Core Addiction and Mental Health Program

At Bellwood Health Services, we recognize that the treatment of drug/ alcohol addiction and mental health disorders is becoming increasingly complex. As a result, we’ve updated our clinical programming in an effort to best serve our patients.

The Core Program Is Now Seven Weeks Long

Bellwood’s Core Program is now seven weeks long (previously six weeks). Extending the length of stay was clinically indicated for the following reasons:

  • Research shows that longer treatment stays lead to improved outcomes in recovery.
  • We receive frequent requests for longer treatment programs or for program extensions.
  • We felt it important to add a transition component to our program which allows patients to go off-site for recovery-related activities.
  • The longer stay allows for more flexibility to customize length of stay.

The final week of the seven-week Core Program includes advanced Dialectical Behavioural Therapy (DBT) and relapse-prevention sessions that better prepare patients for their transition out of treatment. Patients will have more opportunities to fine-tune their aftercare plans by committing to post-treatment recovery activities and practicing their relapse-prevention strategies in non-treatment settings. The extended program will also offer support to patients on healthy use of apps and technology in recovery, including education about recovery-support apps for mobile devices, tips on managing risky or unhealthy contacts, and information on the benefits of using technology as part of a healthy lifestyle in recovery.

New Additions to the Core Program

We’re excited to announce new enhancements to our Core Addiction and Mental Health Program. The following additions to our established programming address the diverse needs of our patients and will help them achieve successful long-term recovery.

Stabilization and Commitment Phase

The first week of the Core Program is now a stabilization and commitment phase designed to help patients integrate into their treatment program. Patients go through seven days of programming dedicated to stabilizing medically, emotionally, and psychologically. This includes the following elements:

  • Each patient focuses on their reasons for seeking treatment and strengthens their commitment to the treatment process.
  • Therapeutic modalities include the following: Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), Dialectical Behavioural Therapy (DBT), Motivational Interviewing (MI), and Solution-Focused Brief Therapy (SFBT).
  • Patients interact and engage in group therapy with other patients of their cohort only, which helps provide safety and build group cohesion.
  • A small and dedicated clinical team provides treatment.

Evidence-Based Relapse-Prevention Skills

The Core Program now includes evidence-based sessions specifically focused on helping patients acquire the practical skills necessary to prevent relapse and successfully sustain long-term recovery. This includes the following elements:

  • Learning, developing, and practicing emotional regulation, distress tolerance, mindfulness, and interpersonal skills that support relapse prevention.
  • Three skills sessions per week ensure that patients learn skills, understand them, and practice their application.
  • Reinforcing patients’ mastery of practical skills through intensive Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and Dialectical Behavioural Therapy (DBT) sessions.

Specialized Therapy Groups

To increase patients’ feelings of comfort in the therapeutic setting, we’ve added specialized thematic and affinity-based therapy groups such as LGBTQ and interpersonal trauma. We also have addiction therapy groups specific to gender, gambling, female sex and love addiction (SLA), and for healthcare professionals (HCP). These are counsellor-guided open process groups.

New Therapeutic Modalities and Psychoeducation

The Core Program now offers new therapeutic modalities, including art therapy which provides the opportunity for non-talk-based therapy and giving some balance to the otherwise very cognitively intense program.

The Core Program also now offers patients new psychoeducation content specifically designed to help them better understand the connection between addiction and trauma.

Bellwood Continues to Incorporate 12 Step in Treatment Programs

Bellwood supports peer-led groups, such as 12 Step and SMART recovery. Patients in the Core Program attend a minimum of three self-help meetings per week and are strongly encouraged to continue attending these groups after completing their treatment programs. Bellwood hosts an Introduction to Fellowship session to help patients understand the benefits of 12 Step and SMART meetings for their recovery. Peer-led groups have many benefits, including promotion of self-responsibility, world-wide fellowship (particulary for AA and NA), a structured safe environment that has been shown to reduce the rate of relapse, and a community of people in various stages of recovery who can share their experiences in an anonymous setting.

Post-Treatment Planning Sessions

Starting in their second week of the Core Program, patients now participate in weekly sessions dedicated to post-treatment planning. One of the main goals of these sessions is to ensure that patients participate in aftercare, since aftercare is critical for successfully sustaining long-term recovery.

Each patient receives an aftercare planning workbook and creates a practical and realistic aftercare plan that draws on their individual strengths and resources. Each patient’s aftercare plan includes the following elements:

  • Identifying the aftercare groups that they will attend after completing treatment.
  • A list of recovery contacts that will form their personal support network.
  • A list of their most effective relapse-prevention strategies for use in the real world.
  • Upcoming physical and mental health appointments, and a regular schedule going forward.

At Bellwood, we realize that aftercare is critical for successful long-term addiction recovery. That’s why one year free aftercare is included in the price of our residential addiction treatment programs. We also provide the option of online aftercare through our Wagon Online Outpatient Clinic.

Call Us Now

If you would like to learn more about Bellwood’s Core Addiction and Mental Health Program, or if you would like to enrol, please call us at 1-800-387-6198. Our phone lines are open 24/7—so you can call us anytime.

Program Overview

Bellwood’s Core Addiction and Mental Health Program is a seven-week residential treatment program primarily for substance use disorders. The Core Program provides individualized care, medically supervised treatment, and is flexible enough to address a wide range of concurrent mental health disorders. The Core Program also provides support and resources for patients’ families. The Core Program is an inpatient program that is ideal for patients whose goals are detoxification (“detox”), stabilization, and long-term recovery. The program is appropriate for individuals aged 18 years and older.

Our Facility

Located in a nine-acre oasis of green space in the Leaside neighbourhood, in Toronto, we provide a safe and private environment that is conducive to helping patients focus on their addiction treatment and recovery. Our multidisciplinary team of highly trained clinicians and support staff specializes in treating addiction and related mental health disorders, and is dedicated to improving the quality of life of patients and their families. Our 24-hour nursing care also includes emergency medical personnel.

Bellwood uses evidence-based treatment models and is accredited by Accreditation Canada with Exemplary Standing. Bellwood has an endowed fellowship in Addiction Medicine through the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Toronto. Bellwood maintains several clinical partnerships across Toronto, including with CAMH for the treatment of trauma, and with Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre for the residential treatment of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).

Evidence-Based Treatments

Bellwood’s Core Addiction and Mental Health Program uses an evidence-based approach for treating alcohol and substance use disorders, as well as for treating concurrent mental health disorders such as depression, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). We use therapeutic modalities that help individuals develop more constructive thoughts and behaviours, including Motivational Enhancement Therapy (MET), Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), Dialectical Behavioural Therapy (DBT), and mindfulness. For patients who require detox, we use medication assisted treatment (MAT) to minimize their withdrawal symptoms and help them detox as safely, comfortably, and quickly as possible. Each patient’s treatment begins with an intensive onsite diagnostic assessment that includes medication evaluation and management.

Biopsychosocial Approach

Biological, psychological, and social factors all play a role in substance use disorders and must all be addressed to achieve successful long-term recovery. Bellwood’s Core Addiction and Mental Health Program is provided by a multidisciplinary team that is highly qualified and experienced in addiction medicine, addiction psychology, and social psychology. The Core Program team assesses each patient upon arrival at Bellwood, develops an individualized treatment plan, and ensures that all their needs are addressed throughout their treatment program. Treatment programs integrate individual, group, and family therapy including detox, medical stabilization, symptom management, psychoeducation, psychotherapy, teaching relapse-prevention skills, ongoing support, and additional relapse-prevention resources.

Medical Care

Each patient is assigned a personal physician who is available to them throughout their treatment program to address their physical health and medication needs. For patients who require detox, we use medication assisted treatment (MAT) to minimize their withdrawal symptoms and help them detox as safely, comfortably, and quickly as possible. Our nursing staff provide care 24 hours a day. Our psychiatrist is also available for consultation with patients, as needed.


Understanding how addiction works is crucial to understanding and managing one’s own addiction behaviours. Drawing upon the latest research, our counsellors and medical doctors provide daily education sessions. These sessions cover numerous topics including the following:

  • How addictive substances affect the body and the brain
  • The various factors that can cause addiction
  • Addiction’s interrelationship with trauma and other mental health disorders
  • Risk factors for relapse and prevention strategies


Increasing self-awareness and understanding of oneself is necessary for effective addiction treatment. Through psychotherapy, patients gain insight into the causes of their addiction, a better awareness of their habits and patterns that sustain it, and begin the practical process of planning their recovery. They do this through regular meetings with a primary counsellor, as well as in group therapy where they can connect with other patients who have similar struggles, stories, goals, and hopes.

Relapse-Prevention Skills

We draw upon evidence-based therapeutic modalities to teach patients the skills that they need for successful long-term recovery. We use elements of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), Dialectical Behavioural Therapy (DBT), mindfulness, and Solution-Focused Brief Therapy (SFBT) to teach patients how to identify and challenge problematic thought patterns and beliefs, change unhealthy behaviours, and manage intense emotions.

Self-Care and Exercise

Establishing self-care and wellness habits is an essential part of recovery. Addiction often seriously disrupts basic hygiene, sleeping patterns, regular exercise, and healthy eating. Patients work with our team of nutritionists, recreational therapists, occupational therapists, fitness instructors, yoga instructors, and acupuncturists to achieve mental and physical balance. Patients also have access to on-site massage therapy and chiropractic care.

Family Program

The support and understanding of patients’ families is essential for patients’ successful long-term recovery. The Core Program includes a family program to help patients’ families better support and understand their loved ones.

The three-day family program includes psychoeducation regarding addiction and substance use disorders. It also includes sessions that help families understand how their loved ones’ addiction has affected their whole family and how to support and reconnect with their loved ones in recovery. For more information, please visit our family program page.

Continuum of Care

While primary treatment is a critical first step to a better life, Bellwood works in close collaboration with referrers and community partners to provide tailored recovery management and aftercare planning to support patients’ successful long-term recovery.

Bellwood also provides a comprehensive continuum of care, from intensive outpatient services (IOP) to individual and group outpatient therapy offered by our Bellwood Outpatient Services.


At Bellwood, we realize that aftercare is critical for successful long-term addiction recovery. That’s why one year free aftercare is included in the price of our residential addiction treatment programs. We also provide the option of online aftercare through our Wagon Online Outpatient Clinic.

Call Us Now

If you would like to learn more about Bellwood’s Core Addiction and Mental Health Program, or if you would like to enrol, please call us at 1-800-387-6198. Our phone lines are open 24/7—so you can call us anytime.

OHIP Covered Services

Safety precautions against COVID-19

COVID-19 should not prevent someone from being able to receive life-saving addiction and mental health treatment. Rest assured that we are taking every step possible to protect our current patient population from contracting the infection.

Our facilities have policies and protocols in place to protect patients, including screening new patients, limiting visitors, and moving aftercare groups to online meetings.

Continue to our action plan to see what we are doing to protect our patients from COVID-19.