MEET OUR CARING, INTEGRATED SUPPORT TEAM
At Resort 12, we carefully integrate all our teams so that clients experience a supportive and empathetic environment whether they are in therapy, working towards fitness goals, enjoying a meal in our restaurant or relaxing in our tranquil grounds.
LGBTQ clients are simply wired differently when it comes to addiction and trauma. To recover, their specific issues need to be addressed and their culture needs to be understood by empathetic and knowledgeable professionals
Stu Fenton, Principal Counsellor, Resort 12
In the 14 years since he began his own recovery from addiction, Stu has retrained as a clinical psychotherapist and counsellor and started a rapidly expanding support resource for crystal meth users and LGBTQ people in his native Australia.
What has been the most valuable lesson you’ve learned from working with LGBTQ clients?
That every individual is unique. The contexts that people from each ‘sub-group’ within LGBTQ share are useful in understanding issues that are likely to affect them, such as fear of being judged, rejection by family, living with HIV and so on, but it is vital to also respect and address each individual’s uniqueness and unique history in treatment. Also, the communities within LGBTQ come with their own negative impacts, for example the gay male community can be very competitive and exclusive, which can compound trauma.
Why is it important for LGBTQ people to be able to access treatment designed for their specific needs?
LGBTQ people often censor themselves because of the cultural homophobia they have experienced all their lives. And while some therapists are able to accept without judging, it’s a different thing entirely when your therapist really understands your experience, as I know from my own recovery. At Resort 12 LGBTQ individuals can feel safe and secure, so they can really open up and thoroughly work through their issues and challenges in a place where they receive heaps of acceptance, empathy and space.
What do you find the most rewarding aspect of your work with LGBTQ clients?
Because I’m able to quickly communicate to clients that I really understand where they are coming from, I see their eyes fill with relief and their bodies relax because they can truly let down their guard. The most satisfying thing for me is watching the repair and rejuvenation, seeing clients find their courage and resilience, and out of despair find self-worth and strength.
Having a safe space where it is possible to look at those things that we are often unable to discuss is going to enable recovery to begin for many of us and and transform the way we see treatment for our community
SANDI JAMES, Principal Counsellor, Resort 12
What for you is the most powerful aspect of Resort 12’s treatment model?
The individualised approach, alongside integration with the rest of the recovery community. It’s really important that LGBTQ people can come to this safe space, specifically designed to surround them with empathy, support and shared experience. But back in ‘the real world’, we’re not isolated or segregated, so we need to learn to deal with ignorance and judgement and respond to them in ways which are not unhealthy for us. The chance to integrate therapy groups shared with non-LGBTQ people into recovery, and to be part, when each client is ready, of the broader community at The Cabin, lets clients begin to be authentic within a more representative and diverse social context.
As an athlete, how do you feel about the combination of fitness training with recovery that Resort 12 offers?
For me, pushing myself physically makes me feel really alive, and present, and I think rehabilitating yourself physically is incredibly powerful. But again, it needs to be tailored for each person. I’ve completed 100km runs, and it’s a lot like recovery. I don’t run 100km. I run 10km to the first drinks station. And then to the next drinks station, and so on. Breaking the challenge down into smaller pieces makes anything possible.
What for you is the first rule for working with clients who have been marginalised by society?
It’s about acceptance and hearing the person. Being someone who doesn’t say they are wrong or broken. Meeting each person where they are and walking with them. My favourite treatment approach is acceptance and commitment therapy, it’s gentle and caring, and I have watched lives change and people overcome huge barriers. Recovery, whatever that looks life for each person, is so possible.
We want Resort 12 to become a global resource for that community. So we are commissioning new research based on our work here with the aim of making effective LGBTQ treatment much more available around the world
FIONA MARKHAM, Chief Clinical Officer, The Cabin
With master’s degrees in addictions psychology, psychotherapy and psychiatry, Fiona is constantly developing our pioneering treatment programme to incorporate the most progressive new thinking in the field from around the world.
Why is it important for LGBTQ people to be able to access treatment designed for their specific needs?
We know from our work with many LGBTQ clients over the years that issues many of them share relate to a deep sense of isolation, of not belonging. This can be traced back to many different things, for example growing up in a homophobic environment, the internalised homophobia that can result from that, the process of coming out, confusion around sexual and gender identity, and the inappropriate identities society pressures LGBTQ individuals to fit into.
How does Resort 12’s treatment differ from the proven model that has made The Cabin such a success?
Firstly, our clients will live as part of a nurturing, loving therapeutic community of people with a great deal of shared experience and concerns, which allows them, often for the first time, to really discover and embrace their own identities. Then, in addition to our core therapies, we run optional breakout groups on issues which are of specific relevance to this community, and which elsewhere are few and far between. Their themes include chemsex, gender identity, relationship disorders, body image and shame. I’m very interested too in emerging creative and attachment-based therapies, and we’re bringing art, music and equine therapies into the mix at Resort 12.
What are your ambitions for what R12’s treatment can achieve?
As well as giving our LGBTQ clients the best possible outcomes, we want Resort 12 to become a global resource for that community. So we are commissioning new research based on our work here with the aim of making effective LGBTQ treatment much more available around the world.
It’s not like just working in a gym here. We work with counsellors and support staff to help people really make a difference to their lives and change them for the better
THAI AMATAPREECHA, Fitness Manager, The Cabin
A graduate of Chiang Mai’s Institute of Physical Education, Thai brings experience as an instructor of cardio fitness, Muay Thai, self-defence and swimming to his role. He has worked with us for seven years and leads our personal training programme.
How does your work help clients’ recoveries?
As a team, we work together to help clients improve the health of both their minds and bodies. Sometimes when clients arrive they don’t feel well enough to exercise, but we keep talking to them, and we talk to their counsellors too, so that when they are ready, we are ready to help them and motivate them to get stronger and stronger. It makes me very happy when clients who at first didn’t want to talk to me really start to enjoy getting fitter, and come and say a big ‘thank you’ to me and my team when they leave.
What kinds of exercise do you offer clients?
In our main gym, our personal trainers coach clients in weight training, body combat and the martial art Muay Thai. We also teach classes including body pump, circuit training, muscle toning, ab workouts and cardio, and we have our own spin studio. We have a games court for basketball and five-a-side football, and every day there is a morning walk and run, plus yoga, which really helps still clients’ minds.
What motivates you most about your role?
It’s not like just working in a gym here. We work with counsellors and support staff to really understand what clients need and want. And that means we can help people really make a difference to their lives and change them for the better.
There really isn’t anywhere else in the world quite like this. The facilities are fantastic, the expansion is a mark of the success of our world-famous treatment model
PETER MAPLETHORPE, Centre Director, The Cabin
Peter makes sure everything runs smoothly for Resort 12 clients, from managing admissions to guest accommodation to helping clients settle in quickly. Highly experienced in the hospitality business, UK native Peter has lived in Thailand for 22 years.
How do you create a nurturing day-to-day environment for your clients?
All 200 of our team clearly understand our mission here, and that making sure our clients feel accepted, valued and comfortable every moment they are here plays an important part in their recoveries. Thai people are famous for their warm hospitality, and I’m always impressed by their kindness and friendliness with the clients. Everyone is aware that we’re all helping people address difficult challenges, and you can feel their pride in being part of that.
What have you learned from working with LGBTQ clients?
There’s a lot of creativity in this community. Our team have worked hard to provide a brand and space that reflects that, from the client rooms to the pool area the counselling rooms and all other points in between.
What has been your proudest achievement in your role?
Right now I’m very happy about our recent move, from our previous 60-bedroom site to our new, bespoke cluster of villages that have 120 bedrooms in all, including the 20-bed Resort 12. There really isn’t anywhere else in the world quite like this. The facilities are fantastic, the accommodations extremely smart and the expansion is a mark of the success of our world-famous treatment model, which we are all very proud of.
Non-judgemental practices are the norm in our hospital. We see every client as an individual regardless of sexuality and gender identity
UTTIPAN TAKKAPAJIIT, Clinical Psychiatrist and Medical Detox Specialist, The Cabin
Trained in London, Dr. Suttipan is Thailand’s foremost detox specialist. He oversees the 20-strong medical team at our fully equipped on-site hospital.
What experience do you have of working with LGBTQ people?
Over my seven years at The Cabin, we have had a significant proportion of LGBTQ clients, around 15%. They generally integrate well, but it has often been clear that many have very complex problems that are very specific to their LGBTQ backgrounds and social situations. That’s why it’s important that they can access their own safe space, where they are free to open up and fully address their psychological issues.
As medical experts for both The Cabin and Resort 12, are there issues you approach differently for LGBTQ clients?
Non-judgemental practices are the norm in our hospital. We see every client as an individual regardless of sexuality and gender identity, and know that each person’s circumstances need to be addressed according to the broad range of socio-cultural sensitivities that relate to them. We also offer – to both LGBTQ and heterosexual clients – an anonymous, rapid-screening service for sexually transmitted infections that includes pre- and post-test counselling for HIV. For any clients who test positive, we offer crisis-management support and highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART), and onward referral when they leave, to ensure they get the best ongoing care.
What benefits can Resort 12 clients expect?
As well as receiving expert treatment for addiction and trauma issues, they will live within a community where everyone will have experiences and insights in common. Far from the mainstream social contexts they may be forced to fit into at home, they will be fully accepted and supported, and can develop new skills and strategies to cope with the social pressures they will return to after treatment.
What do you most enjoy about your work?
It makes me very proud that we have built a global reputation for delivering effective treatment for addiction and trauma.
a large number of our staff are themselves LGBTQ, and they are all very excited to see this community’s needs and concerns given this kind of attention and care
STACY KHANTHO, Operations Manager, The Cabin
Stacy gained 15 years of four- and five-star hotel experience in Thailand and Europe before joining us. She came to The Cabin in May 2016, and has played a key role in developing Resort 12’s outstanding client services.
How do you ensure that LGBTQ clients feel welcome and comfortable at Resort 12?
We give all our staff special cultural training, so they know how to give clients all the support and space they need. We talk with our kitchen, restaurant and reception teams about the specific issues LGBTQ people face, and how to be sensitive to these, but most importantly that they are no different to anyone else, and that we can be as friendly, welcoming and open as we would to anybody. Also, a large number of our staff are themselves LGBTQ, and they are all very excited to see this community’s needs and concerns given this kind of attention and care.
How do your operations staff work with the other teams to support clients’ treatment?
Here it is very important that every client can truly be themself. The service we give is very personal, we quickly get to know what each person likes and dislikes, and of course any allergies or special needs they may have – the assessment team let us know of these soon after clients arrive. When there are issues around disordered eating, we work with the counsellors and monitor clients’ diets to be sure they get what they need.
What do you find the most rewarding aspect of your work?
I am really proud that I am able to use the years of experience I gained in high-quality hotels to make our clients feel well cared-for and help them achieve success in their treatment.
The atmosphere here is like family. I like getting to know our clients, and seeing them growing healthier and more confident over the course of their stays
NEW KANTANO, Chef de Partie, Resort 12
New joined us following positions at the luxury hotels Mandarin Oriental and Dhara Dhevi in Chiang Mai. Working first at The Cabin, he now oversees the kitchen and menus at Resort 12.
What do you enjoy about your role?
It’s much more creative than the kind of cooking I did in my years working in hotels. I’ve enjoyed the chance to learn much more about health – I have a degree in food and nutrition – and that means I am able to prepare many different kinds of dishes for all different kinds of tastes and needs. Everybody needs a nutritious diet, but some clients who come here have eating disorders, so it makes especially happy when I can help those people change their difficult relationships with food, and learn to enjoy eating healthily.
What kinds of food do you serve Resort 12 clients?
We offer a wide range of international cuisines including Thai, Chinese, Japanese, European and Arabic and our menus change daily. Our food is carefully balanced to promote good health, and I have developed special recipes to tempt clients with disordered eating issues to enjoy really nutritious, low-fat dishes like Thai-style sukiyaki soup, tortilla wraps and roasted salmon with Arabic salad.
Are you able to interact with the clients when you’re at work?
The atmosphere here is like family. All the clients eat together at our restaurant in beautiful surroundings, and we talk about the food, how I make the recipes and why they are good for them. It is very relaxed here and there is always time for a conversation. I like getting to know our clients, and seeing them growing healthier and more confident over the course of their stays.