Tabor Group reviews ‘hot seat’ practice

Tabor Group reviews ‘hot seat’ practice
Senator Frances Black launches ‘An Evaluation of Tabor Group’ ReportPic shows: (L-R) Dr Jo-Hanna Ivers of Trinity College Dublin, Mick Devine Clinical Director Tabor Group and Senator Frances Black at the launch in Trinity College.

ADDICTION treatment centre Tabor Group is reviewing its practices after a report called for an end of the use of a confrontation method known as the “hot seat.”

Tabor Group, along with the HSE, commissioned the external evaluation by Trinity College, which was the first evaluation of the Minnesota Model (Tabor Group’s Treatment Model) ever completed in Ireland.

The report recommended the discontinuation of a confrontational counselling practice that included verbal abuse stating that “research now indicates... has been associated with higher dropout and relapse rates, weaker therapeutic alliance and less client change.”

Clients who were interviewed for the report were quoted in the document as saying: “there could be two or three counsellors there and they’re saying things to you like you’re a nasty person... really horrible and then they get the group to come at you as well and you just have to sit there and take it. They can be calling you every name.”

According to Prof Joe Barry and Dr Jo Hanna Ivers, who carried out the report, confrontation was not a technique used within the original Minnesota Model and the “tough love” approach was removed in a re-evaluation of the model as it was viewed as “too harsh and disrespectful.”

Speaking to the Evening Echo Clinical Director of the Tabor Lodge Addiction Treatment Centre, Mick Devine, said he was pleased with the review carried out by Trinity, which made 15 recommendations. He said: “It gives us very clear indicators about how we should adapt to become more effective in meeting emerging needs.”

Over 57 people were interviewed for the report, ranging from clients, staff, stakeholders and others.

Mr Devine said that the client’s description of the centre and criticisms of the use of confrontation was beneficial.

“It gives us a very clear report about how we are seen and what changes we need to make to become more effective going forward.

“The report has produced 15 recommendations and the board of Tabor Group have adopted each of the 15 recommendations and much work has already been done in the implementation of these recommendations and this work will be ongoing throughout 2019.”

In terms of the “hot seat” Mr Devine said: “It is widely accepted in the field of alcohol and drug addiction that the outcome for clients is better, if they begin to realise there are negative consequences to their addiction. However, the client must engage in this process in an open and willing manner. This will happen best in a respectful and open therapeutic relationship with registered addiction counsellors.”

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