If you have started to look for a rehab facility, you may have realised just how tricky it can be to differentiate between private facilities. Don’t let yourself be overwhelmed by jargon – here are five big red flags to watch out for, and some other important factors to look for.


This article may be helpful if you are…
  • Researching your options for private rehabilitation and recovery;
  • Wanting to understand the important features of a private rehab facility;
  • Unsure about how to choose a private rehab program, and want to make sure you decide on a trusted rehab facility.


True or false? How to spot the wolves


Searching for a rehab program can be difficult, especially when there are so many options for support.

You want to make sure you get the most out of your money, time and emotional energy. You also want to know that you or your loved one will be safe and comfortable. There are also lots of other considerations like cost, location and availability.

There are some budget rehabs who do an incredible job, and in fact – The Banyans is a social enterprise that supports a charity recovery program. These types of programs are often honest and upfront with their service offerings, and are well suited to people who are not looking for a privately funded program.

However, there are many private rehabs who may appear to offer a premium rehab service but fail to deliver on their promise. People experience heartache and disappointment when they realise that they have not received the quality or care they were expecting. They have been tricked by a rehab wolf.


What do we mean by ‘a rehab wolf’?

There are plenty of rehab facilities that offer mainly peer support programs yet charge a premium price tag. Australia’s private rehab space is almost completely unregulated, which makes it difficult to navigate.

Unfortunately, some private rehab facilities portray that they offer a premium service, but fail to deliver. This can leave guests feeling short-changed. This false hope is snatched away when they realise the program is not what they were told. It’s heartbreaking for people.

Woman is disappointed by budget rehab
Avoid being disappointed by a budget rehab facility, and make sure you look for the five red flags.


A rehab wolf is a private rehab facility that cuts corners to reduce program costs, while promising elite care and service to potential guests. These programs often use group-therapy or peer-support approaches despite promising individual therapies. They fail to provide the personalised, one-on-one professional support required for long-lasting rehabilitation and recovery.

The truth is, rehab wolves end up being too good to be true. So how do you pick the best from the rest?

Knowing that not all private rehab facilities are equal, make sure you look for the five red flags.


The alternative: premium, private rehab facilities

Don’t rely on the program price alone to tell you if you’re looking at a trusted facility. A trusted private program will be able to provide you with the quality care and attention you deserve, and deliver their promise of a premium service.

A premium rehab facility is one that:

  • offers comprehensive, onsite support from treating professionals;
  • gives guests the privacy and safety of entirely one-on-one therapeutic sessions;
  • has a team of completely degree-qualified, registered professionals and medically trained Doctors;
  • provides a comprehensive treatment approach, incorporating medical, psychological, physical and nutritional therapeutic modalities;
  • includes a therapeutically intense program, offering a significant number of treatment sessions per day.


A trusted private centre will be able to provide you with thorough support at all stages of your journey, from your enquiry to long after your program is complete. A premium private program will leave you feeling truly seen, heard, valued and respected.




Don’t waste your time, money or energy: choose a trusted private rehab

Seeking help takes courage. Deciding to attend a rehab program is an incredibly brave step, and it is very normal to feel afraid, weak and overwhelmed at the beginning of your journey towards better health and wellness.

Man is joyous to return to life after choosing a premium rehab
A premium rehab will help you return to life feeling respected, healthy and expectant for your positive future.


This is one reason why it is critically important that you choose a rehab program that can be trusted to care for you in the best way possible. Your valuable time, money and emotional energy is too precious to be wasted on a rehab wolf that will leave you feeling vulnerable, exposed and uncared for.

Minimise the emotional strain of the rehab process by ensuring that you put your trust in a legitimate, reputable program that will deliver what you need for long-lasting recovery.




Things to watch out for: how to spot a rehab wolf

There are lots of different types of rehab programs, and many different terms used to describe them. Here are some important things to watch for when deciding whether you are looking at a trusted rehab program, or a rehab wolf.


Avoid: Any program that is not upfront about the inclusion of a peer support model

Have you ever spoken to two different friends about the same situation, and been given two options as to how to proceed? Although your friends may do their best to help you, you are often left just as confused as when you started!

A peer support model maximises on this concept, suggesting that talking to others can facilitate improved problem solving and exposure to new coping strategies. Using directed group therapy, peer-to-peer conversations and unfacilitated small group discussions, a peer support model aims to let guests support each other as they problem solve their challenges. This can be useful for charity services, but they are open and upfront about this.

A rehab wolf may rely largely on group-therapy to deliver their therapeutic hours, despite leading you to believe that you will receive individual attention.


A rehab wolf may count group-therapy in their number of therapeutic hours, despite leading you to believe that you will receive individual attention.


Other words to look out for: group-therapy, peer bridger model, social support, peer participation, lived experience mentor or lived experience partner.


A person sharing at group therapy in a budget rehab
Group therapy can be overwhelming for some people, who may not want to be vulnerable with strangers.


Look for: exclusively one-on-one, private therapy

Private, one-on-one therapy is the most effective method of individual support and care and achieves more in less time away. A trusted, private rehab facility will offer entirely private therapies, with no group therapy or peer-support at any stage in your program.

The many benefits of entirely private therapy include:

Ensured confidentiality

We often care what others think about us. In an entirely private therapy model, you do not need to worry about the risk of other people judging your experiences or decisions. You have the space to be completely honest in a non-judgmental therapy environment.

In a truly premium private program like The Banyans, you feel safe to be honest, vulnerable and protected in therapy, with your experiences divulged only to your therapist and never to a group of strangers.


The Banyans Difference

Benefits of a private rehab program at The Banyans



Set your own pace

Do not be rushed by others in the group. You will receive your therapist’s complete attention, meaning you will not be rushed through the session but can take the time to work at your own speed.


Delve deeper into problems

In a group, it is common for one or a few participants to dominate the session, while others sit back and observe. Some participants may not receive any opportunity to share their personal challenges with a therapist, as the therapist’s attention is consumed by keeping the group on track.


A trusted one-on-one private program will give you the benefit of your therapist’s undivided attention.


With exclusively private therapy, you get more from each treatment session as you and your therapist work together to overcome your challenges. You are able to talk about what you want to talk about, and delve much deeper into your personal situations and needs.

A truly premium private program like The Banyans will offer completely individual, one on one therapy. This spans from psychology and counselling to personal training.


Man and woman box in a gym
A truly premium program like The Banyans will offer completely individual, one on one therapy. This spans from psychology and counselling to personal training.


Avoid: a base program with unclear inclusions

Some rehab wolf programs are able to appear cheaper than trusted premium programs due to misleading tiered pricing schemes or unclear add-ons. While advertising a diverse program, a rehab wolf will fail to mention that this is additional to the upfront cost.

A trusted, reputable rehab program will be transparent, clear and honest in their program price estimate.

Why this is dangerous: It can be a shock to receive a large additional invoice at the end of your rehabilitation program. In some cases, the added expenses may create significant financial strain and make it more difficult to maintain recovery once you are at home.

Budget rehabs can give misleading quotes, leaving you with an unexpected bill.
Make sure you are not deceived by budget rehab programs, who catch people out with hidden costs and additional add-on’s.


Things to watch for: Do not get caught out by programs that advertise “base programs” or per-day prices. Watch for unclear or misleading quotes that do not include GST.


Look for: an all-inclusive, upfront program quote (that includes GST)

An ethical private program will be able to provide you with a thorough program agreement with clear inclusions and an upfront cost. A truly financially ethical rehab will be clear in how much tax is included, credit card surcharges and the dates you must complete your payment by.

A premium rehab facility may give you a price range in your initial enquiry, or offer optional add-ons. But it should always be transparent that these are addition before you sign your agreement and arrive at the facility.


The Banyans Difference

Benefits of a private rehab program at The Banyans



Things to watch for: Watch for phrases like “tiered pricing”, “base program”, or facilities that give a per day price. Be especially cautious if there is not an option to pay upfront. Make sure you ask for a comprehensive list of inclusions before you pay any money to a rehab facility.


Avoid: non-degree qualified and unregistered treating professionals

In Australia, the term “psychologist” is a protected title and reserved for registered professionals who have successfully completed a rigorous process of study, clinical placement and ongoing professional development. Unfortunately, this is not the same for some other titles, such as psychotherapist or psychoanalyst. Believe it or not, in Australia anyone can refer to themselves by that title, with no qualifications at all.

Why this is dangerous: In the same way that you wouldn’t trust a plumber to treat your broken leg, or trust an unqualified psychotherapist to look after your mental health, it’s the same for private rehab treatment. Wolf rehab centres may rely on unqualified professionals to deliver their program, or utilise “jack of all trades” therapists who are not specialised in rehab and recovery. However, these individuals will not be experienced in helping you unpack the complexities of your experience, and may even rely on unresearched methods of treatment.


Degree qualified therapist at a premium rehab centre
At The Banyans, every therapist is degree qualified and registered with their relevant professional body.


At The Banyans, every therapist is degree qualified and registered with their relevant professional body.

In addition, they may provide sub-par quality services or deliver therapy in an ineffective or even harmful way. This means you will not get the most out of your time, money or emotional energy that you invest into treatment and rehabilitation.

Unqualified therapists may do more harm than good, leaving you with more challenges than when you began.

In a worst case scenario, unqualified treating professionals may do more harm than good, leaving you feeling weaker and with more challenges than when you started.

Words to note: If a rehab facility refers to its therapists as psychotherapists, psychoanalysts or life coaches, they may not be appropriately qualified and registered with the relevant professional body. Make sure you always ask to see the facilities list of practitioners, including their relevant qualifications.




Look for: programs that encourage you to be involved

When looking for a private rehab program, make sure there are opportunities for you or your loved one to express preferences and personalize treatment. This means that there are some decisions that you can have control over, such as when they can use a gym, share ideas about how they would like to adjust treatment goals, or what they can do for recreation.

Why this is important: When an individual is in a rehab program, they may feel like they have little control over many aspects of their day to day activities. For example, they may have to share a room or help prepare the meals for other guests, or have no input into what they want to eat.


Premium programs often allow guests to have personal agency.
A truly premium program will give guests opportunities for personal agency. This may look like use of the facilities, such as the gym or swimming pool whenever guests would like.


A truly premium program will give guests opportunities for feedback and personalizing their program. This may look like changes to therapies, or free use of the facilities, such as the gym or swimming pool in their free time.

By incorporating various opportunities for personal preference and decision making, these small decisions help the guest feel empowered and capable to participate in their own goal setting.

This also helps guests return to every day life more smoothly – they have practiced making positive choices, and can continue to do this more easily when their program is complete.


Avoid: programs that do not facilitate medical detox at a private hospital

If there is one area to prioritise when looking for a premium facility, it is safety. A rehab wolf facility may cut corners to reduce program costs. This will be most obvious in the lack of onsite doctors, nurses, psychiatrist, and the absence of a safe, medically assisted detox if necessary.

This short video explains why medically assisted detox is a crucial part of safe recovery from addiction and dependency.



Why it is important: According to Dr Christian Rowan, the Medical Director at The Banyans Health and Wellness, suddenly going cold turkey after regular substance misuse can be very uncomfortable. He also says that withdrawal symptoms can be fatal if not supervised by a suitably qualified medical professional.




To learn more about the harmful effects of withdrawal without medically assisted detox, click here to read a short article from Dr Christian Rowan, Addiction Medicine Specialist.

Questions to ask when looking for a trusted private program: If necessary, can you provide me with a medically assisted detox in a private hospital? How often will I receive medical attention throughout my stay?

  • Make sure to ask whether there are onsite registered nurses, Doctors, Psychiatrists.
  • Ascertain whether the team has suitable experience in the field of addiction, dependency and mental health.
  • Ensure that you have access to doctors and other health professionals at all times, if required.



The Banyans Health and Wellness has six medical doctors on our team, two onsite psychiatrists and five onsite nurses?



Look for: programs with traditional and ancillary research-based approaches to therapy

There is no “one size fits all” approach to rehab and recovery. Hence, a trusted private program will tailor a program to your personal needs and experiences, while offering you a diverse number of research based treatment modalities.

Rehab wolves may rely only on talking therapies, where you meet with someone to work through your issues. Alternatively, a program will have the resources to offer alternative treatment options from degree-qualified practitioners. These alternative methods of therapy may include:

  • Emerging psychological techniques like Brainspotting therapy;
  • EAGALA Equine Assisted Therapy;
  • Art Therapy;
  • Neurologic Music Therapy;
  • Exercise Physiology, personal training and martial arts; and
  • Mindfulness activities, like forest bathing and guided journaling.

Rehab wolf programs usually don’t provide the diverse array of therapeutic inclusions, delivered by registered professionals, on offer by truly premium rehab facilities.

Man talks to horse in equine therapy at premium rehab
Budget programs will not be able to provide the diverse array of therapeutic inclusions on offer by truly premium rehab facilities.


Why this is important: For many people, the difficulties they have experienced may be too confronting to talk about in the early stages of a rehab program. By providing methods of treatment that rely on other activities for progressing healing – such as the senses in Brainspotting, or animal mirroring in Equine Assisted Therapy – the guest has an opportunity to begin processing (and begin overcoming) their difficulties without relying on their words.

Red flags to look for: Rehab wolves will provide little information about the types of treatment offered at the facility. They may describe “psychology sessions”, with no further elaboration. Be wary of programs that do not offer any additional methods of treatment, or take a “one size fits all” approach to rehab and recovery.


Art therapy may be an inclusion offered by a premium rehab
Expressive therapies like art therapy or neurologic music therapy may be offered by premium rehab facilities.


Avoid: any program that is vague with the information provided or cannot answer specific questions

This is one of the easiest ways to spot a rehab wolf: they simply will not answer your questions sufficiently. The tell-tale signs of a false premium rehab are:

  • The website may be vague or “airy-fairy”;
  • Intake staff may overwhelm you with jargon, or ask you very few questions about your personal situation;
  • The facility cannot provide specific information about your program inclusions;
  • They will avoid giving you an estimate of cost or length of stay; and
  • You will not be able to see the team list, or they will utilise “consulting” professionals.

It can be challenging to know what questions to ask, so we have created a one-page downloadable PDF checklist to help you ask the questions that matter the most. You can download it from the resources page, or click the button below.




Discover a trusted premium rehab facility: The Banyans Health and Wellness

Don’t get caught out by a rehab wolf. You are far too valuable to be taken advantage of, especially when your health and wellbeing is at stake. You deserve the safety, respect and dignity that is on offer at Australia’s trusted private rehab facility: The Banyans Health and Wellness.


Located in the serene surrounds of Brisbane’s Northern suburbs, you can rest easy knowing that you are experiencing the highest quality of research-based treatment. With the option for medically supported detox at a private hospital, The Banyans team will partner with you from your very first call and beyond.

Enjoy a private suite, entirely one-on-one individual therapy sessions and a personalized program in the luxury Banyans residence. Our upfront quotes make sure you know exactly what you are receiving as part of your personally tailored program, including up to 12 months of post-residential support.


The residence at The Banyans, a truly premium rehab facility.
Receive the quality care and respect on offer at The Banyans, a truly premium rehab facility.


Your new life is waiting for you.

Don’t get caught out by a rehab wolf. Choose Australia’s best private rehab facility. Contact The Banyans today to start your journey to a new life of health and wellbeing.


Access the care you need and call The Banyans today.