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Virtual Rehab: From the Comfort of Your Home?

A new online rehab offers "shame-free" treatment via video conferencing, its CEO tells The Fix. But it's not for everyone.

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By Chrisanne Grise

10/02/12

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Addicts with busy schedules or a fear of being seen at a traditional rehab have a new option, thanks to Lionrock Recovery. The company offers "shame-free" online treatment and therapy sessions via high quality video conferencing from the privacy of your own home. "Whether you need to stay connected to your life in early recovery because of work or family commitments, or get reconnected after residential care, getting this kind of private and intensive support can make staying sober a lot easier," Lionrock's CEO, Peter Loeb, tells The Fix. The idea came from Loeb and his business partner—two tech guys who have dealt with family members with addictions and wanted to use their skills to help. “This has been a journey of making sure that we’re doing it right,” he says.

Naturally, the program has critics who wonder if getting sober at home is feasible, when you’re still surrounded by the distractions and stresses that may have initially contributed to your addiction. “I don’t try to talk people out of being skeptical, but one of the things that I ask them to do is try it,” says Loeb. He claims that the video technology may even make group work more intimate, as it allows you to look into everyone's eyes—rather than just those of the people sitting across the room from you. Plus, he says, being in your own home could help you feel more at ease. “The clients tell us that it’s easier for them to open up and the clinicians have told us the opposite view of that, that they’ve had to develop some skills around slowing people down because they feel so comfortable.” However, he does recognize that online rehab isn't for everyone: if someone needs a more intensive level of care, Lionrock will refer them to an appropriate treatment facility. "We’re not trying to get rid of in-person therapy," says Loeb. "One size doesn’t fit all in this world.”

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