It has been an incredible privilege to do my rehab internships as part of the team at Hope, who provide a primary treatment drug rehabilitation program in Thailand. Hope has successfully helped countless lives and continues to do so. Since completing a Masters of Applied Psychology in Hong Kong, I was searching for an opportunity to continue my long term career goal of working in the field of addiction. Due to the lack of rehab centres and language barrier in Hong Kong the opportunities were very limited. I began researching alternatives and made contact with Hope. The team were very accommodating and helpful, welcoming me to gain the practical experience I had been searching for, fulfilling every requirement necessary. As there isn’t a lot of focus or education about addiction, despite the fact that it is so prevalent, it was very refreshing to know that part of the philosophy at Hope is that by helping to train interns, it allows people like me and others to have the opportunity to help addicts globally.
My first impression on arrival was a very relaxed, therapeutic, and friendly atmosphere. The grounds are also quiet unique with quirky items placed throughout the premises. As you enter there is a plane on the right which was used to airlift soldiers during the Vietnam War. There is a gym which has been made to represent an airport terminal and behind the main building there is a mini Eiffel tower. There are also a number of fishing boats which staff reside on. The eccentricity of the place is certainly welcoming and relaxing and the informal setting is really important for the clients who arrive in an anxious state. The food is absolutely delicious and clients have mentioned that they have been practicing mindfulness with the food to really appreciate the flavours. Myself, on the other hand, had to practice being mindful of not having second helpings and over eating!
Some photo’s taken by a fellow intern Luuk Bron
The staff at Hope made me feel very much a part of the team and were all very helpful and caring. The comprehensive ‘hands on’ experience with professional supervisors enabled me to participate in both group and individual processes, case management and intake and discharge procedures. In group sessions clients would present their step work, learn CBT tools, positive affirmations and work on self- esteem and personas, goals and relapse prevention just to mention a few. I feel I have been given the chance to gain confidence outside of the academic environment as well as the opportunity to participate in all off site activities such as AA and NA meetings. I was also more than welcome to join in morning exercise and other daily activities such as yoga, pilates, Thai boxing, meditation, tai chi and mindfulness classes. The combination of physical and contemplative exercise contributes greatly to the mental well- being of the client. This is all part of the holistic approach to treatment that makes Hope unique. All of these activities were enjoyed in a wonderful tropical environment and I feel that the overall health and fitness benefits have been amazing.
It was a fantastic experience to spend time with the clients who come from all over the world and all walks of life. I really enjoyed the opportunity to get to know them off the premises with day trips to an island or eating at a local Japanese restaurant after a trip to the health park. The most rewarding part of my experience was seeing clients embrace positive change and become aware that past and present behaviours no longer served them nor defined them. Clients can arrive literally broken and in a very dark place and to see the growth and changes is something really special. The most enjoyable experience is interacting with clients, listening and learning about their life stories, feeling their experiences and having a positive impact on their recovery. Specifically, I was able to work on a 1:1 basis using a structured therapy with a client who was suffering from anxiety and given the opportunity to decide on an appropriate plan of action. Observing how the clients work together and support each other is also very special, the group process coming together is something really unique to witness.
I will be taking away an invaluable experience, not only on a professional level but as a personal growth experience. Being in an environment and getting to know the clients, hearing and relating to them sharing their experiences has also had a positive effect on how I manage my own life and situations. Having had the opportunity to witness addiction from a broad perspective I have gained a much better understanding of the struggles faced by addiction sufferers on a daily basis. I really feel privileged to have seen the initial challenges and the hope of clients for a brighter future in recovery.
‘There is nothing so moving as bearing witness to the transformation of the human spirit’
Rehab internships – Hope Rehab Thailand By Kim P