It is important to recognise that pathological gambling develops from a combination of physical, psychological, genetic, biochemical and social factors. Our goal is to identify the underlying causes of the disorder and to restore healthy coping mechanisms so that our clients are able to lead a normal life.
To reach this goal, we treat the entire person: body, mind and spirit. We use comprehensive laboratory testing to identify any physical, biochemical or neurochemical imbalances. We find that clients are unlikely to recover until their neurochemistry is functioning properly. We then use laboratory testing and psychological and other assessments to find out why our client has adopted pathological gambling as a survival strategy and to help them develop healthy coping mechanisms.
Our holistic approach for all patients, regardless of their gender or sexual orientation, includes the following: 1 Our ultimate priority is to identify and treat the underlying causes of the disorder – physical, psychological, genetic, biochemical and social. 2 Upon arrival, our clients are admitted to our partner hospital (the Mannedorf hospital) under the care of our medical team, for one to seven days. 3 During our client’s hospital stay, our specialists complete a full medical examination, involving comprehensive biochemical and neurochemical testing, which includes a genetic swab and the sampling of blood, urine, saliva and hair. We also perform several other assessments, including psychiatric, social-chemical and nutrition-and-lifestyle.
At this time, a sexual addiction disorders counsellor will be assigned and begin the counselling process. 4 On the basis of these assessments, working together with the psychotherapist and the client, we develop a detailed treatment plan which will determine the length of primary treatment, normally lasting from six to twelve weeks. 5 Upon leaving the hospital, our client moves to one of our exclusive, luxury residences. 6 Our treatment of the underlying causes of the disorder includes creating a tailor-made formulation of micronutrients and amino acids to counter any imbalances that are identified in the biochemical and neurochemical testing.
This formulation is as unique as the client’s fingerprint. The laboratory findings are also used to determine the menu cooked by the client’s personal gourmet chef, to maximize the biochemical and neurochemical restoration process. 7 Medication is prescribed only as a last resort, when symptoms are severe and fail to respond to Biochemical Restoration and other forms of therapy. Our goal is for clients to be drug free and, just as importantly, free of their side-effects. 8 We will, when possible, invite the client’s most important family members to attend a 2-day Family Systems Therapy program during the client’s treatment.
This is not mandatory, but we strongly encourage it. The participating family members will gain an understanding of their loved one’s disorder and how they are involved in it. Such therapy can result in family members themselves deciding to seek treatment to address their own dysfunctional behaviour and pain. 9 Continuing care is crucial to long-term recovery. It is relatively easy for a client to be abstinent in the clinical environment, whereas the real challenge is for them to remain abstinent and to continue their recovery after returning home.
To address this, we have a Continuing Care Program which can include a mentor or psychotherapist returning home with the client to support their re-engagement with their home, family, work, school and friends. Just as importantly, the psychotherapist helps the client to adapt their lifestyle to their recovery program. Other elements of the program can include daily telephone/Skype calls for the first critical period of time and return visits to the Kusnacht Practice (or home visits by a member of our clinical team), at first on a monthly basis, then quarterly for the first year and then at a declining frequency until the end of year two. Continuing care can last from anywhere between a few days to 2 years and, combined with 12-Step support groups, it greatly increases the likelihood of a long-term recovery.
The Kusnacht Practice provides an individualized treatment approach to meet the precise needs of each client. We only treat clients individually, not in groups, so our entire clinical team (comprising doctors, psychiatrists, psychotherapists, counsellors and nutritionists) and our complementary therapy team (comprising yoga instructors, acupuncturists, reflexologists, masseurs and personal trainers) work with just one client and their family. We look beneath the symptoms as a way to understand the function of addictive behaviour in the client’s life. Once we identify the underlying causes of our client’s disorder, we treat them using research-based interventions.
A Unique and Effective Approach
We work with clients to help them regain control over their symptoms, to resolve trauma and to enable them to develop the skills necessary to let go of addictive thinking and behaviour in their day-to-day lives. We use pharmaceuticals only as a last resort. Treatment may include some or all of the following: 1 Detoxification to rid the body of the toxins it has accumulated from our environment and the food, water and drugs that we ingest. This helps to stop craving.
We use saunas, special detox agents, diet and exercise to achieve this. 2 Testing and laboratory work to determine the biochemical and neurochemical imbalances of each client. Based on these results, we produce a computer-generated formulation of micronutrients and amino acids to restore biochemical and neurochemical balance. The formulation is as unique as the client’s fingerprint. The laboratory findings are also used to determine the menu cooked by the client’s personal gourmet chef, to maximise the biochemical and neurochemical restoration process. 3 Psychotherapy to discover and treat the underlying psychological issues that led to the onset of the disorder and any other psychiatric, personality, social or family issues identified in the treatment plan.
Psychotherapy can involve: Cognitive therapies Clinical hypnotherapy/trance work Mindfulness work Somatic experiencing EMDR to erase triggers and stressors Positive psychology Family systems therapy 4 Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) – the use of magnetic fields to stimulate nerve cells in the brain to treat depression. 5 My Brain SolutionsTM – scientifically-designed computer exercises that target attention, memory, flexibility, stress-reduction and positivity. 6 Complementary therapies, including: Yoga Meditation Personal Training Satori Chair Sessions Acupuncture Art/music therapy Reflexology Alpha-Stim Sessions to relieve pain, anxiety, depression or insomnia Massage Use of the spa at the The Dolder Grand Hotel 7 Nutrition and lifestyle coaching 8 An intensive Psycho-Educational program, including a handbook containing relevant topics for each client and family member involved in the treatment program. 9 Completing some or all of the 12-Steps of GA. 10 Attending GA and other pertinent support group meetings. 11 Spiritual counselling. 12 A two-day Family Systems Therapy program. 13 Providing an intensive Continuing Care Program for the client and family members, which often involves a mentor returning home with the client to help them adjust to their new life.