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Frequently Asked Questions

Some of the common questions answered. If you can’t find what you’re looking for here, please give us a call on 028 9032 8308.

  1. What is our approach?
  2. How can I get into Carlisle House?
  3. What does Carlisle House offer?
  4. What about my medication?
  5. What does a typical day look like?
  6. What happens in group therapy?
  7. Will I have to attend religious activities?
  8. What can I bring with me?
  9. Will I have any free time?
  10. Can I have visitors?
  11. What about external appointments?
  12. Are all meals provided?
  13. What happens when you leave?

1. What is our approach?

We aim to help people find constructive ways of finding solutions to the challenges that lead to substance use, and the difficulties created by substance use. At the centre of this approach is a focus on your strengths and expertise, and your ability to discover solutions. We will work in ways that acknowledge the importance of different perspectives, beliefs, cultures, contexts and life experiences, and will adapt how we work according to your needs, resources and preferences.

Our aim is not to take sides, blame, or provide simple answers. Rather, we aim to help people engage with others in sharing understandings and exploring ways forward that work for them. We not only support change with individuals but also in their relationships with their family and community; so family, friends or those important to you will be supported in the changes everyone may need to adapt to. We not only support change taking place within individuals, but also within their relationships with their family and community.

Our approach understands substance use as a way of coping with and managing past or present hurt and trauma. Often the substance helps to cope with loneliness, anxiety, stress, and other strong unwanted emotions. 

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2. How can I get into Carlisle House?

If you live within the Belfast Trust or Northern Trust areas you will need to be referred to the Community Addiction Team. Your GP will make this referral. However, if you live within the Belfast Health and Social Care Trust area, there are a small number of places that are dedicated to direct GP referrals. For GP referrals Carlisle House will complete the assessment process.  

If you live outside of these Health Care Trust areas we can accept private patients that are referred by a GP.  Again, admission will depend on the outcome of the Carlisle House Assessment process. If you want more information please contact us and ask to speak with the Senior Administrator or Senior Practitioner. 

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3. What does Carlisle House offer?

Carlisle House offers a safe and structured environment for people who find it difficult to make the changes they want to make regarding their substance use, while living at home or in their community. We offer the opportunity for you to join with 11 other people, both male and female, to explore and discover solutions to the difficulties you face.

You will also have an individual link worker / counselllor who will support you through Carlisle House and help you prepare for when you leave. The core treatment is Group Therapy which involves, talking therapies, creative therapies, eco-therapies and complementary therapies. These therapies are mandatory, and you will be expected to participate in all of them. Individual Counselling and Family Therapy is something we will discuss with you, though not mandatory, we will encourage you to consider these, and explore the benefits for you and your family. The residential programme is four to six weeks duration, though a shorter programme can be explored.

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4. What about my medication?

When you are admitted to Carlisle House you will remain as a patient with your own GP to make sure your health needs are best met. We will work closely with your GP, Community Addiction Team Practitioner and any other health professional. As part of your admission we will assess with you whether or not you can safely administer your own medication. Some medicines are required by the Regulation Quality Improvement Authority (regulation body)to be administer by Carlisle House to ensure it stays a safe place for you and other Service Users. RQIA carry out regular inspections to ensure all are medicines policies and procedures are robust and meet the required standards.

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5. What will a typical day look like?

Part of a Residential Treatment Programme is to create and encourage a structure that will be helpful for you when you leave. Breakfast is between 7am and 8.00am, after which there will be a daily task. This is followed by the morning group therapy session. You may also have an individual session before lunch. The afternoon begins with a group workshop or activity. Time is set aside in the evenings for visits, reflection and relaxation. 

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6. Will my family be involved?

It will be your decision whether or not your family is involved, and to what extent. However, we recognise that substance use, both alcohol and drug, has have a significant impact on all aspects of a person’s life including their family. Substance use can be a response to difficulties within a family and therefore it may be helpful to involve your family in treatment. Family Therapy sessions are facilitated by a qualified Family Therapist. It is our experience that for those who have engaged in these, they have found it very beneficial and supportive

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7. What happens in Group Therapy?

We plan small groups for Group Therapy to maximise the opportunity for each member to contribute and share. These sessions are facilitated in ways that will encourage and help you to share at your own pace. The emphasis is put on the collective expertise of all of those in the group exploring what solutions may be available to meet the challenges you face. As you go through the programme the groups may become more challenging, and will encourage you to explore not only your relationship to your substance of choice, but also your relationship with other aspects of your life.

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8. Will I have to attend Religious activities?

Carlisle House does not promote or run any religious activities. We do acknowledge that religion or faith can be important to people, and if you request religious information or pastoral care we will help you access these in the local community. We welcome clients from all religious backgrounds or none. Individuals can attend their preferred places of worship when requested. Information of local places of worship is available.

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9. What can I bring with me?

You will have your own room. All bedding is provided and meets fire safety regulations. Please bring with you toiletries, alarm clock and dressing gown. Laundry facilities are available for you to use. You may keep your mobile phone in your possession. However, if you feel it would be more beneficial not to have your phone at certain times, Carlisle House can keep it securely locked until such times as you need it. Phones are not permitted in any of the group or individual therapy sessions. Tablets are also permitted. WiFi is available.

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10. Will I have any free time?

There is no permitted free outside of the Centre. However, you can attend appointments and important family events if required. These will be decided on an individual basis. On return from any time outside of the Centre you will be alcohol and drug tested on return. 

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11. Can I have visitors?

Yes. We have set aside certain times, evenings and weekends, for you to have visitors. These will require you book one of these. Due to COVID19 you are currently permitted only one visit each week. If you have children, we can make arrangements for you to have visits during the day if this is more suitable. We can also arrange visits from other Professionals or Religious Clergy during the day if this is requested.

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12. What about external appointments?

Our approach at Carlisle House is to collaborate with other professionals that you may be working with. You will be facilitated to attend any appointments you may have. For any new appointments, you will be asked to try and arrange these outside of Group Therapy times if possible. Your Individual Worker will guide you in this.

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13. Are all meals provided?

Yes. Both the lunch and evening meal are prepared by the Cook and are viewed as an integral part of the programme,  to add to a healthy daily lifestyle. Food is available for breakfast and supper which you can prepare yourself. You will be requested not to bring hot food into Carlisle House. Snack food is permitted and a fridge is available for yogurts etc. Each meal will have a vegetarian option. High energy drinks are not permitted.

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14. What happens when you leave?

Carlisle House offers a range of post programme support groups. If you have chosen individual or family therapy, you can continue this up to 6-12 sessions. We will discuss your post programme support with you in collaboration with you and any professionals you may be working with.

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