By The Fix staff 04/24/17

Hay Farm, in the UK, provides individualized treatment plans and highly trained clinicians in a tranquil setting on 12 acres of farm land surrounded by nature reserves and woodlands.

Location : Kent, England, U.K.
Phone : 0845 053 1785 or from Overseas: 44 207 581 8222
Price : £4,500.00 / month; more exclusive options available.
Overall :
Accommodations :
Treatment :
Food :
Insurance : No
Detox : Yes

PROMIS Hay Farm, located in the scenic North Downs of Kent in the UK, provides comfortable, nurturing treatment for alcohol and drug abuse, depression, eating disorders, gambling issues, PTSD and more. Employing such modalities as Group Therapy, Process Groups, Step Groups, SMART Recovery, Mindfulness Groups, Psychodrama, Creative Therapy, Equine Assisted Therapy, Cranial Electrotherapy Stimulation, and others, this program consists of an individualized treatment plan in a short stay residential treatment program, usually about four weeks, but one week at minimum. PROMIS believes their clients can benefit from shorter stays at their treatment center.

The program also emphasizes the importance of a comfortable environment: "surroundings have an impact on the quality of a patient's well being during treatment. It is of great importance to be relaxed and have time to reflect and think in the right conducive atmosphere." To that end, they are a 12-bed facility with no shared rooms, a client to staff ratio of 1:1, and no required work or chores from the patients. The goal is to provide quality therapeutic treatment combined with fun in recovery in beautiful surroundings. They also have another six bed facility in the center of London. In addition, they offer more exclusive options such as a luxury, bespoke program developed for executives, performers, CEO's and other high-profile individuals.

Clients who we surveyed chose to go to PROMIS based mostly on the quality of treatment. Location was also very important to them. All are welcome here; a former patient described co-residents as "a good mix of men and women. Of all races and occupations, from police officers to house wives." "A complete mixture. All ages, races, religions, genders, sexualities, problems, etc. There was a complete mixture of income as some were very rich and some were using their life's savings or having it paid for by family," another alumnus told us. Most said they came to get help with alcohol and addiction issues.

Most of the alumni we surveyed rated the food highly. "Main meals were all of high nutritional quality. Coffee was available. Sweets not available due to the nature of some of the clients’ issues, i.e., eating disorders," a former patient said. That seemed to be a theme-- the food was really good, but some concessions had to be made in consideration of those with particular issues. It was a bit too healthy for some: "Meals are very healthy, although the fact they won't use flour, spoils some meals," one former resident said. But, for another, perhaps the meals weren't healthy enough: "Gluten free food not readily available," he reported. Someone else gave a nice overview of mealtime: "We all sit around a big table and eat together like a family. Food is great....Tea and coffee, bottled water and juice are readily available. But, snacks, apart from fruit, aren't....But the meals are healthy, nutritious and filling. So snacks are not needed." Most people tended to like the fish dishes the most. One found the scallops “overcooked and gritty” but others appreciated the chef’s flexibility and that there was a vegetarian option at every meal.

PROMIS Hay Farm aims to provide a comfortable environment in which to recover. Alumni we surveyed had varying opinions on the accommodations, but most appreciated the options for solitude: "very full treatment schedule but [with] ability to retreat to room for privacy or spend time with the other patients in the common areas in the evenings." and "It was emotionally tiring, so in the evenings most were in their rooms."Phone and internet could be used "Whenever we wanted to. this stopped it from feeling like a prison." Another alumnus confirmed "Phone could be used whenever we were not in a group session or [in a one-to-one session]. No extreme restrictions on any." One former client was not impressed: "The bedrooms could definitely do with a lot of updating. Decoration. Furniture," but also acknowledged that "at the end of the day having a simple room was okay because I needed to focus on more important things."

There are plenty of amenities and group activities to help you and keep you interested. "Clay pigeon shooting, horse riding, paint balling, coffees out at local towns, pottery painting in house. There is equestrian therapy, massage and reiki; acupuncture, personal training and art therapy," reported one former patient. Another added, "Yoga, massage, shiatsu, haircuts, beauty treatments. All great and a huge plus."

The daily routine is filled with therapies, activities and exercises. "This was a healthy, manageable daily routine which taught me to live normal life again," an alumnus reported. He continued, "Groups for most of the day, 1:1 therapy, alternative holistic treatments, group outings, but also time to do personal written work such as diaries. Also time in the evenings, if you're not going to a fellowship meeting, which normally are facilitated every night." Another said, "Daily life is very busy and the housekeeping staff will wash your clothes and make your room without any apparent effort." This patient summed it up thusly, "Fairly regimented, which was good, but there was enough free time to escape and have down time. No roommates or chores or jobs, except to make sure I attended all the programs which for some people was hard."

As far as the medical treatment goes, most alumni told us it was good. "Nurses at all times. Doctor on call, but it can take a while for him to come," one told us. The non-medical treatment was rated excellent by most: "I've never felt better in my life and now so positive to work the rest of my life," one said. "We have a really great group of people, and the group therapy is the most memorable for me," another added. As far as 12-step incorporation, we're told "The twelve step program is offered but not insisted upon." Another alumnus said, "Not 12 step, but you could choose to go that way if you wanted. Not forced upon you, which is good." Neither is religion emphasized. "Religion is a choice, not forced," was a typical comment we received. PROMIS also offers aftercare through a "top up" program: "They have a top up scheme where you can go back every month for a weekend. It has really helped keep me on track. Without it my recovery wouldn't be as great as it is."

Along with the comfortable surroundings and varied treatment modalities, the program seemed to be loving, but not necessarily permissive. "Not strict," a former client said. "You had to want to be there and participate. But if you were not doing anything they would recommend you leave or send you home." Another described it as "a healthy balance." As far as handling infractions, this former patient said, "Cell phones were a problem and I would like to have seen them banned from sessions. The staff were good at dealing with most things, but I would like to have seen a much tougher stance when one client brought drugs on site. I would have liked to have seen them removed immediately."

Overall, alumni would recommend the program to "anyone who is suffering from addiction." And when it comes to the therapists, "I trust their guidance and input immensely." Most complaints were not treatment-related. For example, one client suggested "move further from a pub! and lock the kitchen." Two residents mentioned they disliked "the water bottle thing," with one explaining "There are bottled water fridges around, and the waste is quite bad, I would like to see everyone getting their own bottle and have the ability to have access to a drink station..." But most recalled their time positively: "For me it was a positive time. I felt cared-for, engaged and relieved that the staff were very supportive. I was ready to get to work." 

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