Getting Accepted into Hope Rehab Thailand’s Program
Getting Accepted into Hope Rehab Thailand’s Program
Before Hope can accept a new client, its key admissions staff will run carefully-designed questions to ensure that the potential client is well suited to Hope’s program and committed to his or her recovery. As part of my research, I spoke to Natalie (a counsellor formerly at Hope) and Parice (a former client), who both work with Simon to respond to enquiries and applications. I wanted to get an idea of what the potential client could expect in the way of questions. But first and foremost, I wanted to know what it was like to be in the “frontline” of admissions, talking all day to people who are often distressed and in pain.
“Well, now that I’ve been doing this for two years,” answers Natalie, “I know all the questions and the various drugs and medications back to front, so it generally goes pretty smoothly – but I am listening carefully for anything that would disqualify an individual – such as being self-harming, or having schizophrenia, or eating disorders – in which case I’d be looking for an alternate place for them to get help.”
The “Coachability” Requirement
In accepting a place at Hope, the client also accepts the need to be “coachable.” Being coachable means being receptive to new information, advice and direction, and also being willing and ready to get out of their comfort zone. It calls for willingness to do honest and rigorous self-assessments – which will often lead to ego deflation, meaning reducing that sense that we are at the center of everything that matters, or that everything revolves around us. In sum, coachability implies a certain degree of surrender.
In cases where people are on certain medications that make people sleepy or unable to concentrate, this is problematic for following Hope’s intensive program. As noted by Natalie, “If they are on certain anti-psychotics, for instance, they may be too sleepy to participate in group and do the homework.”
I asked Natalie how she manages to judge whether an applicant is serious about stopping their using and moving into recovery. “Well”, says Natalie, “the Number One indicator is if they answer the phone – right there is a first sign of seriousness! There are plenty who don’t.” On the other hand, says Parice, “it was a firm No for the girl who was snorting lines of cocaine while on the phone with me, and also No for the person who declared that he had to be allowed to do a 12km run every morning, by himself.” “Sometimes,” adds Parice, “deeply serious people call from the UK but they can’t afford to come to Hope, in which case we’ll definitely go out of our way to refer them to the more affordable services they can access in the UK.”
Even though the commitments are carefully explained by the admissions team, occasionally individuals fail to honour their commitments; or, it might emerge that, all along, they had been concealing their true situation; or perhaps the applicant was being pushed into feeding the team certain “winning” responses by their families, anxious to quickly get them into a safer environment.
Head Counsellor Henk has made something of a study of these individuals.: “Of course, not everyone can adapt to our program – there are those that we call ‘complainers’ and those we call ‘visitors’, with all the others being “customers”. A complainer,” explains Henk, “is someone who is essentially “stuck in the problem”, someone that it takes a lot of time to convince that they can release themselves from the problem they have. Yes, we can turn this kind of situation around; it just takes a lot of time.”
“Visitors” are the worst, according to Henk’s ranking. “These people,” he says, “don’t have problems, and everything that goes wrong is everybody else’s fault. Very often they will have been persuaded by others to do the Hope program, so they are not personally motivated. These visitors will do things like admit to a cocaine problem, but not to an alcohol problem; or else they’ll flag the alcohol problem but not mention that they also have mental health issues.” When we are faced with lies, mental baggage, and behaviour that is disrupting the other clients, we have to ask them to leave. But this is rare, as we filter the applications very carefully. In the case of a hidden mental health issue, we help place them in a more suitable facility.”
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