The Nature and Aims of a Psychiatric Therapy Programme

One might have thought that given the improvements in twenty-first century living standards resulting from new technology and the more stringent regulations that now protect our health and safety in the workplace, the number of people who are in need of a programme of psychiatric therapy would be relatively small. In practice, it seems quite clear that each new era manages to present human beings with its own set of new challenges with which some appear better able to cope than others.

Between the mid-60s and the late-80s, many of today???s grandparents may have, quite literally, worried themselves sick about their sons??? involvement in cross-border skirmishes with rebels, while many of the SANDF soldiers themselves succumbed, not to physical injuries, but to the mental condition we now recognise as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Today, however, it is muggings, rape, home invasions and armed robberies that are most commonly at the root of this mental illness.

The incidences of depression and stress, triggered largely by debt, divorce and the difficulties that stem from single parenthood, may have never been higher. Although medication has its role in treating each of these conditions and many others, a carefully-compiled psychiatric therapy programme offers patients the best chance of a complete recovery. While out-patient counselling provides a valuable back-up and maintenance service, during the initial stage, most patients tend to respond best in an environment that offers them a feeling of security and provides the constant support that is only possible as a resident.

Recreation and social interaction are, of course, every bit as important to the recovery process as medication and counselling. Thus, each day of treatment should cater for both group meetings and shared activities, such as sports. The routine should also aim to meet the specific needs of each individual at a personal, one-on-one level and whilst it is important to provide structure, a little free time is also important. Just as clinics vary, so too will the precise design of their psychiatric therapy programme but, in most cases, these will tend to adopt a mix of evidence-based treatments.

At the Beethoven Recovery Centre in the North West?? town of Hartbeespoort, we operate a 14-day routine in which each weekday consists of 2 psycho-social group sessions, an arts and crafts group, and some form of sport or relaxation activity, as well as two individual counselling sessions. Much of the weekend is free time with an early sports session on Saturdays and the option of spiritual guidance on Sundays. Facilities include a gym, swimming pool and spacious gardens, while well-appointed rooms and excellent meals, freshly prepared by our chef, ensure a comfortable stay

Group psycho-social sessions are conducted by experienced psychiatrists specialised in the treatment of a wide range of mental illnesses, including addictions, anxiety and mood disorders, and ADHD. These sessions address areas such as conflict management, effective communication, assertiveness and observing boundaries, and provide ample opportunity for the practical exercises and roleplays that are recognised as an important component of a successful psychiatric therapy programme.

Overlooked by the Magaliesberg Mountain Range and close to the Hartbeespoort Dam, the Beethoven Recovery Centre occupies an idyllic location that is just a short drive from Johannesburg and Pretoria, or a shuttle transfer if required.