Phase one consists of a general overview of the philosophy, structure and method of living in a therapeutic community. Mary’s 12-week curriculum consists of a broad range of topics that include skills and knowledge useful for leading a holistic and healthy lifestyle. She offers an overview of topics that include physical health and wellbeing, communication and relationships, aspects of institutional oppression, intergenerational trauma, spirituality and the nature of substance abuse. The tools of SMART Recovery, primarily those that pertain to coping with urges, along with coping strategies from Seeking Safety (Najavits, 2002) for building and maintaining a sense of safety and belonging create the foundation for the initial stages of adjusting to a new community and ways of living in sobriety. Mary supports clients to continually do their best in light of each day’s challenges.
Phase two focuses on maintaining motivation through SMART Recovery and furthering the development of a catalogue of safe coping strategies from the second half of Najavits’ Seeking Safety (2002). Anger management and violence prevention, along with opportunities to learn and practice healthy communication styles. Additionally, Ray provides support to individuals as they move through the 12 steps and traditions. Phase two emphasizes the development of understanding that personalizing events can lead to suffering. The development of healthy boundaries in all areas assists clients in understanding that they do not need to become emotionally attached to other people’s choices and by doing so can focus on healing and moving through anger.
Phase three has a therapeutic and skill building focuses through the lenses of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy and Dialectical Behavior therapy. This group is intended to assist clients in understanding how their thinking contributes to the quality of their lives as it forms and stimulates behaviour and emotion and additionally, how to regulate those emotions. Clients are encouraged and supported to reflect deeply on how these aspects of their lives contributed to and maintained their addictions as well as how the process of living in the community provides to positive changes in this regard. The overarching theme of Phase three evolves from the examination of assumptions and how the creation of narrative can support or create barriers in each person’s life.
Transition phase consists of the creation and ongoing development of plans for moving into life and workforce outside the confines of the community. These plans address safety planning in the event of potential relapse, development of supportive networks, and referrals to aftercare professionals as needed. Clients have opportunities to apply for I.D. if they need to; they can attend to the resolution of fines and other obstacles to employment, they have opportunities to attend meetings in town, to propose field trips and to be included in service-oriented activities in the community of Prince George. Kim facilitates skill development in areas such as financial responsibility, mindfulness and stress management, applications for housing, employment, and educational opportunities. Clients are able to register and complete free online courses through the Prince George Public Library as they become available to build confidence and practical skills for resume and employment potential. Ongoing discussion and follow through on goal setting teaches and reinforces personal accountability and action.
The basic phase work for all clients is supplemented in a variety of ways. Yoga classes, taught by a certified instructor, are optional four times per week. A variety of peer-led groups and speaker nights occur each evening, Aboriginal Day celebration and self-directed cultural activities are supported and encouraged throughout the year.