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Ocean Hills staff: Jan Ellis – nurturing & supporting people in sobriety

Staring down the barrel of alcoholism is a professional experience that doesn’t faze Jan Ellis these days, but it was a challenging part of her life experience on a personal level.

The Programme Facilitator at Ocean Hills hasn’t personally struggled with addiction but grew up with a mother who was an alcoholic, which made a huge impact on her life.

“It took a really long time to say, ‘My Mum’s an alcoholic’. It was always just ‘Mum drank too much again’.”

Living with a practicing alcoholic had her growing up walking on eggshells. “I’d learn to ID how the car was driving up the road, or if the door took a long time to open when she got home, and other little clues like that.”

Alcoholism also affected a couple of close friends of Jan’s, as well as a boyfriend. But though these experiences were disturbing, frustrating and deeply emotional, they ultimately led her into working with people suffering from addiction.

"I have seen the destruction of alcohol and drugs in loved ones' lives and I now am dedicated to providing a nurturing and supportive approach to allow our guests to navigate their recovery in the best way possible for them."

Hypnotherapy, neuro-linguistic therapy and rapid transformational therapy

Aside from her lived experience of being close to people with the disease of addiction, Jan is also highly qualified to be guiding guests at Ocean Hills seeking a life of sobriety. She holds qualifications and is certified in education, mental health and addictions, RTT (rapid transformational therapy), NLP (neuro-linguistic programming), hypnotherapy, solution-focused brief therapy and has experience in teaching and facilitating groups.

On weekday mornings she works with guests to facilitate the Ocean Hills programme. Based on gold-standard, clinically proven therapies and techniques to address addiction, the sessions cover mindfulness, the many aspects of a successful recovery, relapse prevention, self-care, explorations of personal strengths and communication.

“I work with them so they learn to identify their triggers and also work out where they need to put boundaries,” Jan says. “The programme is about reconnecting with themselves and working out who they really are.”

Coming to terms with and accepting the disease of addiction is also important. When guests check into Ocean Hills, they’re often defeated and don’t know where to begin to start getting well.

“Most of the time they’re full of guilt and shame – addiction takes you away from your morals and values. We teach them that self-forgiveness needs to happen before they can do anything else.”

Being part of a caring team that includes a registered nurse, an occupational therapist and peer support workers is important to Jan, who along with her colleagues, really cares about each and every guest’s recovery.

“Sometimes I find it hard to say goodbye,” she laughs. “I love all the learning moments on our guests' faces which reflect their new found hope for a life free of addictions and embracing sobriety."

If you want to find out more about Ocean Hills, call Elaine on 027 573 7744 for a confidential chat.

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