MISSION

“…helping put lives back together again.”


VISION

A healthy community—one made up of individuals and families of every background, empowered to live, work and enjoy life to the fullest, with esteem for themselves and respect for others.


VALUES

  • Diversity—every sort of person is welcome
  • Inclusivity—everyone who comes is encouraged to participate in meaningful ways
  • Equity—everyone is treated fairly
  • Professionalism—everyone is treated objectively and with respect
  • Accountability—confidentiality is respected, decisions are responsible and transparent
  • Collaboration—teamwork is valued by staff and volunteers, as are partnerships with other community organizations
  • Accessibility—individuals and groups facing systemic barriers to health care are especially welcome
  • Innovation—we are creative when it comes to meeting client and community needs in a cost efficient manner
  • Service excellence—programs and services are effective

OBJECTIVES

  • To operate a centre in and from which a continuum of prevention and recovery services is provided to all who suffer from addictions and the threat of them
  • To enhance community development by increasing general knowledge about the phenomenon of addiction and related mental health issues
  • To increase the life and job skills of our clients, in order for them to become and/or remain healthy and productive members of the community.

ORGANIZING PRINCIPLES

  • Abstinence-based: Predicated on the belief that freedom from any addiction requires total avoidance of all of the so-called triggers to such behaviour, which means all mood-altering drugs are prohibited unless prescribed by a physician.
  • Client-centred: we are focused on restoring the individual’s potential as a valued member of a fully-functional family and a contributor to the community-at-large. In light of this commitment, we acknowledge that all of our clients are individuals with their own mix of strengths, weaknesses, needs, and circumstances—all of which are to be considered in developing and executing individualized treatment plans.
  • Holistic: our programs are tailored to meet the emerging needs of client groups.
  • In this regard the Vitanova model, which began as a one-on-one counseling service, has evolved into a comprehensive program which begins with in-depth assessment, moves through treatment and rehabilitation—including life and job skills training—and ends with on-going follow-up contact to ensure sustained recovery.
  • Culturally-sensitive: based on the belief that clients from third-language communities (i.e., non-Anglophone and non-Francophone) require a specialized form of care, one which not only takes into account their different ethnocultural backgrounds, but requires the active participation and support of family and/or community members. To this end, Vitanova offers its services in a variety of non-official languages.
  • Cost-effective: the core of our program is day-treatment, rather than residential treatment, although shelter is available to those who need it.
  • Free: Vitanova has been a registered Canadian charity (Reg. no. 124239054RR0001) since 1989. As such, we charge no fees, being dependent on government subsidy for our day-treatment program and fundraising and donations for all else. While charging a fee might attract those clients who are able to afford treatment, it would preclude our serving the vast majority who cannot. At the same time, it is one way to assure that all clients are given the same level of service. We appreciate that some clients would be  sensitive to any sign of the favouritism that paying clients might feel they are entitled to.


Definition of Addiction Recovery

  • We serve individuals, not addicts in general. The Vitanova Foundation describes itself as a client-centred agency, “…focused on restoring the individual’s potential as a valued member of a fully-functional family and a contributor to the community-at-large”. In light of this commitment, we acknowledge that all of our clients are individuals with their own mix of strengths, weaknesses, needs, and circumstances—all of which are to be considered in developing and executing an individualized treatment plan.
  • These individuals lack autonomy. Prior to their arrival at Vitanova, our clients do share certain behavioural characteristics: they are substance users/abusers/addicts who by definition have surrendered control over their own lives, to one degree or another. As drug users they also commonly engage in illegal and/or criminal behaviour. Given the nature of our clients, we cannot expect from them self-directed observance of the rules, as such individuals do not require the services we offer. In short, we are committed to serve the clients we have, not the one we might have.
  • Recovery means growth in autonomy. The recovery of personal autonomy (that is, the ability of individuals to exercise effective control over their own lives) initially requires the imposition of order in the form of external rules and regulations, until such time as the client can assume effective control over their own existence and “live by the rules”without external direction. This transition defines recovery.
  • Relapse is a stage in recovery. Understandably, this process is marked by a tension between those who impose order and those upon whom such order is imposed. Clients’ failures to observe rules and regulations (including relapses) are therefore to be expected from time to time, and indeed, their absence may be indicative of a client “biding his time” until discharge and intentional relapse.
  • Relapse is an opportunity for enhanced recovery. If occasional failures to observe rules (up to and including relapse) are part of the recovery process, the response to these failures must be carefully measured, as “automatic consequences” may fail to take appropriate account of individual progress made to date in terms of personal growth and the potential for enhanced recovery once a “lesson is learned”.
  • Positive lessons promote recovery. Such lessons must be educative, rather than punitive. Guilt, shame, and fear of consequences may be useful from time to time in controlling sociopathic tendencies in certain clients, but they are not universally appropriate tools for building a sense of responsible autonomy in individuals.

How We Work & Why It Works

For an in-depth understanding of our approach, click on How We Work and Why It Works, written by Vitanova’s founder and long-time executive director, Dr. Franca Damiani Carella.