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How to Choose the Right Residential Treatment Center

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We often get asked by people in Seattle, Los Angeles, and from around the country about how to choose the right residential treatment center for themselves or a loved one.

It is one of life’s most important and difficult decisions to make; it’s a decision that literally can alter one’s life and it’s important to make as informed decision as possible. At The Clearing, we assist those suffering from anxiety, depression, traumatic life events, alcohol abuse, substance abuse, eating disorders, and dual diagnosis.

How does one go about deciding which residential treatment center is right for you and your family? Our suggestion is to begin by considering the following questions:

1. Where are you in your addiction recovery process?

Are you just starting to consider residential treatment? Do you require clinical detox? Do you need assistance with this process? The answers to these questions help determine where to start. People with chemical or substance dependencies often require a detox period in a dedicated program to transition the body physically from substances. This detox period typically lasts five to seven days at which point the patient moves to the counseling stage of recovery. The counseling stage is the critical stage. Our Program is designed to address the core issues at the root of the issue of substance abuse. For example, what is the underlying issue which fuels your desire to drink or rely on substances?

2. What is your timeframe?

It’s important to be realistic on recovery and treatment duration. Residential treatment usually requires a minimum of one month, perhaps up to 3 or more. Participants reside in a facility away from their normal environment, offering them an uninterrupted opportunity to work their issues.

3. Why consider residential treatment?

The benefits of residential treatment are vast. These rank at the top:

・Being away from one’s environment: Often people can feel trapped and hopeless in their daily life. It is easy to repeat limiting behaviors in the environment where you live and work.

・Being away from the substance: With the substance out of the way what’s left is your relationship with you.

・Professional help: Trained professionals help you learn new behaviors, new ways of thinking, and overcome emotional issues.

・Your daily needs are cared for: Without the need to cook, clean, and earn a paycheck, your time is free to focus on yourself.

・Social Support: In residential treatment centers, people learn that they are not alone. It can be a very healing experience to become aware that other people share the same issues and feelings.

4. How do I compare residential treatment centers?

Residential treatment centers vary widely. An institutional facility can mean going through treatment with as many as a hundred people, limiting individualized care but providing cost savings. An intimate facility with fewer participants provides more individualized care but is more expensive. If possible, get references from people who have gone through the program.

5. How do I find a well-run residential treatment center?

We suggest you research and compare facilities using the following questions as your guide:

• What is their program, what healing modality do they use and how will this help me recover? Who are the key staff? Insist on talking to each of them personally if you feel the need. They should be willing to take the time to visit with you about your specific situation. Listen to and trust your intuition.

• Ask about the staff and counselors. Make sure they have a strong professional and experienced staff and not just interns.

• Ask exactly how much counseling you will receive on a weekly basis. How much group and how much individual counseling?

• How will you be treated? Some programs are confrontational and shaming. Look for a program of loving, affirmation, support and nurturing.

• How many people will be in my room and sharing my bathroom?

Other things to consider when choosing a residential treatment center

Consider visiting the facility for a tour before you enroll. If this is possible, nothing could be more informative than a personal look at the facility and meeting the staff. At The Clearing we welcome your visit. Look for comfortable and clean accommodations, well-prepared food and their willingness to address your individual dietary needs. Request a full tour of the facility and grounds. Trust your intuition.

Ask very specifically about the costs and policies of the program. What is included and what is not? Are psychiatric medications allowed? Some facilities differ on this policy. At The Clearing we take it on a case-by-case basis, but generally can work with pharmaceutical support if it is approved by our physician in consultation with yours.

Assess the client base at any facility you choose. Do they take court-ordered clients? Do they do criminal background checks? In short, are you comfortable with the population with whom you will be spending 28 days? Choose a facility where the participants are like-minded. At The Clearing, because you will be going through together as a group, we focus great effort on putting together a homogenous and like-minded group with your comfort, security and community in mind.

You may have more questions. Please feel free to contact any of us; we’re here to help you make the best choice. You won’t get a sales pitch, you’ll get objective, thoughtful assistance. We invite you to contact us at your convenience, ask us the hard questions. We’re here to help.

About The Clearing

Our approach is based on healing the underlying core issues that cause addiction. If you'd like to learn more, download our free eBook:

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Healing Underlying Core Issues

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