Getting help with personal trauma

If you – or someone you care about – has unresolved traumatic issues requiring treatment, please contact us for a discreet conversation, either by phone or by appointment.

At Recovery Direct one of our professional trauma therapists can guide you on the effects of trauma in your life, and about your options for resolving these problems through professional help.



Trauma can be beaten. Find new hope in highly effective & focused trauma recovery programmes by Recovery Direct – South Africa.



Admissions Speak To A Trauma Counsellor



Given the lack of accurate data, it is nearly impossible to calculate the effects of trauma and substance use-related disorders on society as a whole. However given the enormous volume of enquiries through our Relapse Prevention and Recovery Direct websites, we have noticed that the demand for these services is increasing on a daily basis. On many days, we receive over 100 enquiries. Addiction itself is still treated symptomatically by most of the rehabilitation centres in South Africa. These offered inpatient and outpatient programmes attempt to treat ‘addicts’ by introducing them to the twelve-step programmes of Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous, which have been proven by Professor Lance Dodes, an internationally renowned specialist in the field, as only having a first-time success rate of approximately 10%. Using the aforementioned approach further advances the stigma attached to substance use disorders, wherein users are seen as ‘dirty’.

In reality, these people have been traumatized, often during their developmental years and looking to anesthetize an underlying psychological pain that they have never been properly treated for. This negative stigma has resulted in people suffering from addiction not being open and willing to ask for help, as they either feel that they will be ostracized by those around them or that the available help with not ‘fix’ them. The complete opposite is said of people who are diagnosed with cancer, who tend to reach out to those around them for support.

The reality is that having a substance use disorder, caused by trauma, is no different to contracting cancer – both are due to circumstances outside of the affected persons control. No one would choose to suffer from either.

The History of Recovery Direct

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. 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 counseling and support to those who suffer from substance use disorders, by uncovering and re-processing the traumabased 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 and myself 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 behavior 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 behavior, as perceived trauma is subjective by nature. This is what the Recovery Direct team specializes in.

Treatment Modality and Method of Delivery

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, performs this procedure. Once this has been completed, the prospective patients eligibility for either the inpatient or outpatient programme is determined. General Treatment Rationale and Modality As aforementioned, our programme is an 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 Programme Summary

Inpatient treatment is recommended for patients presenting with severe PTSD / CPTSD or a level 6 / 7 substance use disorder. Our inpatient treatment programme runs out of our exclusive facility in Constantia, Cape Town, inconspicuously 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 the patients holistically using Evidence-Based Practices, which is the integration of: Clinical expertise/ expert opinion Client/patient/ caregiver perspectives External scientific evidence During the course of their stay with us, patients receive 1000% more one-on-one therapy than in other standard rehabilitation centres. The industry norm is for patients to see their counselor once per week, whereas at Recovery Direct, patients are seen a minimum of twice per day by their counselors for one-on-one therapy, with the balance of treatment being done in interactive group sessions.

The following research-based treatment modalities are practiced in individual and group therapy sessions and daily psycho-educational/didactic groups. The daily therapeutic programme runs from 9.00 – 5.00 p.m. daily, and is segmented as follows: It is also worth noting that as we often treat highly positioned 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, thereby allowing them to continue to fulfill 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.

Outpatient Programme Summary

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 patients mental and emotional state