The Sanctuary Byron Bay
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Spring 2014

In this issue:

Sanctuary Recovery House Launch

Sanctuary Recovery House

After 10 years of pioneering individualised holistic and integrated treatment, The Sanctuary Byron Bay is proud to announce the establishment of the Sanctuary Recovery House in May this year. The Sanctuary Recovery House is a supported residential home bridging the gap between intensive treatment and healthy, independent living. It provides support in a post-rehab supported environment. The Sanctuary Recovery House was developed to help people in early recovery from drug and alcohol use, learn how to deal with their underlying problems and practice sober living in their day to day lives. The Recovery House is situated in Byron Bay and is limited to five people.

For many people, ceasing regular use of drugs and alcohol is not the main issue in treatment. Many people can and do stop using for a period of time when sufficiently motivated, or when supply abruptly ceases. However, what proves difficult is continued and sustained abstinence. Most people use substances to avoid something, so when they stop using substances they are faced with exactly what they are trying to avoid in the first place – difficult underlying issues such as depression, anxiety, insecurities, trauma or unsatisfactory relationships. Without proper therapeutic guidance or support, any unresolved issue can overwhelm or be experienced as so overly distressing that return to substance use once again becomes a viable ‘solution’, especially when underlying issues remain unaddressed.

The Sanctuary Recovery House was established to address this very need for support and guidance at the early stages of recovery. By addressing the underlying issues with experienced therapists and supporting each client to establish a healthy, positive routine from the outset, the pitfalls of early recovery can be avoided, ensuring the best chance for a fulfilling long term recovery. 

A stay at the Sanctuary Recovery House includes:

Residents are also encouraged to access external supports such as body-workers and other practitioners in the community. We also expect residents to attend 12-step meetings or to access equivalent support, thereby assuming personal responsibility for their own recovery, but in a safe and supported environment.

A minimum stay of 28 days is required. Contact us for further information

Micha Lerner, Psychotherapist

Sanctuary Recovery House

The Sanctuary Byron Bay is delighted to welcome Micha Lerner to our Sanctuary ‘family’ this year. Micha is a registered psychologist and joins the Sanctuary team as a senior psychotherapist. Originally from Israel, Micha completed his post-graduate studies at Bond University, researching drug induced spiritual experiences - a topic of great interest to the research community.

Micha has worked extensively in both mental health and drug and alcohol settings, more recently as a dual diagnosis specialist coordinator at Mirikai, a program of the Gold Coast Drug Council in South-East Queensland. Micha’s earlier experiences leading programs for youth in addiction and youth in distress led him to consolidate his clinical interests in a psychology degree but throughout his professional life, Micha has remained involved in education, treatment and advocacy for improved treatment for young people with complex needs.

We are fortunate to have someone with Micha’s experience and expertise joining our multidisciplinary team as it takes a collaborative mindset to work well with other professionals. The Sanctuary’s success is largely founded on the careful selection of staff and the depth and breadth of experience each of them bring to our integrated team.

Fortunately, Micha’s own vocational preferences ensure a perfect fit. In his own words:

“I’ve always thrived on working as part of a team – it suits me well – and the Sanctuary is like no other workplace. There’s a real sense of family here – a sense that there are many excellent minds working together for the benefit of our clients.  With my colleagues sharing the same sense of passion, energy and enthusiasm for our work, we’re truly in a unique position to really make a difference to those seeking help.”

Subsidised Positions at Sanctuary Recovery House

Sanctuary Recovery House

At our new Sanctuary Recovery House, a supported residential home aimed at people committed to abstinence and recovery from drug and alcohol use, we offer a permanent subsidised position open to anyone showing strong commitment to recovery but who also demonstrates financial need. This subsidised position was created to assist those who might benefit greatly from the Recovery House environment, but whose financial means are limited. In effect, the subsidised position functions like a ‘scholarship’ to help deserving applicants who might not otherwise be able to afford a private supported residential facility.

A subsidised resident pays reduced fees but participates fully in all activities of the Recovery House and is treated no differently from any other resident. Existing residents on full fees can also apply for a subsidised position if they wish to extend their stay but have limited financial resources to do so. Each application for a subsidised position will be assessed on its own merits taking into account each applicant’s commitment and personal situation at the time. A successful applicant needs to demonstrate a strong commitment to recovery and be willing to outline exactly how they are in financial need of a subsidy.

We believe the gift of recovery should be accessible and providing a subsidised position goes some way towards helping those people who are committed to recovery and who need financial support


Director's Note - Michael Goldberg

Sanctuary Recovery House

On the 5th of March this year, the Sanctuary Byron Bay marked a very important milestone – our TENTH birthday!  This marks a huge achievement for our wonderful team and I am proud to celebrate a decade of hard work and innovation while honouring the genuine love and care embodied in our services, helping so many people from all walks of life.

Since 2004, The Sanctuary Byron Bay has pioneered individualised treatment with an integrated team comprising medical, psychiatric, psychotherapy, allied health and bodywork components. We were the first in the world to offer such a service, and we still lead the treatment field today. Our innovations have since been copied by a few establishments, but none to date have been able to match the seamless integration of modalities on offer here, nor the depth of skill and experience of our wonderful staff, many of whom have worked together since the Sanctuary Byron Bay’s inception. We were the first of our kind, and because of our continual commitment to excellence, we remain the best.

Recently, our client base from Asia has expanded. Growing regional wealth and rising awareness of Australia as a viable treatment base means treatment in Australia will soon become a more popular option in place of the US and Europe. Moreover, the Sanctuary Byron Bay’s focus on holistic healthcare and our understanding of the impact of cultural diversity in healthcare appeals to people outside of Australia.  We are able to understand the treatment needs of high-net worth international clients yet we are able to assess how cultural difference might impact on the design of each individual program.  Few treatment centres are able to operate outside narrowly prescribed methodologies, so our flexibility and intelligent adaptive treatment design continue to distinguish us from the rest.

In May this year, we established the Sanctuary Recovery House, a new post-detox/rehab supported live-in program where residents practice living without drugs and alcohol with the support of like-minded peers. At the Sanctuary Recovery House, limited to five participants, residents are able to explore the underlying reasons for their use of drugs and alcohol with experienced therapists while maintaining a daily healthy routine and encouraging each other to ‘stay the course’.  This new innovative service bridges the gap between intensive treatment and fully independent living, encouraging those in early recovery to build and maintain healthy habits and routines while still continuing to resolve deeper issues.

This year, we also welcomed a new addition to our therapeutic team, Micha Lerner, a highly experienced clinician with extensive experience in both drug and alcohol and mental health treatment in a variety of settings. We’re delighted to have Micha on board. He already feels like an integral part of the Sanctuary family.

And from our humble beginnings, ten years on - here we are: a dynamic, interconnected and passionate team of colleagues and friends, The Sanctuary family, working together to serve you and to help you get well.

Michael Goldberg