Appalachia, once famous for its moonshine, might seem an unlikely place for a no nonsense chemical dependency treatment center. And yet, nestled in Mill Spring, North Carolina, lies the 140-acre Pavillon campus. For a treatment center only 20 years young, Pavillon offers an incredible range of specific programming for recovery from addiction and treatment of co-occurring mental health disorders.
Accommodations and Food
The biggest city in the Mill Spring area is the very trendy Asheville, North Carolina, a 45-minute drive north of the Pavillon campus. Pavillon’s environs are restful—clients can hear the wind in the trees, hear themselves think. It is a secluded area, but there are plenty of nooks on the Pavillon grounds to explore. It is an idyllic setting with lots of ponds and foliage. Clients luxuriate in their appointed rooms. Pavillon can accommodate 26 men and 24 women in its primary residential program, and 24 more in its extended care facility.
A stately, long stone building of several stories houses clients who live two to a room. The twin beds are covered in fluffy comforters and each client has a wooden desk and dresser. Mini-porches overlook the grounds and outside seating areas. Hiking trails, a gym and a pool allow plenty of opportunity for exercise.
In it own building, the dining room looks like an upscale cafeteria, with a stone fireplace separating the dining area from the lounge. Food usually consists of hot entrees and a salad bar. At least for the first half of the day, caffeinated coffee is available.
Clients are encouraged to bring about $300 in cash, which can be used towards the book store or things like haircuts. The book store also sells candy and gum, but no cigarettes. Pavillon is a tobacco free campus, so residents need to leave their smokes at home with their cell phones, laptops and personal reading material. No fictional books or outside magazines allowed.
Treatment and Staff
All clients are subject to an assessment on arrival, and can detox if necessary. There is no fixed time for a client’s stay; Pavillon emphasizes the importance of personal treatment plans. The standard is six weeks, but some clients stay for one month and others for three. Treating chemical dependency (alcohol, illegal and prescription drugs) is Pavillon’s primary aim but it also treats co-occurring disorders.
While the content of specific program tracks is tailored to its population, in essence Pavillon’s plan for treatment is the same: a focus on 12-step philosophy, use of CBT techniques, psychiatric and medication management, experiential group therapy, family of origin work, spirituality and mindfulness meditation, exercise and fun in recovery outings.
In addition to the essential elements of treatment, the women’s program emphasizes work on relationship issues and codependency, grief, shame, boundaries and empowerment. Where the “boomers” (adults 50 and over) program emphasizes family involvement, the young adult (ages 18 to 28) program entails work on building life skills and connects current clients to former clients through a peer-mentoring program. In its program for licensed and skilled professionals, Pavillon acknowledges the unique challenges that, say, a therapist in recovery may face. In this program, there are “fit to practice” discussions and “return to work” assessments and clients typically stay a full three months.
There is a six-to-one client counselor ratio on campus and clients meet frequently with their primary counselors, all of whom are at least of a Master’s level education. For one year after clients leave, there is continuing care and a series of check-in phone calls about the progress of the clients’ recovery (calls taper off as the year progresses). Clients who may want to extend their stay in residential treatment can do so, and in extended care they will have more time to address particular psychiatric challenges or family of origin issues. Paul Hackman, Pavillon’s CEO, runs a thorough recovery program; he has 20 years of experience in the hospital and healthcare industry. Barbara Bennett, COO, oversees daily operations and is a licensed addiction specialist and nurse. Pavillon’s senior resident doctor, John Roberts, was in charge of the dual diagnosis inpatient unit at the Medical University of South Carolina before joining. Brian Coon, who approves admissions to residential programs, has his background in cognitive behavioral psychology and the treatment of co-occurring disorders.
On arrival, each client gets a Pavillon iPad, complete with text of lectures, the patient handbook, worksheets about negative thinking, trail maps, visitation information, campus maps, immediate updates, mediation and sleep aids.
Hiking trails, an on-site gym, a pool and a volleyball court are some of the additional extras offered at Pavillon.
Every two weeks Pavillon runs a Thursday-Sunday family program; it’s not required that a member of the family be in treatment to attend.
This treatment center has all the benefits of a small liberal arts college: small population, more attention, a well-educated staff, and impressive foliage. The tailoring of Pavillon’s programs to age and even occupation suggests the care it takes in its approach to recovery. For potential clients with concerns about depression, anxiety, PTSD and the like, Pavillon will be an excellent fit. Not sure if treatment is the next step? Pavillon has a self-assessment on its website.
241 Pavillon Place
Mill Spring, NC 28756
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