ZOLLIKON -- The fatter the wallet, the bigger the problems. That, anyway, is the impression you get talking to the people who run what is considered Switzerlands most exclusive rehab facility: The Küsnacht Practice. Jan A. Gerber, the managing director, welcomes us to the establishments new premises in Zollikon, another Gold Coast commune right next to Küsnacht. Both are lakeside suburbs of Zurich.
Modern art on the walls. Designer furniture. Chic digs: a place for the upper class, for VIPS, although Gerber wrinkles his nose at the terms. Higher earners are our target public, he says. VIPs sounds disparaging.
The Küsnacht Practice made headlines last June when the free newspaper 20 Minuten speculated that British fashion designer John Galliano may have completed a two-month rehab stint there. According to the paper, Galliano was purported to have spent one million Swiss francs ($1.05 million) for service said to have included a private jet, helicopter, chauffeur, cook, and security.
Gerber isnt saying if the rumor is true or not: We dont talk about our customers. What he does say is that clients come from far and wide and many of them have already been to the worlds most expensive rehab clinics. Some, he adds, had nearly given up hope of ever being healed.
The Küsnacht Practice can not only help, says Gerber, it can meet every requirement of people used to luxury. We can organize practically anything, he says, smiling.
Priorities: comfort and discretion
Patients are not treated in groups, but on an individual basis in poshly appointed apartments in Küsnacht and the surrounding area. If a guest prefers, they can stay at the five-star Dolder Grand hotel in Zurich, with which the clinic has a partnership. Another option is to stay at a luxury villa in the resort of St. Moritz.
The point is for the rehab stint to be as discreet as possible. Many of our patients have an extremely influential place in society, says Gerber. Stints are often so discreet even members of the clients entourage sometimes dont realize what is going on.
While at The Küsnacht Practice, patients follow a clearly defined daily routine. Actors, politicians and entrepreneurs in particular often have a very unsettled way of life, with a lot of stress and little structure, Gerber says. He explains that in an environment like that, it is difficult to break free from an addiction. We try and change the clients lifestyle.
For the length of the treatment, a therapist lives with the patient and is there for him or her around the clock as are a butler and a housekeeper. But psychotherapy is only one of many methods used at The Küsnacht Practice. Addiction therapy is highly complex, Gerber says there are no magic pills to heal the sickness. A combination of different methods is needed to achieve results.
Yoga, acupuncture, personal training and other complementary therapies constitute important parts of the daily routine. But brain chemistry, as Gerber calls it, also plays a major role. We seek to redress chemical balances in the bodies of drug addicts. That process starts off with blood and urine tests after which a specialist prescribes nutritional supplements that will help healing. After starting to take the supplements, patients feel better within days, sometimes even minutes, Gerber claims.
Lowell Monkhouse, the founder of The Küsnacht Practice, claims the facilitys approach to be unique worldwide. When the Canadian first came to Switzerland 13 years ago he was a manager in a large firm. Concerned about the drug addition problems of several family friends, Monkhouse gradually developed an interest in addiction therapy. From his apartment in Küsnacht, he began counseling them. Youre good at this, was something he got used to hearing and so what had been a hobby became a new career path. Monkhouse began studying psychology and went to the States to train as an addiction therapist.
His client base grew by word of mouth, and he opened The Küsnacht Practice in 2007. Business partners came on board, as did employees. The exclusive establishment now has a staff of 14, with new plans to expand. Says managing director Gerber: Were presently looking for additional luxury apartments in the area.
Read the original article in German
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