Located just outside Beit Shemesh, near Kibbutz Tsor’a, Israel, Retorno is the world’s largest Jewish organization dedicated to the treatment and prevention of substance abuse and addiction. The facility is a kind of rural compound that provides a full continuum of treatment services. Although the curriculum adheres to a range of traditional Jewish teachings, it accepts individuals of all different beliefs.
Accommodations and Food
Retorno has room for 150 residents at a time, usually with more male than female clients. Throughout their stay, clients stay in dormitory-style buildings clustered throughout campus with two to three residents to a room. Each includes twin beds, dressers and basic decorations.
In addition to the bedrooms, each of the dorm-style facilities includes common areas with TV, therapy rooms, classrooms and outdoor common areas. Because the facility is rural, other areas include on-site gardens and animal enclosures.
The residents eat three meals a day with local ingredients, all served cafeteria-style. All the food is prepared kosher as well.
Treatment and Staff
Before beginning a program, all clients go through an initial treatment and assessment process to help staff members develop their treatment plans. Retorno has on-site detox for young women but not for men. However, male clients are sent to a detox recommended by the facility.
Men and women can also expect completely separate therapeutic programming. While the specifics of each plan may vary, all clients attend individual and group therapy rooted in evidence-based practices including CBT and DBT. Many of the organization’s group sessions are also designed to bring out repressed anger and negativity and as such may be more aggressive or “tough love” oriented than some other competing facilities. The organization is also 12-step based and requires all residents to work the steps as part of the program.
In addition to more clinical approaches, Retorno also emphasizes physical activity and chores to instill a sense of discipline in its clients. These activities may include caring for animals, working in the gardens, going horseback riding, working with therapy dogs, bicycle trips and more. As mentioned, Jewish teachings and lessons from the Torah are also worked into treatment. Dual diagnosis support is available as well.
The staff at Retorno consists of MDs, psychiatrists, psychologists, LCSWs, sports therapists, case managers, rabbis, spiritual counselors and additional Master’s and PhD-level clinicians.
Other services include Bach remedies administered by a holistic practitioner—these are homeopathic and aromatic therapies aimed at soothing the body and mind. Early prevention, aftercare and sober living services are also available.
People do make Aliyah while in Retorno if they choose. It also facilitates some tourist-style trips, such as visiting the Western Wall and the Machaneh Yehudah market.
In all, Retorno is a wide-ranging organization that provides comprehensive treatment for clients struggling with addiction and co-occurring disorders. Treatment plans include evidence-based care, holistic practices, religious teachings and 12-step support, all with an emphasis on discipline and tough love. For those looking for an international and culturally-specific treatment experience at an affordable price, Retorno’s programs may be worth considering.
815 Givat Shemesh
3835, Tsor’a, Israel
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