From 22 to 25 January, all therapists at the Mkhondo Alathia Rehabilitation Centre (MARC) received training from South African National Council of Alcoholism and Drug Abuse (SANCA) representative, Adrie Vermeulen, a Social Worker and parttime Social Works lecturer at the University of Witwatersrand (Wits).
All therapists from the Piet Retief Outpatient, Secunda Outpatient and Youth Inpatient centres completed the “Power of Purpose: Advanced Substance Use Disorder Course for Professionals.” According to the latest research, “Substance Use Disorder” is classified as a mental illness, according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM- 5).
Substance Use Disorder is classified as a mental illness, due to the way in which it affects the brain. The therapists also received intensive training in drug classification and the symptoms and signs of drug abuse. The different stages of drug abuse and the effect of it on the family was also discussed. The “Psychodynamic Theories” (a view that explains personality in terms of conscious and unconscious forces, such as unconscious desires and beliefs) used in treatment were studied.
The therapists also received training in “Advanced Councelling Skills” and used role play to help them practice these methods. The laws that determine how diagnosis should be done were discussed. A diagnosis should be based on “Evidence Based Practices” and should not be made on a whim or gut feeling, but rather based on facts proven by research. The process of providing treatment was covered.
The whole process, from where the user arrives at the Social Worker for help, to the assessment of the problem, referring the user for treatment, inpatient and outpatient treatment options, aftercare when discharged and the “Maintenance” phase was discussed. Since substance use disorder is a mental illness, it must be controlled and regulated, as it cannot be cured.
“Relapse Prevention” and the ethical code to which Social Workers have to adhere to were also part of the course. Every year, Social Workers have to complete “Continuing Professional Development” (CPD), for which points are granted. A minimum of 20 CPD-points have to be obtained each year. Usually, 3 to 5 CPD-points are earned for a training session, however, this training was very intensive and can grant each therapist 25 points.
Before these points are obtained, they have to complete a “Portfolio of Evidence” which will be marked. If they meet the criteria, the points will be awarded. On 26 January, the therapists received further training in the norms and standards for treatment, as set by SANCA. MARC is a full member of SANCA.
The already welltrained staff from MARC are now even more ready to effectively and professionally give you or a family member the help needed to beat substance abuse. For more information on the centre, please contact them at 017 200 0073 or 082 802 1487.