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How does a holistic approach to rehab help?


Holistic addiction recovery programs are becoming increasingly popular within the alcohol & drug rehab community. But what does ‘holistic’ actually mean and how does a holistic approach to rehab help people to recover from substance addiction?

A holistic approach allows the client to receive non-judgemental care for the complex nature of their addiction. All the interdependent aspects of an individual are taken into account by the psychological and therapeutic team.

The aim is to locate the areas of imbalance in behavioural patterns that need attention, care and compassion.


Defining Holistic Rehab in Contemporary Addiction Treatment Centres


Over the past decade, there has been a global trend emerging in substance abuse treatment towards what has been described as holistic rehab or a holistic approach to addiction treatment.

Commonly referred to as “recovery-oriented mental health services”, the roots are created by promoting a culture and language of hope and optimism that communicates positive expectations resulting in a person feeling valued, important, welcome and safe.

This is all part of creatively and optimally reforming substance abuse rehab programs and their mental health content. The idea is to inform and educate a range of clients, peers, staff and family members.

In recent years, approaches such as a trauma-informed model of care have become much more the standard methodology. This is a radical shift in ideas and perspectives, one which The Bay is very much a pioneer in.

This is an area that has been put forward in the private rather than the public sector where the standard 12 Step Recovery model is still prevalent. The advantage of the trauma-informed model is that it can be so much more modelled for the individual client.

The term ‘holistic’ is used quite frequently in drug and alcohol rehabilitation treatment programs. However, some rehab centres use the term quite loosely, and may not actually provide truly holistic therapies at all. If you’re seeking an authentically holistic rehab, it pays to understand what this means and what therapies fall under the umbrella term of ‘holistic’.


Let’s start with the word ‘holistic’…

ho·lis·tic: characterized by comprehension of parts of something as intimately interconnected and explicable only by reference to the whole

Holistic rehab is therefore an approach to rehabilitation that doesn’t just look at the addiction as if it exists in and of itself. Instead it takes into account the ‘whole’ person: body, mind, spirit, and complex emotions. Holistic rehab also takes into account family history, childhood trauma, along with more pragmatic aspects such as diet, nutrition, sleep quality, undiagnosed health problems, stress factors, and relationships.


Deepening the Holistic Rehab Model


Holistic rehab looks at the ‘whole’ person – rather than just the addiction. At The Bay, in a single-client environment, we are able to take a profoundly affecting mind, body and spiritual approach. We provide a multi-dimensional holistic treatment approach comprised of:


Our Spiritual Philosophy

Based on the principles of ancient Eastern philosophies such as Buddhism, our spiritual philosophy is centred on finding compassion for self and then others. By encouraging clients to embrace their fragile and difficult-to-admit vulnerabilities, we support their journey to self-love. Compassion is at the heart of our approach to healing here at The Bay.


Core Trauma Work

We understand that trauma is in the personal hinterland of every addiction. Mental health and addiction are inseparable but this is often undervalued in treatment. We see trauma as being at the core of whatever physical, mental, emotional and spiritual imbalance the client is manifesting. We believe the most profound healing occurs when we can receive and give ourselves compassion around the deepest levels of our suffering and shame.

In our compassion-centred psychotherapy, we allow the client to gently unravel these wounds from the past. Within a framework of addressing trauma first, we create a safe container in absolute privacy, where we use the natural environment, a culture of warmth and nurturing plus a positive philosophy that addiction can be truly healed.


Single-client Bespoke Program

As a single-client facility, we provide complete privacy and anonymity, which is absolutely key to our much-valued clients being able to relax fully.

We build a bespoke program centred around each individual client where a team of 15 to 20 highly qualified therapists – including psychotherapists, nutritionists, yoga, exercise & mindfulness teachers, medical doctors, reflexologists, meditation teachers, massage therapists and a personal chef can cater to each client’s unique requirements.

Work and Clients

Clients are able to keep their phones and computers. We know that it’s often important that they can keep on working from The Bay.

We just ask them to operate within the schedule of the therapists that are coming to work with them. Another suggestion is that they put aside an hour or two a day where they can do their work and make their phone calls. They can also be in touch with family members by phone.

With our comprehensive team of professionals, we bring together the medical, the psychological and the holistic. Our therapists visit the house so that the client is able to stay in one place.


Environmental Psychology

We provide a beautiful house in a subtropical location, where we create a warm, intimate ambience as this is a vital part of our healing approach. It is a retreat experience rather than a clinical one and we make sure there is a green, lush, country environment as this is most conducive to healing.


Integrative Medicine

We offer comprehensive treatment focused on whole person wellness. By addressing the root causes, we help our clients change their habits and provide long-lasting results to improve their quality of life.

There’s clear evidence that the use of supplements and understanding the blood chemistry from a biochemically restorative perspective is immensely helpful for overcoming certain addictions and for treatment of depression.

It is widely accepted that substance abuse and other addictive behaviour leads to ‘hardwired’ changes in the brain’s biochemistry, structure and function.

As part of our bespoke programs we use naturopathy, also known as ‘functional medicine’, to focus on restoring balance to the brain chemistry by correcting imbalances in the brain’s neurotransmitters related to addiction cravings, anxiety and depression.


Wellness Treatments

The holistic treatments are an important aspect of our programs and work very well for clients who come to us with varying conditions:

  • Alcohol & Drug Addiction
  • Chronic Pain
  • Mental Health Issues

Our wellness treatments include acupuncture, Chi Qong, yoga, massage and biochemical restoration traditionally known as naturopathy.

There’s clear evidence that the use of supplements and understanding the blood chemistry from the naturopath’s perspective is helpful for overcoming certain addictions and immensely helpful for treatment of depression.

Acupuncture to the ear has been known to work very well with helping with the cravings that happen from addiction and it helps relaxation.

There’s a growing body of evidence and most big-name psychologists have spoken about the use of yoga when working with trauma. A client being able to relax is going to give optimal chances for healing.

Mindfulness meditation techniques are another support structure within the wellness treatments.

‘They help to develop presence or the ability to be present in the moment regardless of what is happening,’ says The Bay’s founder and psychotherapist, John Dass. ‘Mindfulness and attentiveness to one’s inner life can cultivate inner connection and lead to meaningful relationships and positive change. Both yoga and meditation are proven to be powerful healing modalities with tangible results for long-term recovery.’


Dual Diagnosis: Addiction, Trauma, and PTSD from a Holistic Perspective


With a holistic approach, it is assumed that most addictions are co-existing with a psychological issue such as depression, anxiety, PTSD and/or other behavioural problems. Often these conditions may have been lying dormant for years if not decades, but are profoundly affecting how the individual connects with the world around them.

Dual diagnosis means that these co-existing issues are intimately intertwined and will both require treatment if recovery is to be sustainable in the long-term.


Detox and Withdrawal within the Holistic Rehab Environment


As with any reputable drug rehab program, rehab starts with withdrawal and physical detox from the substance of addiction.

For most people, this is the most feared part of the recovery process. A holistic approach treats the physical symptoms of addiction first with a medically supported detox program that is as safe, stress-free, and as comfortable as possible.

We believe that the detox process should not add more trauma but should be worked through as efficiently and as painlessly as possible so that the real work of recovery and healing from addiction and trauma can begin. Once an individual has moved through detox, we can then begin the long-term recovery program using a broad range of holistic therapies.

Learn more about Single Client Rehab at The Bay
Learn more about Drug and Alcohol Rehab at The Bay
Learn more about Dual Diagnosis Treatment at The Bay