The Banyans Health and Wellness approach is founded in evidence-based practice and measurable results. The case studies of previous guests, as well as industry research supports the effectiveness of The Banyans’ biopsychosocial approach to rehabilitation and recovery.

Case Studies

The Banyans Health and Wellness approach aims to create measurable results and long term change. These anonymised case studies are from past guests of The Banyans program.

 

 

This guest arrived at The Banyans with moderate depressive systems, severe anxiety and extremely severe stress. The guest benefitted greatly from equine therapy, cognitive behavioural therapy and music therapy to seek recovery from chronic stress, burnout and substance misuse concerns.

On completion of his program at The Banyans, the guest reported scores within the normal range for depression and stress. However, scores for anxiety were still in the moderate range.

At the completion of his post-residential support program, the guest had continued to develop healthy coping strategies and enact positive life changes that lead him to report normal ranges for depression, anxiety and stress eight months on.

The guest said:

This whole experience has been wonderful, and I could not be more thankful for my outcome. The team is beautiful, and they do their job very well.

This guest arrived for his program at The Banyans with normal levels of stress and anxiety, and moderate depression. The main concern for this guest was to seek recovery from unhealthy alcohol misuse. The guest benefitted largely from the one-on-one approach to therapy, brainspotting therapy and cognitive behavioural therapy. The guest also reported great enjoyment in the physical exercise element of his program, including yoga.

At the completion of the residential phase, the guest was well within the normal range for depression, anxiety and stress.

After eight weeks, the guest showed some increase in their DASS-21 results, falling with the mild range for depression and the moderate range for anxiety. This is because the guest was adapting to new methods of coping learned at The Banyans, and was “learning to live a new life without the drink”. The guest displayed normal levels of stress.

My program seemed to be crafted, designed and implemented in a way that helped me progress, develop, learn and implement new strategies in my journey.

— Previous Guest

 

This guest arrived at The Banyans with extremely severe depression, anxiety and stress. With experiences in the Australian Defence Force, trauma therapy included EAGALA assisted-equine therapy, psychiatry, psychological therapies including brainspotting and EMDR.

At the completion of his program, the guest reported moderate scores for anxiety and stress. The guest was in the extremely severe range for depression, which can be attributed to medication changes taking effect.

However, three months after departing The Banyans residence, the guest maintained considerable improvements, scoring in the moderate range for depression, and normal range for stress and anxiety. Post-program support was extended to ensure thorough care and long-lasting support well beyond his residential program at The Banyans.

The guest commented:

There were days when I didn’t want to talk, and the team didn’t make me. [I am leaving with] my issues sorted out.

This guest entered the program with severe stress, and extremely severe depression and anxiety. With experiences from the Australian Defence Force, the guest benefitted greatly from EAGALA equine-assisted therapy, individual psychiatry and psychology sessions, consultations with Dr Christian Rowan (Addiction Medicine Specialist) and trauma-informed recovery techniques including brain-spotting and EMDR.

On the completion of her program, the guest showed outstanding results, being in the normal range for depression, anxiety and stress. She said,

 

I could not have asked for a better team of professionals. I was treated with dignity, respect and was provided so much support. I was always allowed to work on my issues at my own pace and I never felt rushed or pressured. I walked out with the tools I need to live a better life. Thank you!

This guest entered a residential program at The Banyans weighing 130 kilograms, and reported extremely severe scores for depression, stress and anxiety. The guest benefitted from a personally tailored program including training with an exercise physiologist, one-on-one nutrition consults and testing with a nutritionist, cooking classes with chefs, counselling with an eating disorder therapist, one-on-one sessions with a psychologist and psychiatrist, and contemporary therapies such as music therapy.

On completion of her residential phase, the guest reported normal scores for depression, anxiety and stress and weighed 110 kilograms. The guest continued therapy with local professionals in conjunction with her post-residential program at The Banyans. One year since departure, the guest weighs 70 kilograms, and is living a happy, healthy life.

The Banyans literally saved my life. They go above and beyond in every way.

— Previous Guest

Industry Research

The Banyans Health and Wellness is a medically-oriented recovery and rehabilitation program, and has developed from quality industry research and evidence-based practice. We have included a variety of links that support why the services offered at The Banyans Health and Wellness have shown considerable results in the treatment of substance misuse, dependency or addiction, depression and anxiety, grief and trauma, eating disorders and additional conditions.

 

Psychiatry, mental health and substance misuse

Patkar, A. and Li, T. (2010). Treatments for Alcohol Dependence: Rethinking the Role of Comorbidity and Clinical Subtypes. American Journal of Psychiatry, 167(6), pp.620-622

This brief analysis of two scientific reports recognises the co-occurrence of addiction and mental health conditions; particularly the relationship between alcohol misuse and depression. Writers note that pharmacotherapies for treatment of patients with both conditions has been unclear and under-researched. Results from one study showed that groups engaging in a medication assisted psychological treatment program (naltrexone, sertraline, or combination groups, alongside cognitive-behavioural therapy). “Overall, the percentage of patients who achieved abstinence in the combination group was twice that of the other groups. The median time to return to heavy drinking was three and one-half times longer with combination treatment than with other treatment conditions. Notably, secondary analyses showed a positive effect of the combination regimen on heavy drinking.” These results display significant beneficial impacts of treating both alcohol use and underlying mental health conditions on long-term recovery outcomes.

Exercise and Mental Health

Mikkelsen, K., Stojanovska, L., Polenakovic, M., Bosevski, M. and Apostolopoulos, V. (2017). Exercise and mental health. Maturitas, 106, pp. 48-56.

This review of more than 129 scientific studies reports the overwhelmingly positive influence of exercise on mental health, particularly those experiencing depression and anxiety. The report quotes benefits such as “physiological changes which result in an improvement in mood state, self-esteem and lower stress and anxiety levels. The physical effects of exercise include reduction of blood pressure, enhanced cardiovascular fitness, weight loss, and prevention of chronic diseases such as cancer, diabetes, hypertension, obesity, osteoporosis and cognitive conditions like Alzheimer’s.” The article explains some of the biological pathways that support the positive effect of exercise on mental health. However, the review suggests that there is not one mechanism responsible for the benefits of exercise, but rather a number of concurrent psychological and physiological changes across the body.

 

Exercise and substance dependency

Brown, R., Abrantes, A., Read, J., Marcus, B., Jakicic, J., Strong, D., Oakley, J., Ramsey, S., Kahler, C., Stuart, G., Dubreuil, M. and Gordon, A. (2010). A pilot study of aerobic exercise as an adjunctive treatment for drug dependence. Mental Health and Physical Activity, 3(1), pp.27-34.

Researchers looked into the effect of an exercise training program on the percent of days absent from alcohol and substance use in 16 drug-dependant patients. The study reports that there was a significant increase in the percent of days absent from alcohol consumption, particularly during the active exercise treatment period. Exercise showed to have a positive correlation with the percent of days absent from both alcohol and drug use, although the number of days varied between the two groups. Other results also showed improvements in cardiorespiratory fitness, and positive feedback from participants on the benefits of exercise on their recovery.

The role of nutrition in aiding recovery of drug and alcohol dependency

Jeynes, K. and Gibson, E. (2017). The importance of nutrition in aiding recovery from substance use disorders: A review. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 179, pp.229-239.

The systematic review of academic literature by Jeynes and Gibson (2017) reflects an overwhelming correlation between drug and alcohol misuse and nutritional imbalance. They state that, “the literature overwhelmingly finds that subjects with alcohol use disorder and drug use disorder typically suffer from nutrient deficiencies. These nutrient deficiencies may be complicit in the alcoholic myopathy, osteopenia and osteoporosis, and mood disorders including anxiety and depression.” Moreover, the article explains effects of alcohol and drug misuse or dependency on nutritional uptake, cravings, hormones, and digestion.

 

Correlation between mental health and nutrition

Kaner, G., Soylu, M., Yüksel, N., Inanç, N., Ongan, D. and Başmısırlı, E. (2015). Evaluation of Nutritional Status of Patients with Depression. BioMed Research International, 2015, pp.1-9.

A 2015 study reported comprehensive findings on the differences in body weight, waist circumference, hip circumference, and a variety of blood nutrient levels for a control and depressive group. Results showed that body measurements were higher in those experiencing mental health challenges, however nutrients were significantly lower (particularly thiamin, riboflavin, vitamin B6, folate, and Na, K, Mg, Ca, P, Fe, and Zn). All of these vitamins play critical roles in neurotransmitter efficiency, brain function and energy production—three areas associated with the regulation of depressive symptoms. The study also reported that those experiencing mental health concerns such as depression were also eating less nutrient foods, suggesting that their lifestyle was playing a contributing factor to their ill-health, and should be addressed in rehabilitation programs.

Equine Assisted Psychotherapy

Buck, P., Bean, N. and De Marco, K. (2017). Equine-Assisted Psychotherapy: An Emerging Trauma-Informed Intervention. Advances in Social Work, 18(1), p.387.

This article is a thorough analysis of the EAGALA model of Equine Assisted Therapy (EAP), reflecting and critiquing the modality from a variety of perspectives. The evidence of therapeutic outcomes of EAP is limited due to few studies available. However, the results that have been published are very promising and worthy of consideration. The researchers in this article explain the use of metaphor, presence and ground based therapy to assist patients who traditionally struggle with traditional ground based therapies. The EAGALA model of Equine Therapy supports client-lead therapy sessions and self-distancing, which has shown to support victims of trauma through processing and acceptance.

Music Therapy and mental health

Lee, J. and Thyer, B. (2013). Does Music Therapy Improve Mental Health in Adults? A review. Journal of Human Behavior in the Social Environment, 23(5), pp.591-603

This review of empirical research regarding music therapy reflects upon different methods and approaches to music therapy and its impact on mental health recovery. Researchers suggest that contemporary and alternative therapies, such as music therapy, are particularly effective with patients who find traditional approaches difficult to engage in. The review reports results from nine studies displaying positive effects of music therapy on depressive symptoms, often shown through decreasing scores on clinical surveys and positive verbal feedback. Results suggest that music therapy is a beneficial treatment modality when it is delivered in isolation. It is also particularly beneficial delivered alongside traditional treatment approaches (such as cognitive behaviour therapy).

Art therapy and mental health recovery

Van Lith, T. (2016). Art therapy in mental health: A systematic review of approaches and practices. The Arts in Psychotherapy, 47, pp.9-22.

Art therapy has a variety of delivery methods, and has been shown to be effective in treating mental health conditions—particularly depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, schizophrenia and border-line personality disorder. The review identified eight common therapeutic factors that emerged from art therapy: self-exploration, self-expression, understanding and explanation, integration, symbolic thinking, creativity and sensory stimulation. The review reports that each of these areas are particularly beneficial in engaging patients who struggle to engage in their own thoughts, and thus, art therapy is an excellent partner to traditional talking or cognitive behaviour treatment methods.

The role of mindfulness in reducing emotional stress

Fogarty, F., Lu, L., Sollers, J., Krivoschekov, S., Booth, R. and Consedine, N. (2013). Why It Pays to be Mindful: Trait Mindfulness Predicts Physiological Recovery from Emotional Stress and Greater Differentiation among Negative Emotions. Mindfulness, 6(2), pp.175-185.

There has been significant research into the theory of mindfulness and meditation and its positive benefits on a person’s emotional health and wellness, regardless of the presence of mental illness. This study reports experimental evidence of the effects of mindfulness and meditation exercises after exposure to a brief stressful experience. Effects were measured in regard to heart rate, cardiovascular fitness, positive and negative affect and mindfulness skills. The results show more positive responses to stress for participants who regularly engaged in mindfulness activities. This was particularly evident in male participants, who showed a greater difference in negative emotional affect following mindfulness behaviours.

Correlation between poor sleep and substance use disorders

Hasler, B., Smith, L., Cousins, J. and Bootzin, R. (2012). Circadian rhythms, sleep and substance abuse. Sleep Medicine Reviews, 16(1), pp. 67-81.

This paper in the Sleep Medicine Review (2012) analysed the existing research on sleep and substance abuse. The paper suggests that the negative relationship between sleep and substance use is bidirectional—where substance use may directly cause sleep disturbances, and difficulty sleeping may be a risk factor for relapse to substance use. The article outlines various substances all have significant impacts on a patient’s overall health, wellbeing, and recovery. The study reports that substance misuse has a substantial effect on circadian rhythm and sleep patterns, disrupting both frequency and quality of sleep.