As Portage’s drug rehabilitation treatment approach has evolved over the years, there has been an increasing focus on clients’ unique attributes and individual needs, enabling the client to set the priorities for his own recovery. Taking the concept further, Portage’s Workbook is the most recent adaptation of the treatment approach, currently being piloted at Portage’s youth centres in New Brunswick and Ontario. Based on Portage’s tools and competencies, the Workbook seeks to provide a roadmap for self-directed recovery.
Upon admission, each client receives his own Workbook, which serves as a guide to help him understand the program and to chart his personal progression throughout treatment. Exercises are based on the topics of the day’s workshops, groups, and seminars, and daily reflection questions help the client gain insight into his development.
Case managers follow a matching handbook, and at bi-weekly meetings the client’s self-evaluated progress is compared to his case manager’s observations. When a consensus is reached between the client, the case manager, and the community, a client will move on to the next phase of treatment and begin a new Workbook for that particular phase. “Successful completion of each phase of the program accompanied by peer recognition and advancement to the next phase reward the client and reinforces the process of empowerment,” states Portage’s Executive Director, Peter Vamos.
So far, the hypothesis that such a tool would improve treatment outcomes has been validated at Portage’s youth centre in New Brunswick, in that retention rates during the induction phase have shown remarkable improvement over the past few months of the pilot project. The Workbook has just recently been introduced at Portage’s youth centre in Ontario and will eventually be rolled out at all other Portage drug rehabilitation centres as well. An adapted workbook for family members will also be introduced, to help the family unit grow and adapt alongside their loved one in treatment.
Though Portage’s treatment approach has evolved during the past four decades that the organisation has been helping people overcome drug addiction, the core has always remained the same: to help clients develop the tools, competencies, and self-esteem to be able to better handle the challenges of everyday life, without resorting to drug abuse. Portage’s Workbook is a valuable new tool to facilitate doing just that.