Don Lavender has spent nearly forty years working in and developing treatment centres around the world.
Born and raised in the USA, he started his clinical career working for two of the world’s leading treatment centres there.
When Don relocated to the UK twenty years ago, he was instrumental in introducing Equine Assisted Psychotherapy to the country. He also consulted for treatment centres in the Middle East, where he has spent some time.
After the US and UK, Don settled in Southern Spain where he created his own bespoke treatment centre.
Frustrated by the constraints of other centres, Don wanted to create a place driven by the same motivations that inspired him in the first place. A sincere desire to help those suffering. Camino was born.
2019 saw Camino celebrate its tenth year on the Costa Del Sol and has proved to be it’s most successful yet.
Don took time out to review the year.
How would you summarise 2019?
In 2019, we made some brave decisions, we decided that Camino should be nicotine-free despite many people telling us, that from a business perspective, this would be unwise. We did, however, choose to do this in the best interests of our clients and we feel vindicated.
We have been full throughout the year, and our clients have embraced our ethos. The joy of owning our own centre is that we can make these decisions without being influenced by external circumstances and only focus on the wellbeing of our clients.
We have been fortunate enough to have built a strong reputation. This year has been a success based upon that and the kind recommendations of many facilities and psychotherapists worldwide.
What are the foundations upon which Camino is built?
It is essential not to lose sight of the fundamental reason that the doors were opened in the first place, to help those suffering from trauma, anxiety, depression and addiction.
We believe that as long as that remains our primary motivation and that all our decisions are made with this value at our core, we will thrive.
The family is often overlooked in treatment, but they are integral to the healing process, both for the client and his family. We are immensely proud of the family aspect of our program and believe this is what makes us stand out from the crowd.
What makes Camino different from other treatment Centres?
I think when your focus is on the client, everything else falls into place. Years of experience has taught us that each client is different and what might work for one person, doesn’t work for another.
With that in mind, we have developed a diverse and professional environment that encompasses philosophies such as the ’12 Steps’ in conjunction with a comprehensive family program, Equine Assisted Psychotherapy (EAP) and Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR).
We regard trauma as a key issue in the origins of addiction and encourages addictive behaviour.
We also give proper cognisance to process addictions as a separate entity. We believe this to be unique in Europe and our staff provide a level of knowledge both formally and experientially in these areas.
Therapy in a group environment has proved to be far more effective than 1 to 1 therapy, and our focus is on group work. However, we also provide 1 to 1 therapy when necessary; it can prove to be invaluable under certain circumstances.
Why is it important to be small and bespoke?
Having worked on both sides of the fence (Don has worked in facilities with over 300 beds), it is apparent to me that smaller systems have the potential to be far more productive.
This environment means that clients can’t get lost or hide in the process. Individualised care can suffer in a larger facility. Invariably larger facilities need to be all things to all people, and here at Camino, we can confidently call ourselves bespoke.
Why have such a variety of therapeutic modalities?
The boutique size of our facility, coupled with the diverse therapies available to us means we can be truly bespoke.
In understanding the client through traditional therapy, we can evolve the process in collaboration with them and what they respond to. All of our therapists are Masters qualified and are regarded as experts in their field.
Why come to rehab in Spain?
It’s always easier to make a brave decision, such as going into rehab, when the environment is conducive to healing. Sometimes geographical distance creates emotional distance and allows the client to reappraise and move forward without the perceived parameters of home. It is also easier to detox in a warm climate beside a pool than it is in a cold environment with all the doors shut!!
We look forward to our Alumni visiting in 2020 and meeting some new clients over the coming year.