The Nature and Applications of Rehabilitation Therapy

The term ???rehabilitation therapy??? is actually something of a generic one. It encompasses the treatment of a wide range of conditions and is designed to help those affected by such conditions either to fully re-adjust to normal living or, at least, to manage any residual effects of their condition more effectively, thus enabling them to re-integrate into society.

Perhaps the most dramatic example of such treatment on a vast scale is the programme operated in the United States for the treatment of disabled service men and women returning from military campaigns, first in Vietnam, and later in Afghanistan, Kuwait and Iraq. In the disabled veterans programme, much of the focus is on various forms of physiotherapy with the aim of assisting amputees to manage their prostheses, or helping victims of paralysis to regain a degree of independence. However, many of those returning from the battlefield, although free of any physical injury, can suffer mental scarring that is no less debilitating and which has now become an additional and equally important focus of such programmes, although one for the psychotherapist, rather than for the physiotherapist. Not surprisingly, in the treatment of those disabled in battle, psychotherapy will also invariably play an important role in the recovery process.

Another common situation in which rehabilitation therapy has proved to be invaluable is in the treatment of patients following a cerebrovascular accident, more commonly known as a stroke. A combination of targeted physical exercise and speech therapy enable all but the most seriously debilitated patient to regain both normal movement and speech.

Although the efforts to address addiction in the US became more urgent as a result of the Vietnam War, the use of recreational drugs, such as marijuana and cocaine, has been spreading steadily and has now become a major problem in almost every part of the world, including South Africa. Together with alcohol abuse, drug addiction is rapidly gaining the status of an epidemic and now ranks as one of the most common contributors to the marked increase in antisocial behaviour, domestic violence and the steady decay of the nuclear family that, in common with most developed countries, we are experiencing in South Africa.

So severe has the problem become, and so widespread the need for effective rehabilitation therapy, that the country???s medical aid funds are now required to contribute substantially towards the cost of specialised addiction treatment, which is available, almost exclusively, from the private healthcare sector. Support groups abound and have an important role to play in the support that they provide to recovering addicts. As a primary treatment designed to kick-start the recovery process, however, they offer little benefit.

In practice, the only truly effective option for those who are serious about overcoming their addiction is to enrol in a programme of psychotherapy and other related treatments. Furthermore, such programmes are invariably most effective when they are conducted on a residential basis in a suitable clinic facility where patients then remain available for continuous observation, periodic assessment and any adjustments to their treatment that may be indicated.

One such clinic that serves patients in the Gauteng and the North West provincial areas is Beethoven Recovery Centre. Given that one of the prime requirements for recovery is a peaceful environment, our clinic could not be better situated. Set in colourful gardens and sandwiched between the beautiful mountains of the Magaliesberg and the stunning vista of the Hartbeespoort Dam, the interior of the centre is as relaxing and as attractive as its surroundings.

Rehabilitation therapy is provided for patients of 18 years and over, and includes round-the clock nursing and psychiatric oversight. Typically, treatment is conducted over a 7-week period and in 2 phases, beginning with contemplation, commitment and action, and progressing to the maintenance phase.

Comfortable accommodation, a healthy diet and extensive facilities for relaxation and recreation all contribute to a sense of wellbeing that, in parallel with medication, counselling, education and psychotherapy, is an important element of the integrative programme favoured by the specialists at our centre and now adopted by most therapists internationally.

However, the most important element of addiction treatment at Beethoven Recovery Centre and the key to our success is, without doubt, the fact that each patient is considered as an individual. This means that everyone will undergo a programme of treatment that has been tailored to his or her unique needs as determined by a preliminary evaluation.