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Agia Skepi oil painting

Frequent questions

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Who does Agia Skepi help? What are the criteria for admission to the community?

Agia Skepi's program is for people with a long-term problem of substance abuse and dependence, regardless of ethnicity, gender, pregnancy status or gender identity. Those interested must have completed physical detoxification and have sufficient knowledge of Greek (in which the program is conducted) for the treatment to be effective.

Do you offer physical detox? How is this possible?

No.  Those interested must have completed a physical detox before joining the program.  There are two options:

In Anosis, Limassol, the only physical detoxification center in the state.

At home, where he gradually reduces the use until complete abstinence, and with or without the help of a psychiatrist, he treats the withdrawal symptoms.  During this process, he can be supported by the mobilization program of the counseling station of Agia Skepi, which lasts 2-3 weeks.

What should I do if I suspect that someone I know is using substances?

Contact the Counseling Station in Nicosia at 70087222.  You will be informed about the use and symptoms of substances, how to approach the person and how you can put them in contact with the Station.

How long does the stay in the closed part of the program last?

Nine to twelve months, but it depends on the individual. The program aims to return functional individuals to society, with the least chance of recidivism. During their stay in the community, members go through 3 stages (C, B, and A).  Each stage has specific goals and progression between stages is subject to their achievement.

Do community members ever go off-site?

In the first phase of the program (approximately 4 months), community members have no contact with the outside world - except for supervised excursions or outdoor recreational activities within the program.

During the second phase (in about 6 months) the planned exits begin with a hierarchically superior meeting.

In the third phase members have extensive contacts with the outside, assume responsible roles in outings outside the community, manage money, and run errands such as shopping for the community.

Are members allowed to leave the program or are they being held back?

People who come to Agia Skepi for help are free to leave at any time.  Also, forced treatment of this type is not effective.

Do people during their stay in Agia Skepi have a desire to use?

Immediately after physical detox a person may think about using up to 70 times a day. For this reason, during the program the members of the community are constantly busy.  Over time the desire diminishes.

What is the daily schedule?

Members have 24-hour supervision and follow a structured daily schedule. A typical working day includes:

  • Group therapy

  • Work (kitchen, bakery, farm, packing house, cleaning)

  • Recreation (theatre, knitting, gym, futsal, music)

  • Relaxation

Is there use of violence in Agia Skepi?

No. All forms of violence (physical, emotional, sexual) are expressly prohibited and result in the immediate termination of the abuser's cooperation with the program.

What is the relationship between Agia Skepi and the church?

The "Agia Skepi" Healing Community was founded by the Metropolitan of Limassol, Mr. Athanasios, then Abbot of the Mahaira Monastery, and is located on an area of land granted by the Monastery.  Once a week, those who wish can go to church or chat with a priest who visits the community. The menu (designed by a nutritionist) follows the orthodox fasting schedule.  Participation in religious activities is optional.

Is the staff made up of priests? What qualifications do the treatment staff have?

Specialized staff, psychologists and social workers, as well as graduates of the program, are employed for the operation of the therapeutic program and for other tasks in the community.

How does Agia Skepi differ from other treatment centers?

It is the only residential program that implements the international model of therapeutic communities in Cyprus, and the only program in Cyprus that is approved by the European Monitoring Center for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA).

Why are the men's and women's programs separate?

Men's and women's experiences of use are completely different, therefore the therapeutic needs of the two sexes are also different.  It takes time away from the opposite sex for wounds to heal. As long as individuals are ready to develop healthy relationships, they are invited to cooperate in treatment during reintegration.

Can members' children or parents visit or stay overnight at the community?

Children of members can visit their parents in the program - maintaining the relationship between them is desirable.  Mothers of young children who are in the program can have them with them in the community. The children go to a school or station during the day and spend the night in specially designed rooms within the community.

In the first phase of the program the community members have no contact with the outside world. Telephone communication with first degree relatives, given that they are not using, can be done every three months. Family meetings are held around 6 months, as part of the treatment. There are no visits and there are no overnight facilities in the community.

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