One of the most beneficial aspects of inpatient treatment is often overlooked. Not only does a residential treatment setting allow for intensive, clinical and therapeutic healing, but this type of setting also allows patients to foster strong, interpersonal bonds. Bonds that will be essential to continued recovery.
For those who have long-since struggled with life-threatening addictive disorders, unresolved trauma, or any encumbering psychological disorder, inpatient treatment is likely a viable option. In an inpatient setting, individual patients receive thorough and customized care – they are separated from the stressors and distractions of everyday life, and are able to focus exclusively on healing. In a safe, therapeutic setting, they are able to adequately address all of the co-occurring issues that have been holding them back. There are many benefits to inpatient treatment, to be sure. Yet one of the most significant advantages – one that will pave the way for long-term, fulfilled recovery – is often overlooked.
This is what happens after clinical group and one-on-one therapy. This is what happens when the patients return to the residence for the evening after a long day or psychodrama and EMDR and inner child work.
The Importance of Brotherhood
It is easy for us to assume that the treatment professionals who are helping an individual to address and overcome his issues will have the most profound impact on his recovery. And while they do (and of course they do), it seems as if the people who will have the most influence on his recovery process are the other patients – the guys he is ‘in the trenches’ with, so to speak. Because of this, it extremely important for the clinical staff members to create an environment in which this kind of bonding is possible. After all, forming healthy and meaningful relationships with other men is a skill absolutely essential to continuous recovery. Camaraderie is imperative, and creating an environment geared towards effective group cohesion is indispensable. But how can this be done?
First of all, it is important to maintain some degree of balance in the clinical setting. For example, 10 hours of intensive therapy 7 days a week may not be quite as effective as 8 hours of intensive therapy 5 days a week, coupled with some adventure therapy, team-building activities, and a small amount of downtime. We at Next Chapter make sure that our patients are actively participating in at least one off-residence group activity per week. They may go to the movies, go snorkeling or kayaking, or volunteer for a local charity together. Not only do activities such as these work to alleviate the intensity of an emotionally strenuous week, but they help foster the brotherhood that is vital to long-term success. Secondly, it is important that effective communication techniques are both taught and implemented. The techniques that patients learn in a group setting will be put into action when they are outside of the clinical office (but still under supervision of residential staff members). They will learn to resolve conflict, set healthy boundaries, and express their feelings in an effective and rational way.
Why is Camaraderie Important to Recovery?
In early recovery, accountability is essential to the maintenance of salubrious behavioral patterns. Of course, once an individual has graduated from inpatient treatment and is back in the real world, 24/7 supervision and guidance will not be readily available. It will up to the individual to adhere to a daily, structured routine; there will be no morning meditation, no mandatory meetings, and no nightly check-ins. The role of the treatment professional is to instill in those new to recovery how to continuing moving in the right direction; and forward progress is made when healthy bonds are formed and maintained. We encourage our patients to connect with the men they are in treatment with AND reach out to men outside of the facility; sober supports that can take them to and from meetings, and with whom they can begin the process of genuinely bonding. Recovery of all kinds, whether it be trauma recovery, addiction recovery, or mental health recovery, will only be comprehensively successful when camaraderie is involved.
Brotherhood is crucial – and we at Next Chapter make a point to instill this, so that all of our patients experience continued fulfillment long after leaving our program.