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How Flatirons Recovery Model is Different from Traditional Residential Care

Written on June 24, 2021
How Flatirons Recovery Model is Different from Traditional Residential Care

Understanding the world of rehab and addiction treatment centers can sometimes be difficult. Knowing what level of care or type of addiction treatment is right for you can be confusing, if not outright dizzying. With so many different treatment options available, from detox and residential treatment programs to various forms of outpatient care to sober living facilities—all aimed at facilitating varying individual needs—it can be difficult to parse out what path is best for you, especially in a time of crisis. This is why I’d like to take a moment to explain the structure of our addiction treatment programs at Flatirons Recovery and how they differ from a more traditional residential setting.

Residential Addiction Treatment (RTC)

A traditional Residential Treatment Center (RTC) is a treatment center that offers all its programming and accommodations in the same place. The type of facility may vary greatly, from a five or six bedroom house where group therapy is done in a converted living room, to larger care center with a hundred beds or more. In either of these instances, clients are generally required to stay on the premises for the duration of their residential treatment and are heavily monitored by staff. Staff are present 24-7 and make regular rounds checking on clients throughout the day and night. Some RTCs have social or medical detox facilities within them, where clients can safely detox from drugs or alcohol without going to a separate detox facility. Some also have 24-hour medical staff on-site for clients who may have higher medical needs.

The Flatirons Recovery Model

At Flatirons Recovery, our highest level of care is called partial hospitalization (PHP) with structured lodging. There are a few key differences between PHP with lodging and residential addiction treatment. Our PHP program affords clients all-inclusive clinical programing, lodging, food, recreational programming, transportation, and around the clock staff accountability and supervision. Our staff monitors medications, performs drug and alcohol screenings, and supports clients outside of their therapy programming with everything from social conflict within the community to life skills coaching. Clients do leave the premises frequently for outings, though they are always accompanied and transported by staff. In this sense, clients are a little more “out in the world” than they would be in a residential program. Another difference in lodging is that though staff is monitoring clients consistently, this monitoring is less rigorous than in residential care. For example, “bed checks” to make sure clients are asleep in their rooms every two hours or so throughout the night as is standard in RTC care and not at our facility. Another key difference is that our counseling offices and our residence are also in separate locations, which we believe to be of great benefit for many clients. Here are a few reasons why our model, called “Partial Hospitalization (PHP) with Lodging” may be a beneficial choice for addiction treatment of certain individuals:

  1. It more closely emulates life after treatment

    Our two facilities serve very different purposes. Our counseling center is a large office suite where clients participate in various group, individual, and/or family and couple’s therapy sessions, as well as medical appointments and other case management and discharge planning appointments.. The counseling center is home to the addiction treatment center’s clinical curriculum, which includes topics such as relapse prevention, DBT, developing mindfulness skills through meditation and yoga, nutrition, art therapy, and more. It is also a shared space with others who are participating in intensive outpatient (IOP programming), some of whom may be staying in our residence and some who are living at home.

    Our residence is a modern, newly renovated, and cozy house located in the middle of an 80-acre horse farm. The house is where our clients relax, build community with one another in a more social atmosphere, participate in community-based fellowships (such as 12 step, Recovery Dharma, SMART Recovery, and others), build valuable life-skills such as grocery shopping, cooking, and self-care, and can participate in staff-facilitated group outings on a daily basis to hiking trails, the gym, frisbee golf course, and other recreational spots.

    Flatirons Recovery staff provides transportation back and forth between our two facilities, and our housing and clinical staff work closely with each other to communicate extensively for a seamless coordination of care. Having these two spaces can feel much more like a life in which someone goes to work or school to do what we call “the work” of healing, and then shifts gears to being at home, with many of the other factors that are essential for a thriving life in recovery: down time, community support, exercise, self care, and sticking to a healthy diet.

  2. It can also be beneficial from a trauma-informed perspective

    On that note, having a separate space to do the emotional work, one that you are allowed to leave behind at the end of the day to recuperate, can be hugely beneficial to those recovering from trauma. One of the principles of EMDR, a highly effective evidence-based therapy used at Flatirons Recovery to treat trauma, is what we call “containment,” or visualizing a safe container to leave a person’s trauma in when they need to attend to the rest of their lives outside of the therapy session. We aren’t meant to be constantly emotionally processing, carrying grief, fear, and/or trauma with us wherever we go, though if we do not put intention into creating an energetic boundary around these intense processes, we will end up bringing them with us, whether we want to or not. It can take practice to mindfully keep them at bay and to stave off intrusive or ruminating thoughts, but with some intention and guidance it is not only possible, but essential for lasting healing. Having a place to sleep, eat, and unwind that is physically separate from the place you are doing therapy may help to build this sense of safety, containment, and boundaries.

  3. You get the best of both worlds: home-like accommodations and a spacious counseling facility

    When looking for a traditional residential treatment facility, you may find yourself choosing between a more intimate, home-like setting or a large, hospital-like facility. Both have their benefits. A smaller residential center located in a house may bring with it the comforts of being at home, while a larger facility may help you to feel less closed in, which is helpful when you are staying in treatment for a longer duration, such as a month or more. The Flatirons Recovery model gives clients the best of both of these worlds. The residence is a clean, modern house with all of the comforts of home: a spacious kitchen, two cozy living spaces for gathering and unwinding, a patio looking out onto open horse pastures, and comfortable bedrooms with large windows and attached bathrooms. Our counseling facility where clients come for treatment during the day is in a clean and open office with abundant natural light, large group rooms, and plenty of space to play games, read, or gather with others in between programming. It is also located directly above a coffee shop and in the same shopping center as the Lafayette YMCA—which includes a gym, pool, and ice rink among other amenities—to which all of our clients have full access.

  4. With individualized care, you may be able to have a little more freedom

    Because we are an intimate facility—only 9 beds—we are able to offer highly individualized care tailored to each person’s needs. Those clients at the PHP level of care will have the opportunity to leave the premises accompanied by staff and are encouraged to do so! Building a routine that includes community recovery meetups, sober recreation, self care, and everyday tasks like going to the grocery store is something that is an integral part of our curriculum. Those who are at a later stage in their addiction treatment with us, such as intensive outpatient (IOP) may have the ability to come and go from the house more freely. This is hugely important in the transition back to life after treatment, where our graduates will have to navigate real world situations without staff accountability. Those who begin addiction treatment with us can go through this continuation of care in the same location and with the same staff and community.

So how do you know if Flatirons Recovery is the best choice for you?

It is important to consult with a qualified addiction treatment professional to determine if a PHP with lodging program is the best fit for you, or if you would be better served by a traditional residential treatment program. If, for example, your needs include a higher level of staff supervision or on-site medical care available 24/7, residential treatment may be necessary before participating in our addiction treatment program. An assessment can be done by our staff to determine what treatment model will best fit your needs, and we are able to refer you accordingly to one of our community partners who provide outstanding residential level addiction services.

*Disclaimer: this article is not intended to be a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. It should not
be used in place of advice by a qualified medical professional.*