ODYSSEY HOUSE VICTORIA: Alcohol and Other Drug Treatment, Training & Support

Therapeutic Community Admission

Odyssey House Victoria’s adult residential rehabilitation program provides live-in treatment for individuals, couples and parents with their children (up to age 12). Operating as a therapeutic community, the values-based program provides a structured environment where up to 143 residents and 30 staff work together to help people make changes and choices on their pathway to recovery.
Admission process
  • Brief assessment

  • Comprehensive assessment

  • Referral for Residential Rehabilitation

  • Additional information collected

  • Clinical review

  • Placed on waiting list or referred to another service

  • Peer Support Group

  • Detox residential/home

  • Admission

About the Therapeutic Community
  • A Therapeutic Community (TC) is a structured program that combines health, psychological and peer support
  • Based in Lower Plenty, the building was opened in 1953 and is set on 14.59 hectares
  • Children up to age 12 can reside with parent
  • Peer supported program
  • Up to 143 residents including men, women, couples and families
  • Funded by the Victorian State Government together with your total Centrelink payment
A  Structured Program

For people who experience acute problems with alcohol and/or drug use, and their associated mental health issues. The Program includes:


Group therapy


Job function


Daily schedules and activities


Training opportunities in a variety of areas


Recreational activities


Specialised programs for parents


Indigenous Cultural Education Program


Family Services Program


Purpose built child care facility


Financial Counselling Services


There are five fundamental rules to provide a safe environment. It is everybody’s responsibility to abide by and support these rules.

  • No violence or threat thereof

  • No theft

  • No drugs (including alcohol)

  • No sex

  • No knowledge of any of the above

Medical considerations

Ensure stabilisation on any prescribed medication

  • Regular GP sessions at the TC, as well as local GP’s outside of TC medical times
  • Opiate Replacement Therapy (ORT) for Methadone and Suboxone
  • Clients may enter the program on varying doses of ORT
  • Some highly addictive medications are not allowed – Benzodiazepine, Dexamphetamine and some opiate analgesics
  • Three supervised urine drug screens each week.
Information required
  • Legal history, including family orders
  • Medical history
  • Mental Health history
  • Health care card
  • Birth certificates & vaccination records for your children
  • Bank account details.

How long is the program?

Odyssey House residential program is a voluntary program. The recommended minimum length of stay is 4 months. Support is provided for those who wish to leave at varying times. The program can be completed between 18 – 24 months, however is dependent on the individual.

Family contact

Phone contact with family/significant others begins with 2 calls per week, which increases over time. Visits with family/significant others is initially every 3 weeks, which also increases over time.

Parents with children not living at the TC can have daily phone contact and weekly visits (as long as there are no DHHS/Family Court orders preventing this from occuring).


Once an individual is assessed as suitable for Odyssey House TC, our admissions staff will refer you to detox. We work with many detox facilities over Melbourne, both smoking and non-smoking. We will ask each person to undertake a one week detox before an admission to Odyssey House, and will liaise with the detox to ensure this is a bed-to-bed transfer.

In some circumstances, we will support clients completing supervised urine drug screens before their admission, however this is not possible in all circumstances and will need to be further discussed with the individual’s case manager.

What are the costs?

Odyssey House requires the full Centrelink payment of each individual in treatment. The Victorian Government subsidises the rest of the costs of treatment.  This payment goes towards all food, medical and living expenses while the individual is in treatment. We request all direct debits are cancelled prior to admission.

Financial issues

Upon admission each individual is asked whether they would like additional support from Odyssey House’s financial counselling service. This is at no additional cost and the financial counsellor will arrange a visit with the individual.

Wait times

Each case is individual however, the wait time is usually based on how long it takes for the client/referrer to obtain additionally requested information (e.g. medical/legal paperwork). Once all information has been received and reviewed by Admissions, there may also be a wait time for detox. Throughout this wait time, individuals will be invited to attend a weekly Preparation and Support group.


Odyssey House Victoria does not have housing services or facilities for residents to exit into, upon leaving the program. Staff are able to provide referrals to external services should this be requested.

In some instances we will require a confirmed, safe exit address for clients before admission, for example:

  • Where we have concerns for a individual’s mental health
  • Where clients are entering treatment with their children.

DHHS involvement / reunification process:

Odyssey House works with individuals who may have DHHS Child Protection involvement. We will often request a copy of the DHHS Court Orders and liaise with DHHS prior to an admission.

Reunification for children at the TC is possible, however relies on a number of factors including: DHHS support and recommendations, individual’s engagement in treatment, individual’s ability to parent their children independently, and bed availability at the TC.

There is a dedicated Family Services team at the TC who will work with individuals and provide support around this process.


Currently, Odyssey House TC is a smoking facility.

A portion of the Centrelink payment is put aside in a trust account for each resident; if a resident chooses to smoke tobacco while at Odyssey House, the payment for tobacco is deducted from their trust account.

All residents have access to smoking cessation aids – gum, patches and Champix (if deemed suitable by the GP).

There are additional privileges offered to residents who choose not to smoke tobacco to encourage and support clients to cease smoking.

Program stages

Program stages

Foundations 4-6 weeks

  • Medical and psychological review.
  • Establishing routine and learning the structure of the program.
  • Getting to know other people in the program.
  • 3 x 2 hour group therapy sessions per week.

Level 1 7-9 weeks

  • Increased responsibility in the TC, which provides increased privileges in the Therapeutic Community.
  • Undertake 8 week Emotional Regulation course.
  • 2 x 2 hour group therapy sessions per week.

Planning Group 1-3 weeks

  • Individual Recovery Plan developed with a therapist and senior residents.
  • Develop future goals.
  • In the event of a planned exit, a relapse prevention plan is completed.

Level 2 Approx. 3-4 months

  • Focus on family and managing relationships.
  • Increased responsibilities.
  • 2 x 2 hour group therapy sessions per week.

Level 3 Approx. 3-4 months

  • Maintaining healthy peer relationships.
  • Residents organise daily running of the TC.
  • 3 hour group therapy session per week.


  • Supported transition into the wider community – including securing employment, training and housing.
  • Weekly group therapy at the TC.

After care

  • Working and living in the wider community.
  • Weekly group therapy at the TC.
Images from around the Therapeutic Community