Odyssey House Texas, located in Houston, Texas is a private not-for-profit organization established in 1989 to provide treatment and education to youth and families whose lives have been devastated by drugs, alcohol, and abuse. At that time, local families who had lost their children to drugs, alcohol and death identified the need for an effective and affordable program.
Odyssey House Texas is one of many Odyssey House Therapeutic Communities around the world. The first Odyssey House, in East Harlem, was established by Dr. Judianne Densen Gerber, a resident psychiatrist working at Metropolitan Hospital in New York City who was dissatisfied with the practice of using drug replacement medications such as methadone as the primary therapeutic intervention.
Odyssey House Texas got its start thanks to Spindletop Charities, Inc. a non-profit corporation supported by the gas and oil industry with a mission of helping youth in need, that happened to receive a gift of property in the 1980s. After research by then-president Orville Gaither and his wife Margaret, the two organizations came together, and in 1988 the property was conveyed to Odyssey House. Doors opened to residents in 1989. Spindletop continues to make contributions to Odyssey House.
In July 2010, Cenikor Foundation formed a strategic partnership with Odyssey House Texas. Under the new business agreement, each organization will continue to exclusively serve those same populations, while Cenikor will handle all administrative services and provide financial support for Odyssey House.
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Odyssey Houses in other places
Odyssey House Therapeutic Communities are found across the States, in Utah, Australia and New Zealand (Odyssey House (Auckland)). Though they bear the Odyssey House name, the treatment centers have operated as independent entities since the 1980s.
All Odyssey House facilities revolve conceptually around the idea of the "Therapeutic Community", often referred to as the T.C., in which residents hold themselves and others accountable in order to highlight problem behaviors and other therapeutic issues, bringing power to their own community. Peers can hold each other accountable through a system referred to as "Encounters". Residents write down a situation and the feelings they have in relation to it and it's addressed in a group setting a few weeks later. Encounters is designed with a focus on Conflict Resolution Skills. Groups are held throughout the day, providing structure. Most facilities run the following groups: Encounters (Conflict Resolution), Problem Solving Group, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy Skills (DBT Skills), Life Skills, Recovery Maintenance, Relapse Prevention, and Level Groups. These programs are largely level based, in which the residents move up through the levels by demonstrating consistent positive behaviors and completing therapeutic assignments designed to increase a variety of skills and coping strategies. As the residents progress through the levels they gain more freedoms and responsibilities, designed to serve as a reward and present new issues with which to work on. Level peers are expected to work together as a team and accomplish varying responsibilities. Level progression is evaluated by each residents personal therapist and the treatment team.
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