The primary starting point in this treatment is to focus on the drug addiction and the consequences this drug addiction has given the client. We do not believe it suffices with external changes, there must also take place a change in the psychological and spiritual area. We often see women approaching ARKEN as a result of one or more crisis situations. We view these crisis' as important driving forces in the work of change.
We work to break down defence mechanisms such as denial and projection, to be able to achive a level of insight, and working with wounds, losses and traumas. Treating grief has a central place in the treatment program, whether they originated prior to the abuse starting or being a consequence of the abuse. There can be a loss of family members, children, friends, lost years and now the loss of drugs. The work of changing is inspired by psychodynamic theories, where one in treatment solves conflicts through treating emotional bindings to painful experiences in the past.
The treatment program is structured, systematic and goal oriented. By using our educational program we give the women knowledge of the nature of abuse, defence mechanisms, processes of griefs and so on. We follow a regular week program, and the treatment is intensive. Lectures, individual assignments and treatment plans, conversations with each individual and group therapy is used. We have morning meditation, where the women prepare the day and make a decicion of remaining drug free for that day. The day is closed with patient-only groups where the women summarize their day and share thoughts, feelings and attitudes with the other women.
The staff hold lectures on different subjects. Examples of subjects are sorrow and grief, women and abuse, guilt and shame, and AA's 12 steps. There are about a total of 30 lectures on different subjects.
Every women is assigned her own individual contact and is given individual treatment plans. Compulsory assignments to write are: drug history, consequences of own addiction, life history and powerlessness in relation to drugs. They also work with assignments that are related to each woman's own resources and where each patient's specific challenges are placed in center.
We have daily treatment groups, where the group as a resource is the central focus. Her problems associated with the drug addiction becomes a joint concern, and each woman sees the they are all in "the same boat", and that they are not alone. During these groups the women give eachother feedback, they experience support from the group, control, recognition, and integration of joint solutions.
In addition we present AA's 12 steps and self help groups. The patients are thoroughly introduced to AA's 12 step program, which suggests a stepwise change of the drug addicted's way of thinking, with the following lifestyle and priorities.
The women work systematically in acquiring a realistic view of their lives, and in examining the patterns and roles they have lived, and how (non-)functional these have been. The women must embrace their own self-worth and there must take place changes in several, often all, areas in their life. Important changes are: courage to take a look at their own life, courage to examine their own feelings, being able to draw boundaries, to ask for help, choose their own behavior, take chances and taking one day at a time.
When the patient establishes herself outside ARKEN, she will face new challenges. This is a critical phase and the women are often vulnerable. Many have used a rehabilitation center for drug addicts; Stensløkka Ressurssenter. We have cooperated with this institution since 1993. The post-treatment program ensures contact between the women and tries to assist the women in applying their knowledge from the primary treatment.
The post-treatment program consists of weekly group meetings. The women examine their past week, and different everyday problems is raised. Prevention of relapse is important. We work by a model through which the women themselves systematize and learn to recognize own patterns that indicate relapse, with concrete tasks to change this behavior.
They have an offer standing of weekly individual conversations, and to use ARKEN if needed, both by telephone and direct contact.
One condition for being allowed to participate in the post-treatment program is that they attend two AA/NA (Anonymous drug addicts) meetings per week. It takes time to establish a drug-free life, in the same way it takes time to establish an addiction. The post-treatment program lasts a minimum of one year.
Family and network
We include family and friends when and where that is possible and fruitful. Family and others within a client's social network are offered to participate in a seminar lasting one weekend. Themes for the seminar are addiction, communication, feelings, roles and responsibilities when a close person has a drug problem.
Our experience is that assisting persons affected by another person's drug addiction, helps the treatment and can prevent difficulties within the family.