Getting Help With Addictions & Personal Trauma

At Recovery Direct, we aim to disentangle the complex web of addiction by starting with trauma treatment. Therapists are trained to unravel layers of trauma and bring the high magnitude life event or stressor into the light.

The Trauma Survivor

Extraordinary trauma can result in severe and chronic impairment across our major life areas. Traumatic events include anything from childhood physical and/or sexual abuse, adulthood sexual assault, loss of a loved one, divorce, infidelity, separation, bullying to less conspicuous but equally distressing events. Post-traumatic stress disorder has emerged as a common co-occurring diagnosis among substance abusers. Chemical substances are used as a means of achieving symptom relief and this leads to addiction.

Disorders such as post-traumatic stress disorder have a constellation of symptoms and interrelated co-morbid conditions. The visible symptoms and behaviours of trauma survivors can manifest in self-defeating cycles of addiction, depression and anxiety.

The longer you are exposed to a traumatic event, the deeper the impact on your overall emotional state of well-being. As these behaviours establish themselves, patterns turn into routines that drive further self-defeating habits and behaviours.

Once identified and therapeutically guided, trauma survivors will have the tools to gauge their responses to their emotional triggers and then cognitively opt to change their response patterns, to life-changing effect.

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Trauma Recovery Cape TownWhy Trauma Focused Treatment Plans Work?

Our panel of multi-disciplined practitioners will enable you to heal the emotional wounds and scars left by unresolved traumatic experiences in your life. Our scope includes the accompanying substance use disorders and behavioural dysfunctions which traumatic experiences have generated. We have helped many people bring resolution to their past traumatic experiences and we can help you too.

Old wounds from traumatic experiences will trigger self-defeating responses in your present day and this includes natural responses to self medicate with addictive substances. In addition to the traumatic events listed above, stressors can also include losing a job, having a child, injury, divorce, death of a friend or loved one, financial problems, abusive partners, exposure to violence, rape, physical or psychological abuse.

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Our approach starts by identifying what traumatic experiences from your immediate or distant past. Only by examining these events in a safe and supportive environment are we able to implement a successful plan for recovery.

Our integrated approach includes therapy solutions built in accordance with each person’s requirements at the time. By uncovering and re-processing the trauma based responses that result in a negative output a patient is taught to manage and take control of their emotional state.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) or Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (CPTSD) can cause many anxiety, rage and hostility, depression, emotional over-reaction, self-injurious behaviour, an inability to concentrate, burnout and a broad range of negative psychological responses. Until the reasons for these feelings have been worked through will you be able to restore calm once again.

As a private rehab in Cape Town our treatment programmes are based on an individual assessment and our tailor-made approach ensures a much higher recovery success rate.

Traumatic events are unfortunately a part of life, how we process them helps us make choices in our present and future.

The Recovery Direct treatment protocol was developed by Mr Vaughan Pankhurst, a clinical trauma professional, who took it upon himself to research the link between trauma and substance use disorders and provide a dynamic treatment model in support of rapid recovery. The presented findings were overwhelming, proving with certainty the direct link between the underlying cause and effect – trauma and addiction. Five years ago, upon completing his development of the initial protocol, Vaughan turned his focus to a delivery system which would enable him to provide addiction counselling and support to those who suffer from substance use disorders, by uncovering and re-processing the trauma based responses that result in the negative relationship that users form with their substances of choice.

Four-and-a-half years later, after operating the 6-month outpatient programme with a 94% sustainable success rate, Vaughan Pankhurst and Gary Breytenbach decided to start the Recovery Direct inpatient rehabilitation facility, formally known as a Trauma Therapy Treatment Centre. The offerings of the facility are not confined to treating only those suffering from substance use disorders and have been expanded to include treatment of PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) and the less commonly known CPTSD (complex or critical post-traumatic stress disorder), which if untreated can often lead to a disordered relationship with substances.

Also treated are those who have been misdiagnosed with bipolar disorder or explosive personality disorder, the behaviour relating thereto actually being trauma-based responses which are treated in the same way as PTSD and CPTSD. The challenge behind treating the aforementioned disorders is identifying the core trauma that has resulted in the presented behaviour, as perceived trauma is subjective by nature. This is what the Recovery Direct team specialises in.

Treatment at Recovery Direct is split up into two main categories, namely inpatient and outpatient treatment. A one-hour assessment process precedes all treatments. The facility’s clinical director, Vaughan, directs this process. Once this has been completed, the prospective patient’s eligibility for either the inpatient or outpatient programme is determined. Our general treatment rationale and modality as aforementioned, is our Evidence-Based Trauma Therapy Treatment Programme, which aims to treat patients with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or Critical Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Traumatic Stress disrupts the nervous system and the emotional balance of the person. Anxiety, panic, hyper-activity and vigilance, inability to relax, emotional flooding, sleeplessness, rage and hostility reflect this. As long as these conditions exist, the trauma sufferer will turn to coping mechanisms like substance abuse, excessive medication, food, sex/porn, gambling and shopping, depression, self-mutilation, self-sabotage and sexual dysfunction, ADHD, burnout, sleep disorders, borderline personality disorders, chronic fatigue syndrome amongst others.

Inpatient treatment is recommended for patients presenting with severe PTSD/CPTSD or a level 6/7 substance use disorder. Our inpatient treatment programme is based in our exclusive facility in Constantia, Cape Town, nested within the sheltered suburb. When instances of foreign or out-of-town patients are to be admitted, we facilitate the organization of all necessary travel arrangements, including the collection of patients from the airport by at least one member of our support staff.

Our philosophy is to treat patients holistically using evidence-based practices, which is the integration of clinical expertise, expert opinion, client/patient or caregiver perspectives.

External scientific evidence

During the course of their stay with us, patients receive more one-on-one therapy than in other standard rehabilitation centres. The industry norm is for patients to see their counsellor once per week, whereas at Recovery Direct, patients are seen a minimum of twice per day by their counsellors for one-on-one therapy, with the balance of treatment being done in interactive group sessions.

The following key research based modalities of treatment are practised with individual and with group therapy sessions and daily psycho-educational/didactic groups. The daily therapeutic programme runs from 9.00-5.00 p.m. daily.

It is also worth noting that because we often treat high profile working professionals, we have not adopted the standard punitive practices of many other rehabilitation centres. Therefore, our patients are allowed to keep their cellphones and laptops whilst in our care, allowing them to continue to fulfil their work commitments whilst also receiving ‘realtime’ therapy, i.e. we are able to treat them as and when stresses arise, thereby altering their standard dysfunctional responses to stress.

Patients who present with a lower level of trauma and related substance use disorder are often eligible for the outpatient programme, which can either take place at our premises in Constantia if the patient is based in Cape Town or, more commonly, over video conferencing which takes place over Skype. There is a common misconception that therapy is only effective if done face-to-face, however we have successfully run the outpatient program for five years online and actually have some patients based locally that prefer to partake in the therapy sessions from the comfort of their home. The outpatient treatment modality is similar to that of the inpatient programme, adjusted as necessary based on the initial assessment outcome and subsequent presentation of the patient’s mental and emotional state.

“We know that the wildest and most moving dramas are played not in the theatre but in the hearts of ordinary men and women.” – Carl Jung

We work within psychodynamic frameworks, by providing empathetic person-centered therapeutic care, working around their narratives, cognitive behavioral therapy, trauma reprocessing and mindfulness techniques, where appropriate.