Houghton House is a 12-step oriented rehab in Ferndale, Guateng, South Africa, a suburb of Randburg just northwest of Johannesburg and a fairly large city of 330,000 people. Houghton first opened in 1995 as a small halfway house. The original program, taken straight from famous rehab Hazelden’s Minnesota Model (the UK’s most accepted recovery model at the time), was started in 1996.
Accommodations and Food
The facility at Houghton is undeniably beautiful. The two programs are separated by Intensive Care Program and GAP (General Addiction Program), but are both in Ferndale. Houghton House is, unsurprisingly, more house-like than hospital-like. The rooms all have twin-sized beds, hardwood floors, individual bedside tables with reading lamps, extra blankets and thick curtains with views of a lush and green lawn next to the pool. Everyone has a roommate in the intensive care program and on-site.
At GAP, the facility looks like a country home. The simple but pleasant house sits on a massive lawn. There’s a communal garden and swimming pool and the rooms are similar to the ones in the intensive care program facilities. There’s also a TV lounge with satellite that’s available for use during any downtime.
A nutritionist designs the food menu, which leans more towards organic with vegetables and salads than cafeteria but chocolate and cold drinks are available at an on-site coffee shop.
Treatment and Staff
The treatment at Houghton House is 12-step based but also provides support for dual diagnosis clients and offers on-site detox. The 28-to-42 day intensive care program’s aim is to set a foundation of recovery for the clients leap back into the world. Their daily program includes exercise, group therapy, lectures and written assignments, individual therapy and family counseling. It also includes two off-site 12-step meetings and two on-site meetings, AA and NA respectively. Clients aren’t required to get sponsors but it is highly suggested
In GAP, residents are required to get sponsors because they must do step five in order to complete the program. GAP is a month-to-month program, though the facility recommends a three-month stay. The main difference between GAP and the intensive care program is in length and intensity. In both program, clients attend two group therapy sessions a day and have one one-on-one counseling session a week.
There are 10 staff members at both programs and they are highly credentialed from MD, MA Psych to MBBCh, FCPsych (SA), MaCC and Bachelors in Social Services.
The schedule at Houghton means waking up and getting dressed for breakfast at 8 am. Morning mediation, reading, lectures or therapy sessions are from 9 am to noon. At 12 pm, clients help clean up and do their chores (or “duties”), followed by lunch from 1 to 2 pm. After that, residents attend lectures and workshops until 4 pm. From 4 to 5:45 pm, it’s 12-step work time and then dinner is at 6 pm. At 7, clients go to an AA or NA meeting or another lecture. Between 8:30 and 9 pm is free time and lights out is at 11 pm.
Exercise is built into the program and that includes hiking, white water rafting, military-style boot camp, kettle bell workouts and volleyball. There’s an on-site gym as well as a yoga teacher that comes in from a local studio. Clients also go on walks every day and have personal trainers in GAP. In the summertime, if the weather permits, there are plenty of hikes. There’s also a pool at both residences.
Clients also volunteer at the nearby Princess Alice Adoption Home, reading to and spending time with the children there.
In addition, there’s a family program, which is designed not only for family members but also for close friends of clients. These meetings take place one night a week and Houghton also offers a one-day intensive family program held at Houghton’s outpatient center, First Step, in Sandton, Johannesburg one Saturday a month from 9 am to 3 pm. Both family programs include group therapy sessions and educational lectures from the counselors, social workers and counseling psychologists.
Anyone looking for a 12-step based rehab in South Africa would be well served by Houghton House. The highly credentialed staff, dual-diagnosis treatment, solid family program and on-site medical detox place it above the rest.
432 York Ave
Randburg, 2194, South Africa
011 +27 11 787 9142
Houghton House Cost: Intensive Care Program R40,000 [$3,676.62 per publishing day exchange rate] (28 days), GAP R28,000 [$2,573.64 per publishing day exchange rate] (30 days). Reach Houghton House by phone at 011-27-11-787-9142. Find Houghton House on Twitter or Facebook
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