Irish Examiner - Feelgood - - Health -

Ais­ling Mur­phy, coun­selling psy­chol­o­gist, Smar­more Cas­tle Pri­vate Clinic, Co Louth

8.15am I ex­am­ine the nurs­ing overnight re­ports rais­ing any con­cerns and then the pa­tients’ daily di­aries where they write about their ex­pe­ri­ences and feel­ings in treat­ment. Smar­more is a res­i­den­tial treat­ment fa­cil­ity for men and women suf­fer­ing from al­co­hol/chem­i­cal de­pen­dency and other co-oc­cur­ring dis­or­ders.

9am I lead the pa­tients’ first ac­tiv­ity — a mind­ful­ness and re­lax­ation ses­sion. I then meet with the mul­ti­dis­ci­plinary team to dis­cuss pa­tients’ progress and re­view in­di­vid­ual treat­ment plans. Ad­mis­sions staff brief us on new ar­rivals. in­clud­ing plans for full med­i­cal ex­am­i­na­tion, and, if nec­es­sary, ini­ti­a­tion of detox­i­fi­ca­tion ther­apy by a con­sul­tant psy­chi­a­trist.

9.45am Group ther­apy — which I fa­cil­i­tate — en­ables the pa­tient to open up about ad­dic­tion and ob­tain the sup­port of oth­ers in the group. They are fa­mil­iarised with the 12 steps of Al­co­holics Anony­mous pro­gramme.

11.30am Pa­tients can at­tend yoga or work on writ­ten as­sign­ments. If I’m not see­ing a pa­tient one-to-one, I may be fa­cil­i­tat­ing a fam­ily ther­apy ses­sion which is very valu­able since the fam­ily can also be dam­aged emo­tion­ally.


Lunch — I go for home­made soup or hot meal now win­ter is here.


I help de­liver a pro­gramme of work­shops cov­er­ing top­ics on the dis­ease of ad­dic­tion and top­ics rel­e­vant to re­cov­ery.


I spend time record keep­ing and ad­just­ing treat­ment plans.


The other ther­a­pists and I hand the pa­tients over to the per­sonal trainer. Ex­er­cise is vi­tally im­por­tant for re­cov­ery — es­pe­cially the brain — and pa­tients are su­per­vised in the gym, play ta­ble ten­nis and at­tend aqua aer­o­bics. Fol­low­ing a 12-step trail the pa­tients will of­ten dis­close per­sonal prob­lems which can help me gain in­sight and is ther­a­peu­ti­cally very valu­able.


We all meet again as a team with our man­ager to high­light any con­cerns.


Com­plet­ing pa­per­work and say­ing good­bye to pa­tients marks the end of the day.

“Ex­er­cise is vi­tally im­por­tant for re­cov­ery”

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