From the beginning, St Mark's has developed a holistic based approach to the treatment of addiction. This approach is derived from the ideas based on the Te Whare Tapa Wha model, developed by Professor Mason Durie. These concepts are the four pillars of health i.e. Taha Hinengaro (Mental Health ), Taha Wairua (Spiritual health ), Taha Whanau ( Family Health ), Taha Tinana ( physical health).
Tāngata whai ora start on the programme as 'juniors' where they come to terms with the structure and processes that are essential to the therapeutic community. After a period of time they may apply for 'senior' status and are assessed by their peers and staff as to their readiness to move onwards in the programme with that status. An increase in status means an increase in responsibility and accountability. As Peter a former manager was fond of saying "welcome to treatment, it is not a holiday camp". The programme is a compassionate learning experience that is well structured, a typical day looks like:
08.00 morning hikoi (walk)
08.45 morning meeting with staff
09.30 first group (Usually education or life skills)
10.45 2nd group
1.15 Group therapy (could be gender specific)
2.30 One on ones
7pm AA/NA/Rationale recovery meeting
There is also weekly therapeutic duties, exercise, yoga, budgeting, and many other duties and activites.
The programme includes individual counselling, group therapy sessions, art therapy, life story, education sessions, relapse prevention, anger management and assertiveness, developing communication skills, self-esteem, life skills, recreation, waiata, tikanga and much more in a supportive, non-judgmental environment.
Residents (tāngata whai ora) complete a number of short and long term goals as part of their treatment. Attendance at Recovery Meetings i.e. Rational Recovery, Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA) is a requirement.
The aim of the programme is to develop open, honest and willing participation so people might learn from their own thoughts, feelings, and behaviour(s). Emphasis is placed on enhancing the strengths, to make positive changes, to open the door to healthier life-styles through taking self-responsibility, restoring cultural & family/whānau relationships and be open to learning skills for training and/or employment. Developing a relationship with a trusted mentor/sponsor in recovery is encouraged.
Other therapies may be available in the form of art, drama and musical activities. Recreation and exercise are important and includes workouts in the gymnasium, circuit training, walking, cycling, yoga, tai chi, exploring the nature in Marlborough as well as life skills i.e. gardening on the property & vineyard skills.
The programme is tough, sometimes confronting and always affirming.