Charlford House is a long-term residential treatment facility for women located in Burnaby, British Columbia. It substance abuse treatment using the surrogate-family model, helping clients heal through making a lasting bond to their counselors and peers.
Charlford House’s treatment team is made of clinicians and support workers who themselves are in recovery, and the house encourages alumni to visit and return whenever they’d like, maintaining a strong recovery community for current and past clients.
Residents must commit to a 90-day stay, with the option to extend for continuous support. Treatment at Charlford House employs evidence-based therapy and relies heavily on the 12 steps and a rigorous schedule of step work and meetings, giving this program the reputation of being a “recovery bootcamp.”
Accommodations and Food
Charlford House treats up to 15 women at a time in a “blue-collar” neighborhood of Burnaby. Charlford has been in the neighborhood longer than most of its other residents, who are welcoming and supportive of its work. Residents are accommodated in a four-plex and have roommates, though there is one single room available for a resident whose health may not permit a roommate.
As part of their rotating chore assignments, clients help the kitchen staff prepare meals and snacks. Residents are not permitted electronics, and there is no television in the house. On Friday nights, however, the house hosts a movie night.
Treatment and Staff
Clients in need of detox can do so at a nearby Fraser Health facility. Once admitted to Charlford House, they enter a “retreat period” for 21 days during which they cannot have visitors or communication with people outside the home.
After chores, clients begin the day with group therapy. The morning group is called “Life Skills for the Soul” and uses CBT, DBT and the Stages of Change model. In the afternoons, clients spend two hours on step work and then may have experiential therapy, including art and music therapy. In the evenings, clients participate in on-site 12-step meetings, except on Fridays when they attend a meeting in the community. Residents also participate in psychoeducational classes and group therapy to address parenting skills, PTSD and eating disorders.
The treatment team at Charlford House includes CADCs and trained recovery support workers. Clients with co-occurring disorders may receive individual therapy on-site or be transported to a nearby mental health clinic for more comprehensive dual diagnosis support.
Children and other family members are encouraged to visit on weekends once the retreat period is over. On Thursday evenings, the house hosts a recovery speaker. Staff also transport clients to sober dances and other recovery-oriented social events on the weekends.
Near the end of their treatment plans, clients work with their counselors to access second stage or long-term transitional care housing for aftercare. Clients are also encouraged to take volunteer shifts in the house in order to give back to the community and stay connected to its source of support.
For over 45 years, Charlford House has provided women long-term residential treatment that provides an engaged, supportive community that they can return to as they wish. Treatment requires a rigorous exploration of the 12 steps as well as willingness to learn the interpersonal skills to be a productive and cooperative member of the house. While the program is intense, it rewards clients with a nurturing recovery touchstone for the rest of their lives.
Charlford House Location
PO Box 44077
Charlford House Cost
$4,500 CAD self-pay ($3,441.15 per publishing day exchange rate, 30 days); most clients qualify for subsidized or free treatment. Call for details. Reach Charlford House by phone at (604) 420-4626 and by email at [email protected]. Find Charlford House on Facebook and Twitter
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