Transforming Addiction Treatment to Meet Clients Where They Are

In Renascent’s 50+ years of providing addiction treatment services, we have always cared for inpatients within our walls. But when COVID-19 hit, we took the opportunity to rethink how we provide care – and proudly launched our Virtual Intensive Treatment Program so we could continue to safely support our clients, no matter where they are.

This comprehensive new program is funded by the Ontario Government, so clients are able to get help at no cost to them. The Program provides essential recovery support to clients from the comfort of their own homes, providing a new level of flexibility to addiction treatment.

Abstinence-focused and based on a 12-step recovery framework, the program also incorporates the best available research to support clients at every stage. “We’ve built this program on evidence-based practices,” notes Alessandro (Alex) Motta, Manager of the Virtual Intensive Treatment Program. “It’s truly a scientific approach to understanding brain chemistry, post-withdrawal symptoms and other factors, and applying that knowledge to help our clients stay on the path to recovery and achieve their goals.  Since this program is delivered online, it’s allowed us to support even more people; and the feedback from our clients has been overwhelmingly positive.”

Soon after the program was launched, both clients and staff noticed great benefits to the approach.

David can attest to the positive experience he had in the virtual program. He began attending the Zoom meetings from his hospital bed after he survived an overdose, which resulted in two strokes. The format worked well, even as David transitioned from hospital to home.

“I didn’t know what to expect, but I came with an open mind,” he says. “Even through a screen, I felt surprisingly connected to the other participants. It was also more personal than I expected; our group was big enough to have a conversation but small enough that we didn’t get lost in the shuffle. We were all treated with respect, and we all learned from one another.”

To provide structure, clients set daily goals and staff assess their progress on a regular basis. Groups meet online for two hours each day and clients may meet one-on-one with their counsellor every week, with extra check-ins as needed. Participants benefit from high-quality discussion and learn from both the experiences of their peers and counsellor-led sessions.

Spiritual care is also offered for those who wish to develop and nurture their spiritual being; this may be within or outside of a religious practice. “Spiritual care complements our broader program by supporting overall wellness,” Alex explains. “It strives to help clients ground their recovered lives in hope, compassion, happiness, joy and freedom.”   

Furthermore, since all program staff are in recovery themselves, they truly understand the challenges their clients face. The combination of scientific evidence, time-tested techniques and personal experience is one of the keys to the program’s success.

But for some, the virtual format also makes a huge difference.

“Many clients are unable to take time away from work and other responsibilities to access treatment,” notes Meghan Barati, Addictions Counsellor. “Virtual Intensive Treatment allows them to seek the help they need while staying engaged with the rest of their lives. They don’t have to choose between the two.” To create even more flexibility and respond to growing demand, staff have created both daytime and evening groups.

In the final stages of the Virtual Intensive Treatment Program, staff work with clients to help them plan for the next phase of recovery. Preparatory work often includes developing a plan to prevent relapse, as well planning for a seamless transition to twenty weeks of continuing care.

“The bottom line is, we want to give you every possible tool to succeed,” affirms Alex. “No matter what brings you to Renascent, if you’ve made the decision to pursue recovery, we’re here to support you.”

Learn more about Renascent’s Virtual Intensive Treatment Program.

About the Authors

Renascent Staff
The staff at Renascent is passionate about helping people with substance addictions so they can reach their full recovery – with compassion, respect, empathy and understanding. Our staff includes our counsellors, all of whom have lived experience of addiction and recovery.