Heilsa Holistic Solutions

Holistic Substance Abuse Treatment Program

Heilsa Holistic Solutions adopts a holistic approach to the treatment of substance abuse. Our approach is influenced by the Structured Relapse Prevention (SRP) model developed by Dr. Helen Annis in the late 1980s at the Addiction Research Foundation. We also incorporate mindfulness-based interventions and help clients to discover how certain experiences have led to unhealthy behaviours. Gaining new insights helps clients to overcome addiction and to develop healthy functional behaviors.

A primary goal of our treatment is to increase awareness of individual strengths and healthy coping strategies and to work with these to facilitate recovery and long term wellness. Special attention is paid to developing skills that increase our clients’ sense of independence, self-worth, and empowerment, and that contribute to healthy relationships with family and friends. There is a strong focus on self-care, productivity, leisure and recreation, nutrition, and exercise. Unlike residential substance abuse treatment programs, clients can immediately incorporate their coping skills and insights into their “real” everyday lives.

In many cases emotional problems exist before drug or alcohol abuse begins and substances are used to manage emotional pain. Research shows those who struggle with emotional problems like anxiety and depression are more at risk for developing substance use disorders, are more sensitive to the effects of substance use, and are more likely to relapse than those who are psychologically healthy. Hence our program emphasizes developing psychological health along with abstinence or control of substance use.

Our program consists of four major phases: Assessment, Development of an Individualized Treatment Program, Acquisition of Skills and New Habits, and Maintenance and Relapse Prevention.


During the initial four sessions, we will complete a comprehensive assessment to determine the nature and level of the client’s substance abuse problems. This assessment will also cover specific areas related to addiction, such as other harmful behaviours and co-occurring mental health conditions that may also need attention for recovery. Another important role of the assessment process is to identify and acknowledge client strengths and resources, so that they can be used to facilitate recovery. Assessment will involve completion of psychological and substance use measures and interpretation of the results. More detailed information about client habits may also be acquired as needed (e.g., keeping a diary of substance use including frequency and situations). The comprehensive picture that emerges from this assessment will provide a solid foundation for development of an effective individualized treatment program.

Development of an Individualized Treatment Program

The second phase of our program lasts 4 sessions (or longer if the client also has mental health issues) and involves a collaborative process during which, informed by assessment, client and therapist identify primary goals for treatment and develop a treatment program that outlines how these goals will be achieved. Our treatment model incorporates mindfulness interventions into a well-tested cognitive-behavioural approach and helps client learn how to cope with daily substance use triggers and risk situations. The use of mindfulness-based interventions for clients with addictive disorders has been found to be particularly effective. For example, an individual’s unwillingness to remain in contact with unpleasant thoughts and experiences has been implicated in substance abuse. Studies have shown that mindfulness meditation decreases such avoidance by promoting nonjudgmental acceptance of moment-to-moment feelings and thoughts and by interrupting the tendency to respond with harmful behaviors such as substance use. Cravings can also be effectively managed with mindfulness practice as the client learns not to react automatically but to respond consciously.

Acquisition of Skills and New Habits

Phase three is the heart of our program and involves the implementation of the treatment plan and its adjustment as necessary to achieve treatment goals. Treatment generally involves a combination of psychological therapy and mindfulness training. As needed, other forms of treatment are incorporated, including family or couple’s therapy, nutritional counseling, or fitness programs. During this phase, clients are actively involved through participation in formal sessions and completion of homework assignments designed to develop and test skills associated with reduction in cravings and substance use. Clients learn to modify the emotional, mental, and behavioral elements that underlie their substance abuse, and to replace them with healthier, more constructive habits. Clients also learn to identify internal and external triggers of substance use and to respond in an adaptive manner. The duration of this phase will vary depending on the client’s individual needs.

Maintenance and Relapse Prevention

The final phase of treatment focuses on maintaining and using acquired skills in order to prevent relapse. We actively work with clients to support newly-developed helpful thinking habits (self-talk) and ways of dealing with emotion (e.g., awareness and appropriate expression). We also support clients in their continued practice of new behaviours (e.g., interpersonal skills and healthy activities). We offer E-Therapy sessions through SKYPE, Facetime, and phone in order to facilitate clients’ participation in this part of the program while they are meeting the demands of their daily life.

For more information about the program, including pricing, contact us for a no-charge initial consultation.

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