Those who haven’t heard of The Priory Hospital probably don’t live in the UK; after all, Priory is more or less the British equivalent of Betty Ford, at least when it comes to name recognition. While there are 50 different Priory facilities across the UK, the most famous is the flagship hospital in Roehampton near London, where Kate Moss and Robbie Williams, among many other high-profile names, have been among their alums.
The Priory Group is a national industry giant with treatment programs for anything potential residents could ask for. In addition to addiction and a broad range of other mental health issues (eating disorders are a big one), there are special programs for Alzheimer’s and dementia, acquired brain injury and autism. They also run a foster care program and special education schools for children. When it comes to addiction, drugs and alcohol are generally the bread and butter, but clients also come in with addictions to gambling, shopping, sex and even the Internet.
Accommodations and Food
This 90-bed facility is definitely a good step up from NHS hospitals but food and accommodations are not quite at a five-star level; the bedrooms are more provincial B&B than glamorous, which may not be what clients would expect for the cost and celebrity pedigree.
Treatment and Staff
Those who come to The Priory for addiction treatment receive a free screening to determine their needs and that includes supervised detox. Treatment programs are individualized, and the length of stay depends on the conditions being treated. Clients there for depression usually stay for two weeks, while addicts often stay four to six. Inpatient clients’ days kick off with group meditation, followed by 90 minutes of group therapy. The groups do not segregate substance addictions from behavioral ones, though, so residents shouldn’t be surprised to find shopping addicts and heroin addicts alike sharing their feelings in the same room.
Individual therapy is largely based on CBT, but clinicians also offer EMDR, DBT, body image therapy, and even occupational therapy. Psychiatrists maintain ongoing relationships with their clients, and numerous psycho-educational workshops help residents rebuild their practical life skills. Twelve-step programs are a lynchpin of addiction recovery at the Priory. Visiting speakers from AA or NA fellowships come in regularly, and clients occasionally attend additional meetings off-site.
The Priory has weathered some drastic management overturn in recent years but yet maintains its foothold as one of the UK’s leading treatment centers. Alum Danny Wilson has eloquently narrated how his time at The Priory saved him from a truly awful cocaine habit.
For exercise, yoga, Tai Chi and swimming are available, as are massages and aromatherapy. After leaving The Priory, clients receive a free year of weekly aftercare follow-up from their treatment team.
Despite their reputation as England’s celebrity rehab, Priory is much more of a true psychiatric hospital with expert staff and a beefed-up holistic treatment program than a luxury facility. While their ratio of cost to personal attention runs a bit high, those with realistic expectations and the budget to afford it may just find it changes their lives.
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