Inpatient Treatment Methods at The Cabin Chiang Mai

Addiction is a chronic disease of the brain that requires intensive psychological treatment to overcome, as well as medical detoxification in the case of certain substance addictions (which cause the individual to develop a physical dependence).

At The Cabin Chiang Mai, treatment is made up of two main elements – drug or alcohol detox and our very own, cutting-edge therapy programme. The latter is augmented by a physical component to achieve a truly holistic recovery of the mind and body.

During a client’s drug or alcohol detox, they will be under the close supervision of our hospital staff who are on-site around the clock and led by Thailand’s top detox specialist, Dr Suttipan. Medication for detox, withdrawal symptoms and any accompanying health issues will be responsibly prescribed on a case-by-case basis.

Psychological treatment is performed using our proprietary treatment model called Recovery Zones – for which we have been commended by the global addiction community.  It combines the most effective known addiction treatment methods, such as cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), 12-Step principles and mindfulness, into a programme that yields results faster than the any individual method. More importantly, it helps each client to develop instinctive coping skills, which are crucial for relapse prevention.

If we discover that a client is also suffering from trauma, a common co-occurrence in addiction sufferers, our trauma specialists will treat them using a highly effective, multifaceted approach.

Upon assessment, each client will be recommended one of the following treatment plans:

28-day Accelerated Programme
60- to 90-day Recovery Programme
Tailored-duration Programme


All treatment programmes include:

  • One-on-One Therapy – These individual sessions are conducted with your dedicated case manager who will remain with you from the beginning to the end of your treatment.
  • Group Therapy – Group therapy is at the core of successful rehabilitation because your peer group has a profound effect on your recovery.
  • Mindfulness Therapy – Scientific studies have proven mindfulness meditation and yoga to be especially effective in dealing with cravings and stress management in addiction treatment.
  • Exercise Therapy – A combination of group exercise and personal training sessions conducted by our team of fitness instructors who have an in-depth knowledge of the fitness issues faced by addicts.
  • Massage Therapy – Medically proven to aid recovery of the bodily systems during detox as well as reduce stress and increase positive feelings.
  • Drama Therapy and Art Therapy – In the process of addiction recovery, creative therapies provide a form of expression for feelings that cannot be easily identified, as well as help raise self-esteem.
  • Weekly Excursions – Learning to enjoy life again without drugs and alcohol is an important part of the recovery process. Sunday trips are conducted to popular tourist destinations, and once a week clients are taken off-site for sporting activities.

Recovery Zones – Effective and Professional Addiction Counselling

At The Cabin, we use an integrative counselling model called ‘Recovery Zones’. Recovery Zones is a method that combines the evidence-based techniques of CBT, but retains the time-tested structure of 12-Step groups and the benefits and support of their fellowships and resources. The program is conducted by Western-trained and licensed professionals with vast experience in addiction treatment. However, before explaining in more detail what our approach to treatment is, it’s imperative to understand what addiction really is.

What is Addiction?

Addiction is a disorder that causes malfunction of the brain’s reward circuits. Up to 60% of addiction sufferers have probably inherited the disorder genetically (National Institute of Drug Abuse, 2010). Other people may have damaged their reward system by overusing it. Consequently, people with this disorder seek to reinforce their blunted reward feelings by seeking out substances or processes that increase pleasurable feelings. Once this happens, someone with a genetic susceptibility to the disorder will have knock on effects, or chemical cascades, to other parts of the brain affecting things like judgement and impulse control. This is why ‘addicts’ or alcoholics can’t control their using.

As a primary disease, addiction is often present in an individual before he or she even begins using drugs, and as a chronic disease it will still be there when they stop. This is why treatment – both medical and psychological – is necessary.

Our Method

At The Cabin we use a model called ‘Recovery Zones’, which is an easy way to combine the best elements of multiple techniques into an integrative approach to addiction treatment.

Active Zone

We place anything which has become compulsive and destructive for us in the Active Zone. Our ideal would then be to abstain from those substances or processes. However, many people move towards this ultimate goal at a different pace and some people need more help than others. Each client is different with regard to how and when they become abstinent, and what abstinence means for them individually.

Danger ZoneDanger Zone

The Danger Zone is where we define behaviours that might lead us back to active addiction. These include:

  • Triggers – Things that activate us or make us want to behave in an addictive way
  • Negative self-talk – Ways we talk negatively to ourselves inside our heads
  • Unmanageable feeling states – Unnecessary negative feelings like shame and anger
  • Ineffective behaviours – Things we do that are maladaptive (not good for our survival or well-being)

Recovery Zone

The Recovery Zone is comprised of all the things we need to do to achieve health and well-being. Here we learn how to use mindfulness. Mindfulness is a meditation style that originated in South-East Asia but is now very popular around the world in psychological health settings. It has been used widely by health services in the West to treat depression, anxiety and PTSD, and is now gaining ground as an effective treatment for addiction.

Mindfulness concentrates on:

  • Slowing ourselves down – Becoming more aware of our thoughts and our body movements/ sensations.
  • Urge surfing – The ability to see through cravings by assimilating the addictive thought into the meditation practice
  • Body scanning (progressive relaxation) – An aspect of mindfulness that supports relaxation and sleep, which aids recovery from addiction

One-on-one Therapy

One-on-one therapy sessions will take place with your dedicated primary therapist, who will remain with you from the beginning to the end of your treatment.

Group Therapy

Group therapy takes place twice a day, six days per week, plus evening workshops (which are every night of the week).

Here are some examples of seminars conducted through the programme:

  • What is Addiction? The Neuroscience Behind The Illness
  • What is CBT? An Introduction to the ABC technique
  • What is 12-Step Fellowship and Do I Need It?
  • What is Cross Addiction?
  • Understanding the Three-circle Model for All Addictions
  • Understanding Boundaries
  • Understanding Denial
  • The Masks We Wear
  • Dealing With Unmanageable Emotions (Advanced ABC)
  • Child & Adult Environments in the Causation of Addiction
  • Creating a Recovery Vision

Group Therapy is utilised in residential rehab because not only your counsellors, but also your peer group, have a profound effect on your recovery. Consistent engagement with a group is one of the main differences between residential treatment and community outpatient treatment/counselling. In a residential setting like rehab, your peer group enables you to see more of your issues than you would otherwise, and the dynamic of working through your issues with others “in the same boat” is proven to be more effective than battling it alone.


The culture, climate and natural beauty of Northern Thailand are suitable for a variety of activities that complement our clients’ treatment – both experientially and therapeutically. So, every Sunday, we take clients on carefully planned day trips to either a cultural or natural attraction or for an action-packed adventure.

Here are just a few of the things you might have the opportunity to do on our weekly excursions:

  • Jungle trekking
  • Canoeing/ kayaking
  • White water rafting
  • Go Fishing
  • Explore elephant parks
  • Thai cooking classes
  • Jungle zip line tour
  • Visit waterfalls

Depending on the length of your programme, you’ll have the opportunity to go on anywhere from two to 12 different excursions.