Ibiza wellness: Ibiza Calm – Bespoke rehabilitation retreats
Ibiza Calm is the newest retreat centre on the island and is in a category all on its own. The fully licensed rehabilitation treatment facility provides expert care for those battling and struggling with substance abuse, addictions and dependency, welcoming English-speaking patients from all over the world.
Inspiration for the centre came while clinical director, addictions counsellor and cognitive analytical psychotherapist John McKeown was holidaying in Ibiza with a friend who was in recovery. “Amongst all the incredible yoga retreats and healing therapies offered on the island, there weren’t any established medical treatment facilities,” he recalls of his vision. “I went from wanting to set up a retreat to creating a clinic for people who have stopped their addictions or want to. There was an opportunity to provide something the island didn’t have.”
Set within a beautifully refurbished 500-year-old Ibicenco farmhouse in the heart of Ibiza, the luxurious Santa Gertrudis property is the ideal environment to set a new foundation during the first stages of treatment. At any given time, there are only eight to ten patients onsite at Ibiza Calm to ensure full attention is given to each individual, while a highly qualified staff of psychotherapists, physicians, therapists, treatment counsellors and nurses are on stand by to give you all the support that you need.
“We deal with all addictions – alcohol, drug dependency of any sort plus prescription medicine which is a huge problem these days,” explains John. “We also treat gambling addictions – the online access to gambling has skyrocketed into a big problem.” Eating disorders, sex addiction, anxiety, depression and Bipolar disorder can also be treated at Ibiza Calm – each and every case is treated as unique.
Treatment begins after initial contact – whether from the patient directly or a family member or friend – and following mutual acceptance for admission. Medical records are sourced and assessments are completed so a custom-made treatment plan can be created based on the patient’s life story – dots are connected using information including childhood traumas, first drug use, drinking experiences and even the loss of a loved one.
“First and foremost, we’ve got to treat the addiction,” stresses John. “We do that through detoxification. Sometimes a mistake is made when people rush to treat traumas and they forget about the addiction – we are a primary treatment centre, by detoxifying first. It gives the client space to come back to life and only then do we start to put the pieces back together.”
Although treatments cater to every individual who walks through the doors, the team has created a distinguished program that sets the facility apart from other treatment centres in Europe. Mornings begin with ‘Energy Flow’ sessions to move, feel grounded and prepare for the day, followed by meditation and a nutritional breakfast created by a Michelin trained chef. The rest of the day is spent in group therapy, listening to educational lectures on addiction, brain chemistry and physiology, eating more delicious food plus an afternoon of refreshing physical fitness. Every day, expert instructors come to train the patients properly while two highly sought after yoga teachers instruct Hatha and Kundalini classes.
Treatment at Ibiza Calm lasts around four weeks on average but anyone can feel welcome to stay as little or as long as they like. “There is no lock and key at Ibiza Calm,” says John. “You can come and go at your free will – although it doesn’t happen very often because we are providing an amazing healing experience. The residents play just as big of a factor as the staff, you see,” he goes on to explain. “The best work happens when the therapists go home. Our job is to set up the safety and make patients self-aware while providing useful information. When they grow in the program, they begin to coach each other on – it’s a beautiful act of loving compassion to other people and themselves.”
Adjusting to society following treatment is taken as seriously as the program itself. All Ibiza Calm treatment programs include a detailed aftercare plan featuring a relapse prevention strategy that includes looking for qualified addiction therapists in patients’ home areas. Luckily for residents in or close to Ibiza or London, the treatment facility also offers free weekly aftercare groups.
“Sadly there is still a stigma attached about coming to treatment,” John admits. “It really is just like a retreat with another focus. It’s not scary. If your life is not on track because of your chemical use, you can do something about it. Treatments in the 21st century have moved on and Ibiza Calm is at the forefront of this. In terms of mind, body, spirit and treatment, we really feel like we’re at the forefront of that. It’s all good, and it’s all safe,” he continues.
This positive way of looking at addiction treatment sets Ibiza Calm aside from intimidating rehab facilities in other parts of the world. “Who doesn’t want to look at themselves in a safe environment, explore the stuff they’ve been carrying for years, let it go, get in therapy and leave it at Ibiza Calm?” John says with gusto. “Do some exercise, eat good food in a safe, non-judgemental place – it is the forward move!“