and children who are who are experiencing a behavioral health crisis. The Compass Health Crisis Prevention and Intervention Team (CPIT) is operating in the Everett area. In Snohomish County -- Individuals may contact the CPIT office directly at 425-349-7447

Relapse prevention. Patients can use medications to help re-establish normal brain function and decrease cravings. Medications are available for treatment of opioid (heroin, prescription pain relievers), tobacco (nicotine), and alcohol addiction. Scientists are developing other medications to treat stimulant (cocaine, methamphetamine) and cannabis (marijuana) addiction. People who use more than one drug, which is very common, need treatment for all of the substances they use.

Alcohol: Three medications have been FDA-approved for treating alcohol addiction:

Naltrexone: blocks opioid receptors that are involved in the rewarding effects of drinking and in the craving for alcohol. It reduces relapse to heavy drinking and is highly effective in some patients. 

Acamprosate (Campral®) may reduce symptoms of long-lasting withdrawal, such as insomnia, anxiety, restlessness, and dysphoria (generally feeling unwell or unhappy). It may be more effective in patients with severe addiction.

Disulfiram (Antabuse®) interferes with the breakdown of alcohol. Acetaldehyde builds up in the body, leading to unpleasant reactions that include flushing (warmth and redness in the face), nausea, and irregular heartbeat if the patient drinks alcohol. Compliance (taking the drug as prescribed) can be a problem, but it may help patients who are highly motivated to quit drinking.

While most coordinated entry sites are open to all eligible households, specialty sites have been designated to work with specific populations and regions within the county. These sites have been selected to serve specific populations and regions because they are familiar with the resources available to that population or area.

Individuals and families who are experiencing homelessness or at-risk of homelessness and who want to connect with available homeless prevention, housing, and mainstream services may call or go to any coordinated entry site for an intake assessment. If eligible to work with a navigator, a referral will be made to the navigation site that is best able to meet the household’s needs.

LCDC (Licensed Chemical Dependency Counselor):  A professional trained (credential requirements vary by state) to identify, regulate and treat the mental and physical components of chemical dependency. These counselors are often the overseer and guide for a client’s full recovery plan. They are also the liaison between the person and his or her family and/other medical professionals involved in treatment.

Aftercare: The most hands-off form of treatment, aftercare primarily consists of meeting for occasional group therapy with the goal of staying in touch with fellow alumni and former counselors after inpatient or outpatient. The scope of it varies depending on the rehab and can also include check-ins with alumni for months or years after treatment.

Medication Management: The close medical monitoring of a person’s medication intake, side effects (both physical and mental) and interactions with other forms of treatment, including other types of medications.

Dual diagnosis: The term refers to someone who is afflicted with both a mental disorder and a substance abuse problem. This is also known as a co-occurring disorder.

Detox: This is medical procedure for substance abusers that would suffer physical harm if they stopped instantly. Detoxification is not in itself "treatment," but only the first step in the process. Medically assisted detox usually involves medication— such as Suboxone or methadone. Those medications are used to ease the worst of the withdrawal symptoms. Medically supervised detox, involves a medical team is on-site to monitor the health of those who are detoxing but this term is not interchangeable with a medically assisted detox. Considered far more necessary for opiates and benzodiazepines than it is for drugs like cocaine and meth, detox is not a substitute for treatment.

How are medications used in drug addiction treatment?

Medications can be used to manage withdrawal symptoms, prevent relapse, and treat co-occurring conditions.

Withdrawal. Medications help suppress withdrawal symptoms during detoxification. Patients who do not receive any further treatment after detoxification usually resume their drug use. One study of treatment facilities found that medications were used in almost 80 percent of detoxifications (SAMHSA, 2014).

Opioids: Methadone (Dolophine®, Methadose®), buprenorphine (Suboxone®, Subutex®, Probuphine®), and naltrexone (Vivitrol®) are used to treat opioid addiction. Acting on the same targets in the brain as heroin and morphine, methadone and buprenorphine suppress withdrawal symptoms and relieve cravings. Naltrexone blocks the effects of opioids at their receptor sites in the brain. All medications help patients reduce drug seeking and related criminal behavior and help them become more open to behavioral treatments.

Most if not all social service programs require some type of recertification, mid- certification review, eligibility renewal or re-verification process. Once you are receiving benefits a recertification period will come up usually annually (in some case it can be more than once per year). The satisfactory completion of that process will usually be required for the service beneficiary to continue to receive services. This process will definitely be required if you are receiving: Food Stamps (SNAP), Financial Assistance/TANF, and or for Medical Assistance such as Medicaid.

To avoid multiple recertification periods: before you apply for services with DHS be sure to apply for all of the program you think you will need on the Combined Application for Benefits form in the initial application process. Separate program application will require that you complete the recertification process for each program separately. You will not be able to combine those recertification periods with out first dropping those benefits and then reapplying for all on a single form

Assistive technology: is an umbrella term that includes. assistive, adaptive, and rehabilitative devices for people with disabilities and also includes the process used in selecting, locating, and using them.