First of all, you are putting yourself or your beloved in the hands of two owners and founders who watch and care for each patient with generosity and wit. They are Good People. They are gifted, experienced caregivers who have seen it all and decided to help people in a large, Garden of Eden sort of setting. They are even funny at times. What surprised me most was the amount of attention from 4 or 5 different counselors, all trained in addiction. The shock is there are so many caregivers compared to patients and the benefit is also different styles of therapy. It’s easy to understand why the professional staff is so excellent; they chose to live in Panama and they were hired by John and Jane.
The way you get well is by interacting with trained people. For comparison of the staff at Serenity Vista, the only other place I know is an established and expensive center north of Manhattan which treated my adult child for almost two months. Unfortunately, the psychologists my daughter saw there were disappointing, unprofessional and generally not helpful.
Because of good management Serenity Vista’s fees make it possible to stay longer, even though the program is situated in an upscale English-speaking town in Panama. Most humans can’t give up alcohol addiction in 30 days; the brain resists. The reason other places Stateside say 30 days is because insurance company told them so -- after 30 they stop paying. No doctor, no scientific study made that decision. If you can stay 45 or 60 or 90 days then the mind’s habits have a chance to change, making re-entry much safer, much easier. The psychological work can bring up painful memories, but the people around you care and are trained and understand. Plus, it’s happening to you in the midst of great physical beauty, the care of nature, and readiness for the next physical activity.
I believe some addiction programs offer different activities but some essentially offer ‘a room and a bed.’ It makes sense that keeping the guest interested (attention out there) with varied activities and real challenges during the day helps the cure. Hiking, music, art and crafts with goals, sunshine, yoga, writing answers after thought-provoking videos or directed reading. A loving dog to take on beautiful walks, colorful sounds, birds, butterflies all around. Fabulous meals. Meditation alone next to the stream which runs through the private grounds. That’s what guests take for granted on a daily basis. For granted. Then many days have an expected treat: an excursion to swim in a mountain waterfall, to grill fresh fish on a secluded beach; to enjoy a spa and massage; to laugh during drum circle. Evidently, thrills and adrenaline challenges help the mind to change. There are many ways to get well at Serenity Vista.
Of course, my adult daughter put in the work: after lots of self-examination and tearful insight, real work, talking on the phone with her I could simply hear that she was happier than she’d been in years. The counselors at Serenity Vista helped her plan coming back to the States, and she speaks with them about every day. She said she misses the gourmet food and everyone gathered around the table for meals.
If you have any doubts, just do yourself a favor and call John or Jane. Or better, just do it.