Healthcare Professionals

South Pacific Private is Australia’s leading treatment centre specialising in the integrated psychiatric, medical and therapeutic treatment of trauma and addiction and co-occurring mood and anxiety disorders.

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Our Approach

South Pacific Private is a fully accredited psychiatric hospital in Sydney’s Northern Beaches. We offer a trans-diagnostic model of abstinence-based recovery that is both comprehensive and multi-tiered.

Based on the pioneering developmental trauma framework developed by Pia Mellody and the Meadows, our treatment is delivered by an experienced, multi-disciplinary team of psychiatrists, general practitioners, registered nurses, psychologists, therapists and case workers. Treatment plans are designed in consideration of both the presenting symptoms and the underlying causes of addictions, as well as the comorbid issues of trauma, mood and anxiety disorders.

Our approach is designed to address the individual needs of clients who may require varying levels of support and unique specialist care along their recovery journey. South Pacific’s programs are continually refined to reflect research developments, decades of institutional experience and the diversity of lived-experiences in contemporary Australia.

Learn more about our clinical approach >>

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Types Of Admissions

  • Privately insured clients – covered by a private health fund
  • Self-funded clients – clients will be provided with an estimation of treatment cost prior to admission
  • Workers compensation clients – approval needs to be obtained from the insurance company prior to admission
  • Overseas clients – We accept clients from overseas as long as their insurance company provides the necessary approval prior to admission or if those clients have the capability to self-fund their treatment
  • Department of Veteran’s Affairs (DVA) clients

Please note that for any admission into South Pacific Private referral from a psychiatrist or GP is required.

Exclusion Criteria

If any of the following apply to your patient, please contact our Intake Team on 1800 063 332 to discuss:

  • Current medical condition that requires hospitalisation
  • BMI at or below 17
  • Eating disorder or actively restricting, binging or purging
  • Diagnosis of schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder
  • Indication of hallucinations, either whilst sober or under the influence
  • Current drug-induced psychosis
  • Any current forensic issues or ongoing court proceedings
  • Requirement to be bailed to a facility

Conditions We Treat

The high prevalence of coexisting mental illness and substance use disorders is well established in both clinical practice and throughout the literature (see Adverse Childhood Experiences studies for further support). South Pacific Private specialises in the dual diagnosis treatment of addiction and we are to committed to addressing the challenges of coexisting mental illness and substance use disorders concurrently.

The findings from the most recent Australian National Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing demonstrate that the prevalence of comorbidity is even higher among individuals entering alcohol and other drug treatment (AOD) programs: Between 50–76% of Australian clients of AOD treatment services meet diagnostic criteria for at least one comorbid mental disorder.

For more on the impact of childhood experiences, watch Nadine Burke Harris’ TED Talk here.

Substance Use Disorder (SUD) is the one of the most common conditions we treat at South Pacific Private. The DSM 5 recognises Substance Use Disorders (SUDS) are related to 10 separate classes of drugs; alcohol, tobacco, cannabis, opioids, sedatives, hallucinogens, inhalants, hypnotics/anxiolytics, stimulants and caffeine. SUDs are characterised by dependence, tolerance, withdrawal and the obsession and compulsion to continue use the substance despite the negative consequences.

Over the last decade, behavioural / process addictions have become more widely recognised and researched. Some common process addictions include gambling, internet gaming disorder (i.e. video game addiction), smartphone addiction, sex addiction and work addiction.

At South Pacific Private, we apply a transdiagnostic treatment model to treat addiction due to the overlapping feature common to all addictions: The failure to resist an impulse or urge, leading to persistent engagement in the substance or behaviour despite recurring harms (marked by dependence, tolerance, withdrawal and the obsession).

It has been reported by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (2020) that depression is the most common diagnosis for a person who seeks admission into a psychiatric hospital. The co-occurrence of substance use disorders and mental health disorders such as depression also have a 35% prevalence rate in Australia.

South Pacific Private specialises in both single diagnosis and dual diagnosis treatment of addictions and mood disorders. Our dedicated team of experienced psychiatrists, GPs, nursing staff, counsellors, psychotherapists and psychologists seek to stabilise current depressive symptoms and instill hope through evidence-based, best-practice medical (pharmacological) and therapeutic interventions and through our intensive inpatient pathway. Clients engage in daily intensive group psychotherapy and lectures. In addition, clients attend regular internal depression and anxiety support groups and gain support and connection through our therapeutic community.

South Pacific Private recognises the prevalence and impact of mood disorders such as Major Depression Disorder (MDD) within the Australian population. Approximately one in seven Australians will experience a depressive episode once in their lifetime. The World Health Organisation estimates that depression will be the number one health concern in both developed and developing nations by 2030.

Approximately 1% of Australians are impacted by bipolar disorder. Bipolar reflects a person who experiences radical shifts in mood. These ‘episodes’ typically can last for days or weeks at a time. Episodes may happen as often as several times a week, or as little as a few times a year or during the same day (rapid cycling). Bipolar also causes major changes in energy and concentration.

There is a correlation between the symptoms of bipolar and the symptoms of excessive use of drugs and alcohol. Someone going through a manic episode can look and act like someone using cocaine. Both can experience an elevation in mood and energy. Those having a major depressive episode can also have the same symptoms as someone in withdrawal.

It is also very common for people with bipolar to self-medicate with drugs and alcohol as it has the potential to ease their symptoms of mania and depression.

According to recent research by the Matilda Centre for Research in Mental Health and Substance use (2019), approximately 17% of Australians will experience an anxiety disorder in any 12-month period.

While feeling anxious at times is a normal part of the human condition, excessive worrying, panic, fear of losing control, fear of embarrassment or fear of socialising can become debilitating. These experiences can lead a person to withdraw from work and social engagements, as well as self-medicate with substance and behavioural addictions.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) refers to a set of symptoms that can emerge following a single traumatic event that involves exposure to actual or threatened death, serious injury, or sexual violence. It is less prevalent than Complex PTSD, which South Pacific Private also specialises in.

In Australia, approximately 12% of people will develop PTSD. It no longer considered a disorder solely related to veterans. While a person with PTSD may have directly experienced trauma, PTSD can also occur when a person’s loved one experiences trauma or they witness a stranger experiencing a traumatic event. It can occur at any age including childhood.

Other disorders such as anxiety disorders, depression and substance abuse, often occur alongside PTSD.

Complex PTSD describes the impact of ongoing, longer-term forms of trauma which occur during developmentally important periods of life, such as childhood or young adulthood, or at other times of extreme vulnerability. Rather than a singular threatening event, this form of trauma is often inflicted by individuals intentionally and often involves a power imbalance such as older-younger, parent-child, teacher-child or boss-employee.

Examples of such trauma may include parental neglect, a parent’s drinking or substance addiction, witnessing or experiencing domestic violence, the death, imprisonment or separation of a loved one, or instances of physical abuse, sexual abuse or emotional abuse.

The descriptor recognises that many forms of interpersonal trauma, in particular psychological mistreatment, neglect, separation from caregivers, traumatic loss and inappropriate sexual behaviour, do not necessarily meet the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, Fifth Edition (DSM-V) ‘Criterion A’ definition for a traumatic event.

Because C-PTSD symptoms can persist for years after the trauma and can persist into adulthood, they can be mistaken for inherent personality characteristics or other mental health issues. Such symptoms may include an unhealthy relationship with shame, enduring sadness and loneliness, issues with body image and self-worth and/or an ongoing search for, or reliance upon a ‘saviour’. C-PTSD may occur alongside other mental health issues and individuals may seek to self-medicate, leading to behavioural or substance addictions.


South Pacific Private is a national leader in the treatment of addictions and co-occurring mental health issues. With special expertise in the treatment of trauma and dual diagnosis – and a unique focus on addressing addiction and mental illness within the context of family and relational systems – we strive to equip clients with the tools, strategies and awareness they need to pursue sustainable, long-term recovery.

Our multi-disciplinary team works to stabilise presenting symptoms and reduce problematic behaviours using evidence-based, best practice medical (pharmacological) and therapeutic interventions within our intensive inpatient pathway. We offer complete, onsite medically supported detoxification, led by an experienced team of psychiatrists, GPs and nursing staff.* Our programs include daily intensive group psychotherapy, educational lectures and one-on-one sessions with appropriate therapists and specialists. Clients attend regular internal and community based 12-step meetings.

Wherever your clients might be on their journey, our range of inpatient and outpatient programs offers treatment pathways which can be specifically tailored to their needs.

*In some cases, due to the nature of the withdrawal and co-existing medical conditions, we may require clients to complete withdrawal within an emergency hospital setting.

We have several robust outcome measures in place, including participation in the nationwide Health of the Nation Outcome Study (hoNOS), PHQ14 and the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS).

Beachwood Recovery House is a residential sober living facility that provides residents with support and guidance in their recovery. Clients will have the chance to attend our day programs, including the Transitions program.

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Contact Us

If you would like more information for yourself or for a loved one, our client care team is available to take your call 7 days a week.

Call 1800 063 332

Our Address

A. 24 Beach Street

Curl Curl NSW 2096

P. 1800 063 332

F. 02 9905 9696

E. [email protected]