15th January issue

Welcome to our first issue of 2007! I hope you’ve found it easier to get back into routine than we have… After all that Christmas excess it seems appropriate to carry articles with titles like like ‘alternative high’ and ‘New Year challenge’.

To tie in with our latest treatment directory (centre pullout) we’ve looked at different ways of doing things. The Windmill team make the most of team skills to give a valuable variety of options on page 11; could you share good practice with other inpatient teams?

Paul Goodman shares experience from the Ley Community on page 12. Their recent research on client outcomes leads him to caution against looking just at completion rates as a gauge of success in rehab. He urges those involved in weighing up the suitability of a placement to look at the longer term picture, and whether clients make it back to being part of society.

Jim McCartney takes us back to basics on page 10, reminding us that people, and not just systems, should be the beating heart of services. In place of the usual exhortation to go to the gym at New Year, he recommends a ‘mind gym’ as part of rehab, where clients ‘stretch the mind muscles into new realms of thinking’, with the aim of ‘tapping into new resources at the core of their being’.

Our cover story describes a strong opportunity for lifelong change. I wonder what inmates of Hindley Young Offender Institution thought, when they learned they would be taught how to scale walls. But the outcome of their outdoor skills and initiative course certainly seems to have woken inspiration in many of its participants. The story is in itself a challenge to perceptions: some of those on the course were nervous about trying the activities, but confident when given the skills to achieve a ‘legitimate’ high. It’s an interesting illustration of how instilling a little positive self-belief can take someone a long way.

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