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  • Writer's pictureMelinda Lake

Our approach is new, our experience is old.

This article covers a good overview of what is available and the pros and cons of psychiatric in-patient stays, out-patient programmes and long term (6-18 months) rehabilitation. However it doesn't describe the option of a 9 day short-term intensive residential retreat. The benefit of a 9 day stay is that there is enough time to co-create a self-help process in a supportive environment, where participants can focus entirely on addressing their issues without the distractions of everyday life and the pressures it brings.

This is the approach followed at Australian Recovery Centres where a small group setting provides crucial encouragement, mirroring and support with manageable numbers (max 8 per retreat) ensuring personalised care.

One benefit of a short term retreat is that participants instinctively know and are reminded from the day they arrive that it is their action plan upon discharge that will keep them in recovery. Ongoing support is crucial and continues once a participant returns home. Daily action plans and end of the day check-ins are uploaded and shared, participants have the opportunity to continue supporting each other. This too is a new approach using app based technology. 

Community, accountability, therapy, 12-step or other support meetings make up a workable plan.

Our approach is new and different from other offerings in that it requires a shorter investment of time up front to establish a plan. The programme itself (InterACT) has been well established, as it was offered in a number of private hospitals from 1980's - 2000's under the direction of psychologist Jim Maclaine. We say our approach is old as 3 of our clinical board members have 50, 40 and 25 years respectively working in the D&A field.

As stated in the article the lack of regulation in private “rehab organisations” can be problematic. It is essential to check the qualifications of those offering the service. As an example Australian Recovery only employs health professionals registered with AHPRA (Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency) e.g. Psychologists, or members of PACFA (Psychotherapy and Counselling Federation of Australia). 

Staff should also have experience in or be in direct supervision with a health professional with recognised (5+ year's minimum) experience in the field of addiction.

Australian Recovery is a charity that doesn't receive government funding, participants pay a fee for service and the cost of the 9 day retreat is $5600. We are looking for corporate partners.

Melinda Lake - Co-founder at Australian Recovery Centres

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