The Sanctuary Byron Bay
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Newsletter #7 - May 2010

In this issue:

Director's Introduction - Michael Goldberg

Welcome to the 7th edition of our Sanctuary Byron Bay Newsletter. If you have recently subscribed, we invite you to access previous newsletters on our new website.

For those of you who have been fortunate enough to visit the Northern Rivers area of New South Wales, you will know that our location here affords our clients the luxury of enjoying temperate weather throughout the year.  With the high humidity of summer receding, we are now enjoying crisp, clear days and beautiful autumn sunsets, and as the evenings cool, one can still enjoy a sunny day on the beach here in Byron Bay. But as winter approaches, more opportunities also arise for us to retreat, get warm and snug, and think about how we’d like to live our lives in richer, more rewarding ways.  Now is the time to leave the excesses of summer behind so we can contemplate and initiate the changes in our lives we’ve been postponing but which we know need to happen.

For any of you contemplating treatment at the Sanctuary Byron Bay but who have not yet visited the Northern Rivers area, I’d like to extend a warm invitation for you to come and visit first. Have a holiday and meet with me and some of our key staff.  An initial meeting can sometimes help to reinforce your drive to get well and dispel any fears or anxieties you may have about making changes in your life. If you’ve been contemplating shifting any old habits that no longer serve you well, come and talk to us to see how we can help.

In this edition of our newsletter, Jane Williams, our Clinical Director summarises the contributing factors to depression, highlighting the reality that for many, depression is not just confined to biology and the spurious promise of a magic pill.  As Jane explains, effective treatment needs to reflect the multi-faceted complexities of our existence.

Also in this edition, we look at the largely unrecognised issue of sugar addiction. While it seems trite to lump sugar in with other ‘stronger’, more destructive drugs, the addiction process nevertheless remains largely similar – ie  involving physiological adaptations to maintain equilibrium in the face of imbalances in biochemistry, all of which feed back to and inter-relate with cognition, feelings and moods.  Addiction is a complex process operating at many levels which is why a holistic, multi modal approach is absolutely essential to make any long term change.  Understanding our habitual use of sugar helps us understand how the process of addiction operates subtly in our lives.’

For those of you who are concerned about family members or friends who have yet to recognise the destructive path upon which they are travelling with regards to their habitual use of substances, the use of professional interventions services might be considered.  In this edition, we highlight how we can help.

I hope you enjoy this edition and I wish you all the very best!

Sincere Regards

Michael Goldberg

Founding Director

Depression is more than Biology

Director's Introduction

There is more than one type of depression and these range in severity. Some forms of depression are more biological (endogenous) than circumstantial. Biological depression needs to be treated with a range of treatments including medication. Circumstantial depression on the other hand, relates to what has happened and what is happening in your life, with professional understanding and support required in these cases.

The following are contributing issues to becoming depressed:-


The above issues which most people with depression experience, CANNOT be treated with medication alone. These issues require exploration, recognition and professional support to work through, and new strategies need to be developed to deal with them differently and more constructively.

At the Sanctuary we approach depression from all aspects. We have an excellent approach to diet and nutrition which supports the brain and body in being able to make more serotonin- the body’s natural anti-depressant. We have personal training to move the body and mind out of ‘stuckness’ and to  help the body produce its own bliss hormones. We have yoga and meditation to assist the body in learning to relax and develop a mindful approach to emotional and mood states which allows distance and detachment from depressed states. We use acupuncture, shiatsu and massage to help support the body, nurture it and move energy around the body out of stagnation. Most importantly we have intensive psychotherapy (at least four sessions a week) which utilises a combination of therapeutic techniques such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, experiential therapies such as Voice Dialogue and Gestalt therapy and a framework which understands how the past can shape our present and future. We are very aware at The Sanctuary that depression requires a holistic approach that recognises the interaction between mind, body and spirit.

Despite what we hear about revolutions in medication, there is no simple solution or magic pill for depression, the causes of which can never be merely relegated to biology. After all, we are not mere bodies but instead, a complex aggregation of thoughts, ideas, experiences, biology and emotions.  Depression is not only biological, but also existential.  Depression affects all aspects of being and as such requires to be addressed at multiple levels.

Sugar Addiction

Director's Introduction

Most people are unaware that sugar is actually an addictive substance and that excessive sugar consumption and unacknowledged sugar addiction in society remains largely unexamined.

The Sanctuary Byron Bay recently hosted an information night with our special guest, Monica Colmsjö, an educator and clinical nutritionist. Monica is the author of Sugar Dreams: waking up to the bitter reality - a fascinating account of:


In this illuminating seminar, Monica recounted her own personal experience with addictions in her family and explained her growing understanding of the bio-chemical nature of the addiction process.  Many addicts, she contends, substitute sugar when coming off alcohol and other drugs thereby prolonging a subtle maintenance of the addictive process, a strategy Monica wryly likens to “swapping seats on the Titanic”. Even those who have had no problems with alcohol and other drugs, can find it hard to shift dependence on sugar, which Monica points out, has been shown to be even more addictive than cocaine.

She urges us to monitor our sugar consumption and advocates the use of targeted dietary supplements to make up for deficiencies in our brain chemistry, which she argues is often the cause of depression, anxiety and other difficulties which leads us to using drugs and alcohol to cope in the first place.

Monica’s contention that sugar is a powerful drug can be tested by just shifting our awareness to how we crave sweet tastes and how we use sweets as rewards.

Try becoming aware of the part sugar plays in your life, even for just a week.  Once you have more awareness, see if you can reduce your reliance on this easy, quick ‘fix’ and then see how you react.  Is the process similar to any other addiction process you have experienced?

Sugar Dreams is available on order from

What is an Intervention?

Director's Introduction

An intervention is a highly structured 2 day process bringing together a person in crisis and their families, friends or colleagues, so that mutual solutions can be found. The goal of an intervention is not merely to convince a person in crisis that they need treatment, but to also provide intervention strategies for all parties concerned, so that they will know what to do and what to say.

Our intervention treatments include alcohol intervention, drug intervention, suicide intervention and depression intervention. We believe an effective intervention program will:


Years of intervention research has enabled us to develop a dignified and successful intervention program that helps not only the client but also the people requesting the intervention.

For more information about interventions and the services we can offer, please visit the Interventions Australia website.