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The Acorn Programme awarded Specialist Provider of the Year 2014

27th October 2014

The Acorn Programme at The Retreat York has become the latest recipient of the Independent Healthcare Apex Specialist Provider of the Year award. Now in its 4th year the award celebrates best practice in specialist and secure practice across the country.

The Acorn Programme is an open, residential specialist service for women. The programme uses intensive psychological therapies for women who engage in self-defeating behaviours including self harm and disordered eating to cope with emotions and with relationships. Many have experienced trauma or abuse.

The unit is one of only five units in the country operating as a full Therapeutic Community, in which it is part of the treatment for patients to share their daily lives with others, and to take responsibility for sharing decisions about how to live together.

“Acorn is indeed very special and yet its specialness is very simple; the healing power of community and friendship. Recent research suggests Therapeutic Communities are effective due to a culture of belonging; Attachment is where it's at.” Said Mark McFetridge consultant clinical psychologist for the Acorn Programme who received the award on behalf of the staff and patients. “This award will give our patients another reason to be proud to be a part of the Acorn therapeutic community."

Current patients at The Retreat helped to write the nomination which played a large part in getting the Acorn Programme shortlisted for the award. They had the following to say about the programme.

“Acorn is a Therapeutic Community that gives women a chance to rebuild their lives through an intensive group based therapy programme. It instils hope and confidence in individuals that they can achieve whatever they want and that a positive future is attainable through hard work. Community members and staff work collaboratively with compassion, understanding, boundaries and respect to ensure everyone gets what they deserve - Recovery.

As a patient 11 months into the 12 month programme, I have witnessed the intense positive impact that this unique place has on the lives of the women who come. Coming up to leaving I have made changes once unimaginable. It would be easy to say that miracles happen here on Acorn but they don’t just happen. Everyone that is part of Acorn puts their all into the common goal of “building a life worth living”. I could easily say that being part of Acorn that I am a totally different person but I am not. I am the person I was always meant to be before my life was so heavily impacted and destroyed by the difficulties I faced.”