Why trauma based and why gender specific? Experts in addiction report that female addiction is linked to early childhood or adolescent trauma and the lack of healthy relationships. (Covington, 1999) What does this mean for you?
Aventa’s programming specializes in treating women only. Led by trained, experienced, compassionate, and professional staff, our trauma based program is created by a leading female expert in women’s addiction, Dr. Stephanie Covington. Studies in addiction report that the treatment needs of women with substance use and mental health disorders are best met in women-only groups facilitated by women. (Covington, 1999) Women’s issues and the trauma they have experienced require a safe and gender specific environment to rebuild trust, self esteem and build healthy relationships.
Aventa’s addiction programming is based on a holistic treatment model that examines four specific areas that affect women’s lives: Self, Relationships, Sexuality and Spirituality. Treatment consists of a four stage process: the first stage is admissions and assessments – during this stage a thorough intake and evaluation will be completed by our admission/addiction counsellor to determine suitability and readiness to begin the program. The second stage consists of group work with other clients facilitated by an addiction counsellor, beginning once the client has been admitted into treatment. Attendance at groups is mandatory and topics include: self–esteem, sexism, family of origin, relationships, interpersonal violence, sexuality and abuse, and meditation and relaxation. During treatment at Aventa, clients are given a comprehensive workbook entitled “Helping Women Recover”, written by Dr. Stephanie Covington. This workbook will guide the recovery work done in group. The third stage of treatment consists of individualized sessions and planning with and addiction counsellor. The counsellor’s role is to help clients establish a clear recovery process in a safe and supportive environment and clients work with their counsellor throughout the duration of treatment. The fourth stage is learning how to work the program by attending mandatory Aftercare and Relapse Prevention with Alberta Health Services and other community supports.
In addition to addiction treatment, The Family Program works closely with the Clinical Team to help clients build better relationships with other family members. Sessions are available for families while in treatment and once clients graduate from Aventa, six post treatment sessions are offered for further family work. In addition, family work can be done on an individual basis when family involvement is not an option.
The YAT program has a significant recreational component; learning to have fun without the use of substances is crucial to the treatment process. Clients are challenged to try out new and exciting activities such as cooking classes, dance, art, yoga, and boxing. These types of activities encourage women to come together, have fun, build relationships, and increase confidence. Sober fun nights also give clients the opportunity to do different activities with other women and learn new skills or take up new hobbies. Our program also incorporates a healthy lifestyle which includes regular sleep, nutrition, and physical activity.
In addition to a trauma and gender specific treatment model, Aventa is an abstinence based treatment program. This means that treatment at Aventa is also about gaining significant awareness about addictive behaviors and cross addictions which can be a barrier to the recovery process. There are five scheduled smoking times per day at Aventa. If clients choose to quit while in treatment, there is a smoking cessation program as well as Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) administered by a Registered Nurse. Aventa employs two Registered Nurses whose primary focus is to do health risk assessments, monitor medications, and follow up on any health issues. A Physician with a specialty in Addictions is available one day per week to manage medical concerns; a Psychiatrist is also available to oversee any mental health concerns.
Treatment is hard work; it takes effort, determination and perseverance. The staff at Aventa recognize that challenges can be unique to each clients and they admire the courage it takes to admit you need help. We respect our clients and treat them with compassion and dignity, and offer the opportunity for a healthy life and a new direction through treatment, education and support.