About Portage


The time a person spends at Portage can best be described as a time of self-discovery. In the supportive and nurturing environment of the Portage community, our clients encounter, sometimes for the first time, their emergent self.  This is not so much about treatment as it is about freeing the beautiful person within, to face the world and its challenges with confidence, competence, and a determination driven by hope.

Ask any Portage resident or graduate what the most difficult thing they had to do in their program was and they will tell you that it is to put words to the thoughts and feelings that have been buried deep within their hearts. So difficult, yet so important.
The wise old psychotherapist, Virginia Satir, believed that caring and acceptance are the key elements to helping people face their fears and open up their hearts to others. She, like Portage, believed that love and nurturance are the most important healing aspects of therapy. These, along with our deep respect for each human being and our belief in their capacity to grow, are integral elements of Portage’s approach.
Our program recognises and celebrates the unique needs, character, talents, and strengths of each of our residents, through the supportive peer-driven Portage community. The focus is to build up rather than tear down – to build up and empower, to live in an environment of mutual respect and support, to learn to love oneself and others, and in turn, learn to be loved.
In this nurturing respectful environment, Portage provides the therapeutic ingredients that reflect our state of the art practices. The community is a living embodiment of the core conditions necessary for the therapeutic alliance. Portage residents feel secure in engaging in their journey of recovery, and do so with energy and commitment. The content of the Portage treatment program has all the necessary best practice elements and is constantly evaluated and updated.
But the Portage experience is so much more than a smorgasbord of techniques. Environment, context, and attachment are as important as the techniques. Motivation born out of confidence rather than despair, and learning through self-discovery rather than fear, are ingredients that are most likely to produce lasting change.
The Portage experience must not stop at the doors of our centres. It must be extended and supported in the greater community.  Portage graduates must continue to receive love and support after completing their program, as their new skills and outlook are put to the test in the outside world.  Portage’s social reintegration, aftercare, and family services seek to help clients build a solid support network and maximise their chances at continued sobriety and at healthy, happy, and productive lives.

– Peter Vamos, Executive Director of Portage