Perception of the built environment and its impact on the process of rehabilitation from addiction : a proposed life-recovery facility for Durban, South Africa.
Rouche, Samantha Anna Suzanne.
MetadataShow full item record
In an increasingly urbanized modern context, physically and mentally damaging addictive behaviours are endangering the emotional and moral stability of society. Cognitive Behavioural therapies and operant conditioning have long been used to modify destructive and anti-social behaviours, such as those symptomatic of addiction; and while many studies have illustrated the impact of these therapies on those suffering psychological ills, few have linked one's perception of the built environment with the potential for improving, directly, the treatment of rehabilitation from addiction. Thus the primary purpose of this study, is to explore the ways in which one perceives the built environment and how this impacts one's own perception of self; and subsequently how this may be utilized to improve the effectiveness of the current methods of addiction treatment. Therefore an understanding of the duality of addiction and of the nature of the addict is required to ensure a realistic and functional approach. To this end, personal interviews with those in recovery for a minimum of two years and the professionals - both recovering addicts and non-addicts alike - who treat them, was crucial to providing a balanced and definitive account of the nature of those affected; the nature and origins of the disease and the preferred treatment therapies most commonly applied in South Africa today. This qualitative data was supplemented by a closed-ended quantitative study, describing the profile of the addict which was subsequently fleshed out in a qualitative focus group. The results reveal the current broad cultural and socio-economic base of recovering addicts in Durban and the underlying psychological distress at the heart of the disease. As well as describing a powerful and well connected fellowship, the study has demonstrated an incredible sense of spiritual order and humility as central to sustained recovery and a positive perception of self. The built environment has shown to improve the effectiveness of the available treatment methods, in enhancing one's perceived sense of self by providing a meaningful cultural and personal connection to the users of it. Physiologically the built environment directly impacts addiction treatment in affording opportunities for unconscious and challenging physical and mental stimulation in an enriched and meaningful environment. Findings describe the ways in which the built environment may be utilized to encourage a positive self-image and directly impact the process of rehabilitation from addiction, through both the physiological and psychological impact of one's perception of self within it.