our approach


As a leading rehab group based in Cape Town, South Africa, we are here to support people struggling with addiction. How can we assist you?

    THE harmony group program

    We take an evidence-based approach to our therapeutic program by combining the latest research in drug and alcohol addiction. We help our clients rebuild their lives so they can return home to their loved ones and lead a more fulfilling life.

    The treatment begins with a medical detox in our specialized detox unit (when needed) – this is a critical stage of the recovery process for many. On arrival, the patient is seen by one of our nurses (on duty 24 hours a day) and then seen by one of our specialist medical doctors to undertake a detox regime (if needed).

    The patient then has a consultation with one of our psychiatrists onsite. We know that many of our clients in addition to having been diagnosed with a substance use disorder/process addiction may also be dealing with loss, trauma or a co-morbid psychiatric condition: e.g., anxiety; major depressive disorder; bipolar mood disorder and attention deficit disorder. Due to the complexity of dual diagnosis, we are able to use pharmacology alongside other treatment modalities. As far as we know, our patients spend more time with our psychiatrists than at any other facility. This includes two weekly one-on-one psychiatrist sessions and four psychiatrist-led groups per week during Primary Treatment.   

    The foundation of all that we do at Harmony Private Addiction and Psychiatric Hospital is a patient-centred approach and teamwork by coordinated teams. The clinical therapeutic team consists of a Clinical Psychologist; a Counselling Psychologist; an Occupational Therapist; a Social Worker, an Addiction Counsellor; Psychiatrists and General Practitioners. The integration of the expertise of our different professionals results in a flexible, patient-centred and scientifically-sound basis for all interventions.

    How do we
    approach our work

    Our counselling and therapeutic activities are coordinated and integrated.

    Patient journeys are planned, goal-directed, regularly reviewed and outcomes focused. Patients become our responsibility from first contact and our relationships with our patients and their families is long-term and not event-based. We consistently search for new and better ways to treat and provide better services to our patients.

    How do we
    view our patients

    We recognise that addiction and mental illness are complex and that all patients are different and may require different pathways within a broader framework.

    We address the needs of the whole person, not just their addiction and/or psychiatric diagnosis.

    THE central pillars of our treatment philosophy

    Dialectable Behavioural Therapy

    A key focus area with many DBT skills groups as well as opportunities to practice DBT strategies in groups as well as in one-on-one sessions.

    12 Step Treatment

    Developed by alcoholics and has been adopted internationally by treatment facilities due to it being a successful addiction treatment modality.

    Therapeutic Groups

    We conduct around 35 groups a week consisting of Community Groups, Psycho-education Groups, DBT skills groups, and more.

    Animal Assisted Therapy

    A therapeutic intervention that incorporates animals, such as dogs and cats to enhance and complement the benefits of traditional therapy.

    Extended Treatment

    In Extended Care, patients are transitioned from high containment to having more responsibility and a certain amount of freedom of movement in order to work towards and master reintegration into the community.

    Dialectical Behavioural Therapy

    (DBT) is a key focus area with many DBT skills groups as well as opportunities to practice DBT strategies in groups as well as in one-on-one sessions.

    DBT is a cognitive behavioural skills-based approach in psychology which focuses on four main areas of functioning and well-being. These are often areas which, if neglected, can create causes for triggers to addictive behaviours. They include: Mindfulness – becoming present in the here and now; being aware of any experiences without judgment; being intentional in behaviour and decisions. Interpersonal Effectiveness – becoming confident and effective in communicating with and relating to others. Distress Tolerance – becoming resilient to everyday as well as more severe stressors. Emotional Regulation – coming to understand and regulate the intensity of emotions appropriately.

    Dialectical Behavioural

    While you will be learning more about Mindfulness in the DBT skills training, we also consider the principles of basic mindfulness as one of the core pillars underpinning the treatment program. Current research suggests that a mindful approach offers significant benefits in helping the brain heal from addictive behaviours, reducing overall stress, significantly improving resilience to stressors and contributing to general well-being. By incorporating Mindfulness practice into the daily schedule, you are allowing your body to start accessing these benefits as well as habituating yourself to daily mindfulness.


    12 Step Treatment also forms an important part of our treatment model.

    The 12-step program was developed by alcoholics and has been adopted internationally by treatment facilities due to it being a successful addiction treatment modality. Inherent in the 12-step approach are many of the DBT skills, most notably mindfulness. This program is comprehensive in addressing the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual aspects of this disease.

    The process involves:

    • Admitting an inability to control the addictive behaviour
    • Learning to access an external strength until the internal locus of control and feeling of self-worth have developed
    • Learning to live in a way that is authentically based on one’s values and beliefs
    • Examining past errors and making amends for these errors
    • Replacing self-centredness with altruism that those who practice it find rewarding and fulfilling.

    The word God is used throughout the 12-step literature. It is important to understand that it is clearly stated in this literature that this is God as we understand him. In particular, we place heavy emphasis that this is a spiritual program, not a religious one and that each person determines their own understanding of what a Higher Power may be.



    We facilitate the following:

    • Powerless and Damages group sessions (working Step 1) where the patients acknowledge, share and process the adverse consequences of active addiction
    • Step work groups with a step work handbook patients work through
    • Patients attend (2/3) in-person meetings a week of Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous
    • For those needing other specific Fellowships such as Overeaters Anonymous; Sex Addiction Anonymous, Gambling Anonymous or Co-dependents Anonymous this is arranged for them.

    The link between trauma and addiction as well as trauma and co-morbid psychiatric conditions is well researched and documented. Dealing effectively with trauma is, therefore, another key focus area. 

    It is known in psychological discourse that we tend to repeat what we don’t repair. Current research suggests that previous trauma can have a significant effect on the way that we interpret the world and the motives of others – thereby profoundly impacting our ability to feel safe and at ease with our experiences. Research further suggests that there is a profound connection between the traumatised brain and the using brain and that unresolved traumas are likely to continue being intense triggers for engaging in avoidance strategies such as addictive behaviours. During your admission, you will be given the opportunity to start processing some of those traumas and to gain insight into the patterns of disrepair you may be repeating.

    Therapeutic groups

    We conduct around 35 groups a week consisting: Community Groups; Psycho-education Groups, DBT skills groups, Powerless and Damages Groups; Disordered Eating Groups; Trauma Focused Groups; Reflective Groups; Mindfulness Groups; Experiential Groups; Gender Groups; Relapse Prevention Groups; Somatic Processing Group; Recovery Focused Groups

    The patient will be assigned a focal therapist that they see at least twice a week in one on one sessions. This trained professional is either a Occupational Therapist; Psychologist; Social Worker or Addiction Counsellor. They are given personalised assignments relating to their specific needs to reflect and work on. Family conjoint sessions with significant others (in person or online) are arranged to ensure all parties work towards a common goal.

    EMDR – for those that are highlighted (not sure what is meant here) we provide EMDR one-on-one therapy. This evidence-based therapy is renowned worldwide for its efficacy for the treatment of trauma.


    Breathwork – through the facilitation of meditative breathing you will have the opportunity to access and release deep-seated underlying trauma from your body. Through the gentle guidance of our Breathwork expert, you will have the opportunity to go through this healing process in a safe and contained space. This space is open for any spontaneous experiences – you can laugh, cry, shout or shake to allow your body to let go of some of the anxieties around previous trauma – thereby allowing your body to access the trauma beyond the masks we tend to hold in place.

    Tension & Trauma Releasing Exercises (or TRE®) is a popular well-known tool for helping release stress, trauma and tension. With a set of exercises TRE helps patients release their stresses by activating a natural reflex which creates a tremor of shaking and then calming the nervous system. When this vibrating type state is activated in a therapist-led interaction, the patient’s body is then helped to move to a better balance.

    Animal Assisted Therapy

    Animal Assisted Therapy is a therapeutic intervention that incorporates animals, such as dogs and cats into the treatment plan.


    It is used to enhance and complement the benefits of traditional therapy.  At Harmony Addiction and Psychiatric Hospital we invite patients in the Extended Care phase of treatment to attend animal-assisted therapy at “Underdog” (based in Hout Bay) on a rotational basis.

    extended treatment

    Research has shown that extended treatment directly correlates with an improved likelihood of sustained recovery.

    In Extended Care, patients are transitioned from high containment to having more responsibility and a certain amount of freedom of movement in order to work towards and master reintegration into the community. They have the opportunity to experience real-life triggers whilst off the premises but are offered containment and support during program time.


    We deepen the process work and further explore the causative emotions that underlie certain behaviours. We continue to address the mechanism of denial and assist patients in recognizing the consequences of their addiction. This is an opportunity to put into practice and thereby reinforce the DBT skills that have been taught in Primary Treatment. New behaviour takes an extended period of practice to become habitual and we help them with refining this behaviour and maintaining awareness of their emotions. During Extended Care there will be more opportunities for conjoint sessions with significant others and the patient. This is often used to complete the process of dealing with unresolved emotions or to discuss the discharge plan. During Extended treatment, there are six groups a day and patients meet with their focal therapist twice a week.
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