Study visit to Dianova, Spain

The project study visit to Barcelona, Spain, February 29 – March 3, was full of intense discussions and project group work. We have focused on the key project concepts: Rehabilitation, Recovery and Reinsertion. A stimulating discussion among the partners resulted in developing the definitions of a person in recovery, a recovered individual, reinsertion and reintegration and many more.

The study visit programme focused on the way Spanish associations, therapeutic communities and foundations adapted its treatment conditions for many vulnerable groups (addicted women, homeless, mentally sick addicts, women – victims of gender violence), embraced the specifics of work with the homeless and addicted persons, clients with double diagnoses). Our group met the representatives of Espai Ariadna, Associacio Alba, Fundacio Ciutat I Valors, Fundacio Arrels and got introduced to a special project – Drug Checking Service for recreational drug users. The last one provides a special service of testing the toxicology of new psychoactive substances. This is in order to prevent drug fatalities and to establish a contact with drug users, also reaching out for the users of the deep Web. Many recreational drug users are concerned with the purity of the drugs they try. The service functions in collaboration with pharmacists and technical universities, and is frequently applied on the international level.

At the heart of the visit was a therapeutic community Dianova Can Parellada that boasts good work with the double diagnosed persons, social education for the clients, good work with psychologists. The staff uses a tailored treatment and longer therapy programmes of 6-9 months. The government provides funds for the community, that covers younger population with prevention programmes, outpatient programmes for adolescents with behavioural disorders as well as outpatient and residential programmes (in total - 47 beds).
Clients with double –diagnoses are kept integrated in the programmes with other addiction clients. The methodology is adapted to their needs without changing the methodology of the treatment, according to Gisela Rodriguez-Hansen, leading psychologist at Dianova.
Mixing clients, often male and female, turned out to be a practice at many Spanish addiction treatment- and residence programmes, for instance at the residential community La Coma, Fundacio Ciutat i Valors, Benito Menni Mental health Hospital and other places. TC in Spain mix the groups of variously diagnosed persons to promote tolerance and empathy development and to let people with mental disabilities get in touch with the rest of the inhabitants in their community.

All in all, many private NGO in Spain collaborate with the state and find a lot of private donors to maintain addiction treatment programmes and services and to integrate addicts, mentally ill, homeless to social life. The goal is to keep them away from drugs, enjoying autonomy and raising their self-esteem.
Therapeutic Community programmes in Spain are many, but the effectiveness need to be evaluated from the inside, considering everyday work with the clients. There is also a need for alternative external perspective to assist the TC to make a correct evaluation, shared Antonio Jesus Molina, Therapy Coordinator at Dianova.
Dianova is an excellent example of integrating the socially vulnerable!