Our Passion to Inspire Others
Our core values and philosophy are who we really are, and our commitment to genuinely translate them into everyday life at Free Spirit and beyond is what truly creates the magic of our process, as our participants and their families so often experience and report on.
At Free Spirit we believe in choice and self-determination (Self Determination Theory, Ryan & Deci), where participants are the leading-active members of their own growth. Like navigating on a hike, the more you know and understand about the path ahead, about your preferences, and when possible, your destination, the more informed your choice can be and your commitment to walking your path throughout its obstacles. When your choices while at Free Spirit come from your own volition rather than a heavy structure and arbitrary consequences, they will last long after Free Spirit. Firstly this means that our participants willingly come to Free Spirit and make a personal commitment to the process. We dedicate time and effort to explain to our potential participants what this would entail, so their choice can be well informed.
Being a part of a community has an incredible effect on our youth and quite crucial for those struggling with substance use or other addictions. We know from great bodies of research that community and connection build resilience in general and specifically resilience to addiction. We pay close attention to the connection between the “drug of choice” to struggles with relationships and attachment and we focus our work on the underlying psychological issues that may have led to the addictive behavior. Belonging, sensing your value to the community, receiving valuable feedback from peers, and learning to live and be in relationships with others, young and old, all have powerful impact on every single member of our community. Our Cyprus location is a farm with similar principles of community life and mutual care for our surroundings. On our end, we, the staff, love being a part of our community, we love our participants, and truly love doing what we do!
It is of great importance that families join the process and reconnect with their youth who are struggling. This is a crucial component in translating the community feel at Holina Free Spirit into future success. For some participants this may be the paramount part of their process, while for others it could be another significant cornerstone. We invite parents to visit and undergo a week long process together, and be an integral part of our journey. Parents who have done this in the past, call this an eye-opening and life-changing experience and we see incredible value to their youth’s long term success.
Doing, Experiencing, Reflecting
We believe in the significant value of action and experience. Through doing, we learn and experience ourselves as competent. Through reflecting we build resilience (Dan Siegel), learn about ourselves and the world around us, and generalize from one experience to more instances in life. This is true for emotion regulation, daily functioning, social interactions and more. It may go without saying that experiences also include struggles, breakdowns, and failures, on top of experiences of success, joy, and connection. This is how we learn to cope and function and pursue our goals, beyond most obstacles.
We have learned that the substance use itself requires special attention on the behavioral and perceptual levels. We work with the 12 steps methodology, adapted to working with youth who are still struggling to find themselves and may not be ready yet to define themselves as addicts and make long term commitments to sobriety. This means that our first goal is to help them be sober long enough to benefit from our therapeutic work. We also work at harm reduction and realistic expectations from families back home. The paradigm of success or failure may lead them to heavy usage and lost of progress and we try to steer them and their families toward more flexible and realistic goals and expectations. At this age and given all that the world had gone through in the past few years, many youth struggle to find meaning and connection in the real world and turn to cannabis or alcohol as a filler, for self-medication, and, for some, to overcome their own insecurity in making connections. Some are able to maintain a functioning daily life, while others fall upon deeper depression and regression. These are our most typical participants, and the ones we have been able to help the most. For potential participants who experience more severe addictions, involving harder drugs and more destructive behaviors, we recommend Holina Thailand as their first step of intervention.
The therapeutic process happens continuously throughout every part of the day and activities. We believe in immersive therapy, where our staff and therapists are there as things are happening, rather than meet participants formally a couple of hours per week. This makes for a comprehensive therapeutic process, dealing both with deep content when it naturally comes up (this typically happens during critical times of challenge, hiking outdoors, or one-on-one time), as well as daily functioning content such as anxiety and avoidance, self discipline, motivation, and drive, social skills and interpersonal relationships, counter productive or destructive behaviors and more. Being there as it happens allows us to do truly relevant work together with our participants and succeed where most therapies have failed in the past. We also offer, as needed, mind-body based trauma work, Cognitive-Relational therapy, and more.