SHALOM House founder Peter Lyndon-James was in Wanneroo on Saturday, February 9 to deliver a seminar based on his “tough love” beliefs.
The Christian faith-based rehabilitation centre, which featured in the Australian Story episode Breaking Good in 2017, is not accredited with any health body such as the Australian Council of Healthcare Standards.
The private unregulated centre also requires all the men entering its rehabilitation program to sign an enduring power of attorney giving the centre control of their finances.
Instead Mr Lyndon-James, who is also the charity’s chief executive officer, says he operates from his personal experience as a former meth addict and dealer that saw him live in a world of addiction for more than 20 years before he eventually broke free.
The Peter Lyndon-James – Seminars Facebook page says the Tough Love Seminar is designed to equip people and their families with ways in which they can successfully handle a person not only on drugs but all forms of addiction and life controlling issues, helping them learn what to do and how to handle the challenge ahead.
One of Mr Lyndon-James’ websites says the seminars bring home many hard truths and open the eyes of families, offering unparalleled and inspiring insight into addiction and the power of hope and real, lasting change.
“Peter’s seminars are a perfect avenue for creating change in families, the workplace or corporate culture – inspiring the values of honesty, integrity and transparency and offering real-world tools to help beat addiction,’’ the website said.
“Having overcome his own battle with drugs, crime and addiction, Peter has gone on to develop a ‘tough love’ based approach to individuals and families that has resulted in the most successful rehab clinic in Australia – Shalom House.’’
His “tough love’’approach includes cold turkey detox for drug addicts, which according to information Mr Lyndon-James provided to the State Administrative Tribunal (SAT) in March last year, happened onsite without the aid of any medications and without the attendance of a medical practitioner or psychiatrist (unless it coincided with weekly visits of a doctor and psychiatrist).
Mr Lyndon-James told SAT (apart from participants experiencing severe withdrawal symptoms, which was determined by a medical practitioner during the start of the program) participants detoxed with the informal and untrained support provided by fellow participants in the program without any special facility on-site and that the participants recovered within the household of one of the residential units.
Dr Nicole Lee from 360Edge said she did not know of any mainstream publicly funded treatments that operated with a boot camp approach.
“We know that this can backfire and a structured but compassionate approach is more effective for more people,’’ she said.
After Breaking Good aired on the ABC Dr Lee said personal experience was an important part of understanding the effects and outcomes of treatment but treatment providers needed to document basic outcomes, which accredited publicly funded service providers had to document every three months.
She was concerned there was no data to show what the relapse rates were from the Shalom House program.
Dr Lee is a practicing psychologist and has worked in the alcohol and drug and mental health fields for more than 25 years.
Her main areas of expertise are in methamphetamine policy and practice, alcohol and other drug dependence and co-occurring mental health and substance use.
A Shalom House WA Facebook post on Sunday said it had been a full house at the Wanneroo Tavern, which had donated use of the function room.
“There were a lot of families there giving up their Saturday afternoon to hear about how they can help their loved one or someone they know get to the point where they will do whatever it takes to change their life,’’ the post said.
“A lot of families think they are doing the right thing with the way they are dealing with the person on drugs, medications or substances, but in fact they are doing it wrong.
“It’s great to know that the families that left today have a better understanding of how to deal with the situation that they are in.
“We had five of the Shalom fellas there also to help out and share their journeys which gave a lot of the families hope.
“Families think to themselves, and tell each other, ‘if these guys can change then my son, daughter, husband, etc. can also change’.’’
Mr Lyndon-James was contacted for comment.