Changing negative behaviours in treatment

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Peter BentleyChallenging attitudes

A decade of experience has shaped Intuitive Thinking Skills’ successful approach to attitude change, as Peter Bentley explains

In 2003, I was coming to the end of a week-long alcohol detox in Manchester’s Smithfield Centre. I was determined to never return there and it was apparent to me that the best way to ensure that was to stop drinking and using drugs for good.

I got a fabulous detox, professionally delivered and with a refreshingly short waiting time to start. What happened afterwards however was far less impressive.

Newly detoxed, I leapt into the post-detox services that were available in 2003. These were pretty much exclusively the fellowships and a kind of quasi fellowship daily support model. There was a unifying thread that ran through all the services then – namely that you were a patient, that ‘treatment’ would take a long time and that there were no guarantees. This was when I was first told that I had a ‘relapsing condition’, that people rarely conquered the problem and that I should not give myself a hard time if I failed.

What was happening in front of my very eyes was the state trying to replace substance dependency with service dependency, and to this day I have proudly railed against the duplicity of this.

So here we are, ten years on, and in May 2015 Intuitive Recovery changed its name to Intuitive Thinking Skills to celebrate its anniversary and to reflect on the increased number of courses we deliver across the UK.

We realised our speciality was attitude change, whatever that attitude may be. Dependence is a curious word, often used to justify the place that a person is in rather than the solution to help move them on. All our courses are designed to enable a person to gain independence – not just from their own negative behaviours but also from public services they are engaged with.

We believe we are a truly unique organisation, entirely peer-led and promoting abstinence, education, training, employment and self-determination within our learners. The fact that we have been there and got the t-shirt means that we deliver hard-hitting, no-nonsense education which cuts through the treatment and recovery jargon that has become so prevalent.

Our staff are all graduates of our programmes and have left services, fully ‘recovered’, employed and enjoying the world of work and all the benefits it brings.

The message? Change looks and feels great and is entirely do-able.


Whether it is beliefs and attitudes that support future substance use, inactivity in employment and education, or negative attitudes to community engagement, our programmes all target these beliefs, presented as negative thoughts, outlooks and attitudes and allow learners to see that they create their own obstacles through their learned thought patterns.

Once people learn that we all have negative thoughts and that we are all selective in choosing which of these we act upon, change becomes easy. After a little practice, the new set of choices becomes second nature.


Our programmes

Intuitive Recovery

An accredited educational programme that promotes abstinence as achievable and easy to maintain. Delivered over six sessions, it provides skills and tools to recognise and control addictive desires and to take responsibility for choices, behaviours and change. Install a plan to never use again; it feels great to know you will never go back.

Skills-Tu Employment

Our accredited educational course designed to skill people into employment. The course targets atti­tudes of dependence on state benefits and low or unrealistic aspirations regarding future employ­ment. We deliver in a classroom setting over a short yet intensive period with follow-up sessions supported by sensible yet challenging targets.

Thinking Comm-Unity

Thinking Comm-Unity is an educational course aimed at improving any individual’s knowledge, sense of belonging and understanding of their community. By recognising and valuing each person’s skills and abilities, we demonstrate how these can be coordinated to give people the power and responsibility for their future.

The course helps to identify how attitude, knowledge, skills and abilities can affect not only your life but the lives of those around you. By examining different types of communities, we gain an understanding of the importance of diversity. Through community-focused personal development, we achieve our goals while overcoming challenges and helping to improve the lives and wellbeing of others.

Key Interventions Tools

KIT training offers a simple and effective tool aimed at complementing or refreshing the knowledge and skills of professionals, volunteers or mentors. In fact this is for anybody wishing to gain insight and wanting to improve their work with individuals involved within drugs and alcohol, back to work, criminal justice and social housing sectors. The key objectives of this training are to both raise insight and awareness and encourage independent action towards abstinence, desistance, rehabilitation and employment. Partnership focused, we bring together key stakeholders within an area and look at how system-wide structures can cause blockages and obstacles for our shared service users.

Peter Bentley is managing director at Intuitive Thinking Skills

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Intuitive Thinking Skills – The Specialists in Attitude Change