The treatment at Bloemendal has two main components, namely Focused Treatment of Addiction and Psychological Treatment. Each client is seen by an experienced psychologist for individual consultations at least three times per week for the duration of the programme.
The treatment period is for 2 months.
Focused Treatment of Addiction
The specific focus on the client’s addiction is facilitated through using the principals of the Minnesota model. This part of the treatment is done via psycho-educational lectures, group therapy and individual sessions. The aim is to systematically deconstruct the denial of the client around his/ her addiction, and assisting the client to develop a different perspective of their addiction. In this sense it is a form of cognitive restructuring to start acknowledging and facing the real reality of the using and taking responsibility for how the using/ addiction has affected the client’s life and the lives of significant others of the client. This process is of utter importance to help the client in making an appropriate decision to stop using/ or drinking or acting out on the behavioural addictions.
Addiction is a chronic disease
Addiction is a physical, mental, and spiritual disease
Use of a multi-disciplinary approach
Based on the 12 step ideas of Alcoholics Anonymous
Focused group therapy
Lectures and psycho-education on addiction
Attendance of 12-step meetings
Of utmost importance is:
Not using addictive substances
Working with denial and fears to acknowledge the addiction
The setting of priorities
Pursuing a change in lifestyle
Learning to deal with addiction
Active participation in 12-step programmes
Involvement of family and broader environment in the treatment of the client
Even if the client has accepted his or her addiction and is motivated and committed to follow the 12-step approach of guidelines and abstinence, the client’s psychological vulnerabilities can lead to relapse. Therefore in addition to the focused treatment of addiction via the Minnesota Model, Bloemendal Addiction Treatment has developed a unique approach of simultaneously addressing the psychological vulnerabilities and patterns of the client. Every client is guided by an experienced psychologist who consults him or her for a minimum of three therapy sessions per week throughout the programme. This affords the client enough time to deeply engage with their most pertinent psychological needs.
The three major causes of addiction are availability, conditioning and sensitivity. The first two factors of availability and conditioning are addressed via the Minnesota Model of focus on the addiction.
Psychological treatment of the client focuses on the aspect of sensitivity to addiction, which can be genetic (physiological/ chemical) and or psychological (temperament; learnt personality patterns; coping styles; attachment styles and the regulation of emotions). The psychological treatment of the client consists of in-depth psychological assessment, identification of vulnerabilities and therapy to address this. Apart from the psychological vulnerabilities, a myriad of other difficulties that the client may experience in his or her life in general and especially as a consequence of the addiction are also addressed. This may include issues in relationships, work and social functioning, but also negative life experiences and trauma.
People who are genetically sensitive to addiction through their dopaminergic and limbic systems in the brain, might have a higher tendency to seek instant gratification and have a low frustration tolerance. These factors are given attention through psychological treatment to assist the client in working more adaptively with these factors. Untreated psychiatric disorders are closely linked to this and therefore clients at Bloemendal Addiction Treatment are fully assessed over an extended period to identify, diagnose and treat psychiatric conditions such as Major Depression, Bipolar Disorder, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Anxiety Disorders, Personality Disorders and other conditions.
Apart from Addiction Focused group work, clients also partake in psychological group therapy, consisting of two types of groups. The one is an emotional process group focusing on interactional styles and psychodynamic issues. The other is a group based on gestalt principals, assisting clients to learn more about functional ways to regulate their emotions.
It is our experience that the combined approach of addiction focused therapy with in-depth psycho-therapy, involves the whole person in the process of their treatment and increases motivation, hope and outcomes. We therefore not only treat addiction, but also other aspects, patterns and conditions of the client.
Clients are assessed by their psychologists during treatment and where indicated are then referred for psychiatric assessment by the psychiatrist who will treat the client psychiatrically.
The psychiatrist consults clients once a week whilst in treatment and is available for more urgent or acute situations every day. Clients with serious addictions may have psychiatric pathology that often remains untreated, which leads to continuous relapse.
We therefore fully assess, diagnose and treat these conditions as well in order to give the clients a real chance at recovery.
Discharge and Aftercare
Discharge of clients
Prior to discharge the psychologist together with the client work on a plan for after the client’s discharge, in terms of continued aftercare, therapy and specific recommendations which are important in terms of what is practically needed for the client.
We provide a full aftercare programme for local clients, consisting of weekly aftercare group and individual sessions with a psychologist, as well as reviewing the implementation of the discharge plan developed during treatment.
International clients who return to their country of residence will follow-up with the Referral Institution where the recommendations of the treatment will be discussed. These recommendations often include attending the Aftercare Group sessions; continuation of individual therapy; psychiatric follow-up; and practical individual considerations regarding work, finances and high-risk situations.