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The Cabin Chiang Mai - The International Drug Rehab

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Article by Alastair Mordey


The Cabin Chiang Mai is a 50-bed drug and alcohol rehabilitation center providing modern, innovative and effective substance abuse treatment. It is located in northern Thailand and serves an international clientele from Australia, Hong Kong, Singapore, the UK, USA and Middle East. Prominent psychologist Alastair Mordley leads its counseling team. Several other psychologists and 10 nursing staff are all available 24/7 to care for patients. All counsellors are DANOS (UK Drug and Alcohol National Occupational Standards equivalent to CADC) accredited and licensed addiction counsellors. The ratio of clinical staff to patients is 1:1.

The Cabin Chiang Mai opened in late 2009, and has since treated 800 patients with a 96% completion rate in addiction rehabilitation.

The treatment used is dubbed Recovery Zones, which combines Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), 12 Steps and Mindfulness Meditation. CBT is essentially a collaborative and individualized program that helps individuals identify unhelpful thoughts and behaviors and learn or relearn healthier skills and habits. The 12 Steps is a set of guiding (spiritual) principles being used by Alcoholics Anonymous to outline a course of action for recovery, starting with admission of addiction and recognizing a higher power (The Cabin uses 'secular' or non-religious language) up to examining past errors and making amends. Mindfulness Meditation is an adaptation of Buddhist meditation techniques where one learns a mental position that can separate a given experience from its associated emotion to facilitate a skillful response.

The Cabin Chiang Mai offers a 28-day accelerated program, 60- or 90-day recovery program and a tailored-duration program.Woven into the programs are regular one-on-one sessions with a psychologist, daily group therapy sessions, detoxification, exercise therapy (with fitness instructors for yoga, body combat, Thai martial arts), excursions (the location Chiang Mai is a popular tourist destination and mountain bikes are available, even an elephant or two), massage treatments, drama and art therapy, relapse prevention and after care coaching.

Treatment is available for alcohol, drug and behavioral (gambling/overeating/sex) addictions. Trauma and/or PTSD symptoms are treated with an evidence-based therapy called EMDR.

Admission starts with a phone call or email followed by personalized assessment. The only admission requirement is willingness to participate. It is best, however, to send medical records in advance. Upon arrival, interview and analysis will be done by caring counsellors to help develop an individual treatment plan (weekly schedule). There is also a 24-hour on-call English speaking doctor, medical checkup at a private hospital and family consultation service. But if a patient chooses to exit in seven days, an industry-unique refund will be made.

Privacy, confidentiality and anonymity are guaranteed. The Cabin Chiang Mai is a secluded riverside facility akin to a 5-star luxury Lanna-style tropical resort. Comfortable and airy teakwood cabins along the Ping River and all the creature comforts of home (4-poster bed, air-conditioning, HDTV, Wi-Fi, daily laundry and room cleaning, bathtub, al fresco shower, veranda with swing, fresh fruits daily to name some). There’s also DVD library and computer room, communal areas, dining rooms, fitness and therapy rooms, spa sala, swimming pools, gardens, sports lawn. 24-hour security is ensured, as well.

The Cabin Chiang Mai roughly costs a third of similar high-end, international rehabilitation centers.


The Cabin Chiang Mai’s programme director and psychologist Alastair Mordey (BA Hons, FDAP) is a certified and accredited addiction counsellor. He has over a decade of experience working in all four tiers of the UK's treatment system, from detox to aftercare.

He is associated with the Federation of Drug & Alcohol Professionals, The British Psychological Society, The National Association of Addiction Treatment Providers and the Association of Psychotherapists & Counsellors (Singapore).

In 2010, Alastair was the main speaker at the National Treatment Agency's annual conference in the UK, where he presented findings of his pilot project on the use of cardiovascular sports as therapy for people with addiction problems in northeast London. His model was adopted as the national model for health in long-term addiction recovery.

Later in 2010, Alastair co-founded The Cabin Chiang Mai, which is based on the 2011 public policy document and latest research findings of the American Society of Addiction Medicines. It features secular language in a culturally sensitive environment to achieve lasting results in a short time.

In 2011, Alastair began training the Treatment System Teams at Thailand's state-run Thanyarak Hospitals in in the use of CBT and Twelve Step Facilitation for drug and alcohol users, and now works closely with the Office of Narcotics Control Board (ONCB) in Bangkok.

In October 2012, Alastair and The Cabin hosted an addiction counselling conference in Chiang Mai where he co-facilitated training for Asian professionals with leading addiction specialist Mr. Terence Gorski.

Alastair writes on addiction for several publications including Drink Drug News, CNN, and Asian Correspondent as well as features regularly on radio, TV and at speaking engagements and conferences both in the South East Asia and back home in the West.

22 Jan 2015

Article/Information supplied by Alastair Mordey

Disclaimer - Any general advice given in any article should not be relied upon and should not be taken as a substitute for visiting a qualified medical Doctor.