Holistic Recovery in the Spanish Sun

By The Fix staff 03/15/17

Chance 2 Change offers a multi-faceted approach to addiction treatment.

Mountains under a blue sky, Spain

Working in the justice system, Emma Morris saw the many ways that recovery programs could fail clients. She found that treatment for mental health and addiction was too often fragmented, or that treatment centers clung to one philosophy at the expense of looking into the best way of helping a person who was addicted. Morris knew that there had to be a better option for a more nuanced approach to treatment and recovery.

“I decided to create a program which was holistic in nature — looking to address the past, cope with the present and flourish in the future: looking holistically at the mental and emotional health of the client,” Morris explains. That philosophy was the basis of Chance 2 Change, the program that Morris started in England 12 years ago.

Today, Chance 2 Change operates from a secluded campus in Malaga National Park in southern Spain. Clients have access to a personal trainer and the mild, sunny climate of Malaga lends itself perfectly to outdoor exercise such as hiking or yoga. The secluded setting, only 20 minutes from an international airport, allows clients the peace and tranquility that they need in order to do the heavy emotional work of recovery.

Chance 2 Change offers an alternative to the traditional 12 step model. The staff at Chance 2 Change use a variety of therapeutic practices including trauma recovery, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), mindfulness, and addiction treatment therapy. The goal of all of this is to identify and treat the underlying cause of the addictive behavior.

“We believe long-term recovery is most likely to be achieved if a holistic approach to treatment is adopted,” Morris says. “Our Chance 2 Change program incorporates recognized and successful therapeutic practices with our own tools and techniques, which enables us to engage with our clients in a way which is positive and empowering.”

The approach is different for each person who comes to the campus.

“We recognize that each client has their own set of unique problems, therefore we tailor our program accordingly,” Morris says.

During a pre-admission consultation, the staff at Chance 2 Change discuss the client’s needs, their addiction, their mental health history and other important factors in order to determine what the best approach to treatment for that individual will be.

“We may consider the client’s current mental health, their levels of self-awareness, their ability to respond to challenges and their ability to cope in addition to other factors,” Morris says. Importantly, the staff also takes the client’s opinion into consideration. “We see the creation of each treatment program as a collaborative process with the client. It is only when the client understands and is happy with their treatment plan that it will be delivered.”

An in-house detox allows clients to begin therapy immediately supported by a clinical team. Chance 2 Change is equipped to handle special cases, including trauma and co-occurring addiction and mental health disorders. That is something Morris is especially passionate about, since she often saw people who entered treatment many times before getting inadequate help.

“It hadn't worked because the root causes of addiction weren't addressed and those with co-occurring disorders such as depression, anxiety or post-traumatic stress were either un-diagnosed or those issues were considered and often treated separately to the addiction,” Morris says.

The clinicians at the treatment center work to help individuals gain control over their mental health, emotional health and addictive behaviors. For example, the trauma recovery program helps clients overcome the core issues fueling their addiction, and the use of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) teaches the clients how to recognize and deal with emotional triggers positively.

“The client is able to identify and react to current and future emotional triggers in a constructive rather than destructive way,” Morris explains.

Chance 2 Change allows clients plenty of privacy, with everyone staying in single-occupancy rooms with private bathrooms. That said, clients also have plenty of opportunity to engage with others as group therapy plays a prominent role in the program.

“Our structured group therapy sessions equip clients with the necessary tools to help them interact with others and build their confidence and readiness for their new and healthier life.”

For more information about Chance 2 Change, please contact them by e-mail or visit them on Facebook

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