Dr. Barnes and Dr. Wilson personally answer the phones from 8:00AM until 5:00PM (PST) everyday.
In U.S. & Canada: 888-541-6350
In Los Angeles: 818-466-9258
Common Questions about Alcohol Treatment2016-11-14T06:14:03+00:00

FAQs

The best alcohol treatment program in California is the intensive, individual, and confidential outpatient program we offer here on the Palos Verdes Peninsula, half way between Los Angeles and Long Beach.

The best alcohol treatment program in California is the intensive, individual, and confidential outpatient program we offer here on the Palos Verdes Peninsula, half way between Los Angeles and Long Beach.

We provide an effective, affordable, and accelerated program to women, men, and couples seeking a discrete and proven solution to your alcohol abuse problems.

Here you will never be exposed, subjected to meaningless groups, cults, labels, or harassment in any form. Instead, you will be treated with respect as the competent adult you are and assisted in leaving your understandable alcohol abuse behind.

Our alcohol treatment program accomplishes this by helping you to acquire and assimilate the tools, attitudes, and supports that actually work as shown by fifty years of research and experience.

Here you will never be exposed, subjected to meaningless groups, cults, labels, or harassment in any form. Instead, you will be treated with respect as the competent adult you are and assisted in leaving your understandable alcohol abuse behind.

Our alcohol treatment program accomplishes this by helping you to acquire and assimilate the tools, attitudes, and supports that actually work as shown by fifty years of research and experience.

Research has shown that except for a tiny minority of individuals seeking help with their alcohol related problems, outpatient alcohol treatment programs are superior to residential alcohol rehab.

Outpatient alcohol treatment services are far more affordable, effective, confidential, and private. You will not be exposed to groups, cults, other clients, para-professionals, and times wasting (and expensive) fillers.

Instead, you will receive individually custom designed services that fit your specific needs, strengths, interests, abilities, and circumstances. You will avoid labels and a public record as an “alcoholic” which you, like 85% of those seeking treatment, aren’t.

Remember, the best alcohol treatment program for you is the one that’s focused on you.

The best alcohol treatment programs for women combine the most effective alcohol treatment tools into a program built around you and your strengths, interests, abilities, and goals.

Research has established that the most effective methods of ending alcohol abuse and alcoholism include brief interventions, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Motivational Interviewing, Assertiveness Training, Naltrexone support, Mindfulness, and exercise in an individually designed mosaic. These approaches work best when combined with short term professional counseling, on-going professional support, and spousal involvement.

For women, the primary concern lies in avoiding demeaning labels, groups and 13th Stepping, while promoting active involvement in one’s life. Active engagement in social and recreational activities that are not alcohol focused is essential.

The fastest alcohol treatment programs, so-called accelerated recovery programs, may provide clients with effective short term services while eliminating the need to “go off to rehab” for an extended stay and the concomitant exposure. These programs are at least as effective as the traditional 30, 60, and 90 day formats according to the most recent research.

However, as with all alcohol treatment programs, careful evaluation is needed to separate the truly effective from the merely short.

In addition to being fast, good programs will also be professionally staffed, with be based on what actually works (i.e., not AA), will be individualized, and will offer months of on-going support either in person, by distance delivery, or a combination that suits each client.

Brief interventions, properly designed and executed, can be the most effective way to end your alcohol abuse and or alcoholism as well as being the most affordable and the only confidential approach.

The most effective alcohol treatment programs are the intensive research based Non 12 Step and AA alternative programs that focus on your individual needs, history, and circumstances. These programs are based on your strengths, interests, and abilities, not on cults, “diseases,” and life-long “recovery.”

Evaluation of programs over the past 20 years has shown that outpatient alcohol treatment is more effective than inpatient, or residential, “rehab” (see Anne Fletcher’s new book, “Inside Rehab”). However, these programs are not uniform and you should carefully evaluate them based on models such as the one offered by Ms. Fletcher (see: Inside Rehab information).

Successful outcomes have also been shown to result from a combination of short term professional counseling, anti-craving medication support (Naltrexone), CBT, motivational enhancement, spousal education and support, and the creation of new social and recreational activities that do not involve alcohol.

Other factors contributing to success need to be considered on an individual basis and treatment based on groups should be avoided due to problems with both effectiveness and confidentiality.

However, as with any form of alcohol treatment services, quality varies widely and one needs to evaluate programs carefully. This can be difficult to do under the pressure of crisis decision making that frequently accompanies the decision to seek treatment.

The best outpatient alcohol treatment programs are based on research and not on AA or the 12 Steps which have a long term success rate of under 5%. These research based programs are also frequently called non 12 step, AA alternative, or intensive and accelerated outpatient programs.

However, as with any type of outpatient alcoholism treatment, quality varies widely and potential clients and/or their families should carefully inquire as to the actual basis for the treatment provided.

Effective treatment is based on clients’ abilities and history as well as support systems and the provision of proven “tools” such as CBT, Naltrexone, and assertiveness training, among others (see: Ending Alcohol Abuse: What Works for a more comprehensive listing).

The best women only programs incorporate a professional staff, effective approaches, and medical considerations in a setting free from discrimination, gender bias, and/or sexual stereotypes and the infamous 13th Stepping that is pervasive in all AA/12 Step based programs.

Additionally, effective programs support independence, self-esteem enhancement, and relief from negative “powerlessness” myths and demeaning labels, including “alcoholic.”

Successful outcomes are based on individual enhancement, the honing of effective short term therapy tools including CBT and mindfulness and the incorporation of medical support such as Naltexone.

You can find additional information at alcohol treatment for women.

The best alcohol treatment programs are based on research, experience, and short term professional help and lead to full recovery. Outpatient programs are more effective and time and cost efficient than residential programs and offer minimal disruptions in one’s personal and professional life.

Individual – and couples’ – programs offer the best outcomes, can maintain confidentiality, and are far more time and effort effective than programs based on groups. Remember, your situation is unique and any effective solution must be custom tailored to your circumstances, wishes, abilities, and so on.

The best alcohol treatment programs will avoid stigmatizing and labeling and will accurately assess your degree of alcohol involvement (i.e., abuse through dependence) and craft a treatment plan that reflects your position on the DSM 5 continuum of severity.

Good programs will also protect you privacy and confidentiality by not exposing you to groups, AA, other clients, or by using insurance codes which are not confidential (remember, medical insurance records are not confidential and are routinely shared both within and outside of the insurance industry).

Many people do stop drinking on their own and their success rates are often higher than for those trying to use AA or the 12 Steps, or treatment based on AA or the 12 Steps.

However, assuming you find good short term research based help, and that you get individual attention from experienced professionals, you can expect to achieve better outcomes more quickly and easily, than most people can manage on their own

Think of it as going to a gym – there’s a lot to learn, sort out, and assimilate and a good trainer can help you through the process a lot faster than you can muddle through on your own. A trainer will save you time, wasted effort, and possible injury as well as helping you consider and include all of the significant factors.

We, like a good trainer, help you assess your situation, develop options, maintain motivation, avoid dangerous activities, and outgrow your need for our support.

No one can make someone else stop drinking – not your spouse, partner, parent, friend, or child. Just as drinking is a decision they have made, so is stopping drinking, a decision they will have to make.

You can, however, encourage someone to stop by refusing to support their drinking and by refusing to reward their drinking behaviors.

Start by remembering that abusing alcohol is a choice, not a “disease” and that pretending it’s a disease is simply a way people try to avoid accepting responsibility for their decision to drink rather than fixing the underlying problems they are self-medicating.

Generally speaking, if you refocus your attention and efforts onto yourself and your family, and take the legal and financial steps that will protect you and your family from the results of the drinker’s irresponsible behavior, you may convince your spouse that you are serious. But you need to make these changes yourself and by doing so, thus encourage them to seek appropriate help to save themselves and their marriage and/or other relationships.

If you are looking into various alcohol treatment program options, we suggest that you start by using Anne Fletcher’s “Consumer Checklist For Checking Out Rehabs” as taken from her book, “Inside Rehab.”

Here are some of the questions she suggests you ask, along with our own answers:

How soon do you accept people into your outpatient alcohol treatment program? As we only accept one or two new clients or couples per week, the wait can be anywhere from a few days to 2 weeks.

What is your overall alcohol treatment program philosophy? We work from the research based model that alcohol abuse is a choice that can be “un-chosen,” that a variety of methods and components are available, that short term individualized professional help is most effective and that a variety of outcomes are possible.

Are your clients required to attend AA meetings? We strongly suggest avoiding AA and 12 Step meetings. Clients seeking an alcohol focused support group are referred to Smart Recovery, Women for Sobriety, Life Ring, and other non-exploitive groups.

How are alcohol problems evaluated? We use self-reports, DSM-4r criteria, and, spouse or family input when available. Dr. Jane Loevinger’s Washington University Sentence Completion Test provides an additional personal guide to establishing rapport, identifying underlying factors, and establishing strengths and interests to be used in leaving alcohol abuse behind.

Do you offer detox? We are not a detox facility. However, all clients are evaluated by our consulting physician for any concerns regarding withdrawal and also for the use of the effective anti-craving medication Naltrexone.

Are clients searched and items confiscated upon arrival? While residential programs frequently confiscate personal items and cut off communications in order to facilitate brain washing, we assume you are an adult and that you are responsible for policing yourself in any case – as you certainly will be when you leave any program.

We are also an intensive accelerated outpatient alcohol program so policing you would be as futile as it is pointless.

How long is your intensive outpatient accelerated alcohol treatment program? We provide 5 days of individual intensive treatment which involves you with both Dr. Barnes and Dr. Wilson along with our consulting physician. This occurs on site at our offices on the Palos Verdes Peninsula, 45 minutes south of Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). This is followed by 12 or more weeks of scheduled sessions and “as needed” access which may be distance delivered by Skype or phone, in person, or a combination, depending on your preference and location.

What approaches does your non 12 step program use? As appropriate to you and your situation, we use a mosaic of motivational interviewing, cognitive behavioral therapy, assertiveness training, couples counseling, mindfulness practices, hormone and medication considerations, co-occurring disorder evaluation, and diet and exercise recommendations as needed or desired.

What is the staff to client ratio at non 12 step alcohol treatment? Dr. Barnes and Dr. Wilson both work with each client and/or couple and Dr. Norcross conducts an individual medical evaluation regarding and withdrawal issues and the advisability of Naltrexone support. So our staff to client ration is 2:1 – 2 staff for every 1 client.

How much client time is spent in group counseling at non 12 step alcohol treatment ? We do not waste your time in group counseling and other “filler” activities that make up the bulk of other program’s offerings. You will not be subjected to AA meetings, equine “therapy” (playing with horses); rope courses (playing with ropes); helicopter therapy (we kid you not), fire walks or other mindless time wasters.

Nor do we destroy your confidentiality which all group settings do.

How much time is devoted to in individual counseling at your AA alternative outpatient alcohol treatment program? Dr. Barnes and Dr. Wilson each devote approximately 12-15 hours of time to each individual or couple during the five day intensive portion of the program. They provide, on average, an additional 12-18 hours of follow-up session time during the 3 months of on-going work

What are the non 12 step, AA alternative, primary counselors’ qualifications? Dr. Wilson and Dr. Barnes hold Ph.D.s in Educational, Counseling, and Developmental Psychology and multiple state and national certifications in all areas of alcohol counseling.

Is any counseling done by students or interns? No. We employ neither students or interns, nor do we expose you to incompetent para-professionals, and risk your confidentiality.

At non 12 step alcohol treatment, do you provide medical evaluation? Clients are evaluated by our medical director, Dr. Norcross upon admission for any withdrawal symptoms, relevant conditions, and also for the use of the anti-craving medication Naltrexone.

What percentage of the non 12 step staff consists of recovered people? Dr. Wilson has been fully recovered from approximately 5 years of episodic alcohol abuse occurring between 1982-86. Dr. Barnes was actively involved in the recovery of a family member from 1998-2000.

We note that people who describe themselves as “in recovery” are obviously unqualified and unwilling to assist you to recover.

What happens when clients “slip,” “lapse,” or “relapse”? We assume that some regressions are a part of the process and are learning opportunities. As with the words alcoholic and alcoholism, “relapse” is a destructive, traditional concept that should be avoided.

Do you have a program for people who’ve been through rehab before?

We see many clients who have been through inappropriate and ineffectual 12 Step rehabs before finding us. They enjoy the same benefits and success as our first time clients and frequently do even better, having shed many of the destructive myths traditional rehabs promulgate.

What proportion of clients complete your program? 98% of our clients complete the program.

What about aftercare? Our clients participate in 12 or more weeks of scheduled and guided aftercare as a part of the program package and this is included in the $8,750 program cost.

How do you monitor success? Because we only see a small number of clients, 40-50 annually – and we are not punitive – we are able to do individual follow-up with accurate self-reporting.

How many of your clients are court ordered? We do not accept clients who are third party ordered, nor do we accept third party payments. This comes from both motivational and confidentiality concerns.

What is your policy on drug testing? We do no testing of any sort. Again, we are not the alcohol police – that’s your job.

One piece of information she omits is the importance of what the program’s based on – as noted in Dr. Miller’s review of the research, cited in our Ending Alcohol Abuse: What Works . It is good to remember that the so called Minnesota Model, 12 Step Facilitation, and AA rank at numbers 36, 37, and 38 in terms of effectiveness.

If you are a heavy or frequent drinker and you suddenly decide to quit ‘cold turkey’ you can experience some physical withdrawal symptoms — which can range from the mild to severe and even life-threatening.

The severity of these withdrawal symptoms is usually dependent on how “chemically dependent” the drinker has become.   People who are “alcohol dependent” will experience some level of physical discomfort.

For some people, who are less chemically dependent, withdrawal symptoms might be as “mild” as merely getting the shakes, or the sweats — or perhaps nausea, headache, anxiety, a rapid heart beat, and increased blood pressure.  Although these symptoms are uncomfortable and irritating, they are not necessarily dangerous.

For some very alcohol dependent people, however, within six to 48 hours after not drinking, hallucinations may develop. These usually are visual hallucinations but they can also involve sounds and smells. They can last for a few hours up to a few weeks.

During this same time, convulsions and seizures can occur. This is the point at which alcohol withdrawal can become dangerous, if not medically treated. The symptoms may progress to delirium tremens (DT’s) after three to five days without alcohol. The symptoms of DT’s include profound confusion, disorientation, hallucinations, hyperactivity, and extreme cardiovascular disturbances. The DTs’s are very serious and can be fatal.

Good and timely medical treatment can alleviate most or all of the symptoms of alcohol withdrawal.   If you are a heavy drinker and want to quit, consult a physician or a detox center.

Out intensive outpatient alcohol treatment program is easily available to clients in the Los Angeles and Orange County area. Being a “local” also means you have more scheduling options and your choices for follow-up, in person, phone or Skype, and be of a combination that also suits your schedules, preferences, and needs.

For a few clients it also means that on-going counseling around coexisting conditions (i.e., marriage counseling) may be an option.

Being local also means you can take advantage of a free consultation session with us. Come in, spend an hour or ninety minutes and we can all decide if this is the right option for you. There is no charge and we will provide a referral if it’s agreed that another option would serve you better.

This consultation visit is also something we recommend to anyone in the southwest U.S. Before committing yourself, why not invest a day and a couple of hundred dollars on Southwest or Alaska Airlines and see how it all feels to you?

Alcohol abuse is always fueled by and/or accompanied by other conditions, particularly depression. Hardly surprising when alcohol is itself a major depressant – one that also over rides pharmaceutical anti-depressants with ease (and considerable danger).

But depression has a nasty spiral effect. You’re depressed so you drink to self-medicate to get the short term buzz. Yet the longer term effect is more depression which also interferes with the physical activity that counteracts depression.

Simply put, you feel bad so you drink more. You then feel worse, so you do less, and drink more, and feel even worse so you drink still more, and… You can see how this plays out and you already know this pattern from your own experience.

The good news is that without the alcohol the spiral is equally reversible. Stop drinking and you feel better. Feeling better you do more – and physical activity works far better than anti-depressants over 6 month or longer periods – so you are less inclined to drink and you feel better and…. Yes, that’s how that plays out for most people who quit drinking and ruminating and start doing things instead!

We are fully private, confidential, individual, and focused on you. Because we are intensive outpatient alcohol treatment you are the sole focus of our work during the critical first five days. We have no cults to indoctrinate you into and no agenda beyond developing your personal and individual route back out of alcohol abuse.

Private, individualized alcohol treatment means that you won’t be wasting any time listening to other clients with whom you have nothing in common and whom you wouldn’t care to associate with even if you did.

Private outpatient alcohol treatment with us is not only custom tailored to you, and confidential, and affordable, but also means that your work with us is “all substance, no filler,” exactly the opposite of all other programs who only provide “all filler, no substance” in exchange for your time and money.

You are also free to select your own level of accommodations that suit your needs and preferences. Many clients stay at the comfortable Best Western Pacific Coast Highway; others at the Portofino Inn, both in Redondo Beach, and some of you like the luxury of the Terranea Resort on the Palos Verdes Peninsula. Of course there are also the usual Double Tree and Marriott options and all of these, and other choices, are an easy 15 minute drive from our offices.

Holistic treatment of alcoholism means treating your alcohol abuse in the context of your day-to-day life. The misuse of alcohol is seen for what it actually is – a symptom of imbalances within your life.

Successful treatment of adults means looking at the underlying factors that have lead you to seek relief through alcohol. Commonly these are conditions suck as loneliness, anxiety, boredom, depression, and grief. They may also include physical pain, hormone imbalances, medication errors, and problems with diet and exercise.

Other factors often include learned behaviors, ingrained habit patterns, family, peer, and professional pressures, along with a myriad of other individual factors that apply exclusively to you and your situation.

Running through the list of possibilities, we think that you can see why it’s in your best interest to take the time to invest a few days in treating you specifically, individually, and, yes, holistically.

You can also see why being told that you are a powerless alcoholic who must attend AA for the rest of your life isn’t going to help you. In fact, that prescription will do you far more damage than good.

If you want real help, not just a way to placate others, and you also want an expanded life, not a diminished one, don’t you think you owe it to yourself to get the best possible help?

That’s what we think to – and that’s why we offer it to a limited number of select clients.

Basic treatment for women suffering from alcoholism and alcohol abuse issues actually comes down to a relatively easy to describe and difficult to manage change in the way you live your day-to-day life. It means that you quit talking about “things” and start doing thing instead.

Women suffer twice as much as depression as men mostly because you ruminate on things rather than engaging in actively living your life (men do more things actively, many of which make no sense, but that’s another issue).

Basic treatment for women therefore, means looking at the underlying unresolved problems that are being self-medicated, and coming up with better ways to address the loneliness, boredom, anxiety, depression, hormone changes, anger, and life style changes that usually lead to the alcoholic “solution”.

That’s what we offer. A look at what is really bothering you and what proactive changes will lead you to a better, happier, and more satisfactory life now and in the future. We do not dwell on the past beyond identifying problems and patterns but instead help you design better alternatives to alcohol.

In helping you move to a better solution to your particular mosaic of concerns, we also provide you with a mosaic of tools, custom tailored to your specific needs, desires, strengths, interest, and abilities. These may include CBT, assertiveness training, motivational enhancement, diet and exercise recommendations, Naltrexone anti-craving support, mindfulness exercises, and activates specifically geared towards depression and anxiety – two of the bigger factors in women’s alcohol abuse.

This is the basic approach to solving your alcoholism or alcohol abuse. No you are not powerless, or diseased, or immoral, or weak. You merely followed a road that left you feeling worse than the conditions from which you sought relief. Now it’s time to let us help you find your road back.

Alcohol treatment centers can be divided up in a number of ways which you will want to take into consideration.

First there are the traditional residential 30, 60, and 90 day “rehab” programs, over 90% of which are based on charging you $1000/day to attend AA meetings. There long term “success” rates are about the same as going to AA on your own – 5% or less over the long term

Next are the outpatient programs which are also usually based on AA and have the same outcome rates. Interestingly, as will AA and all of the 12 Step based “solutions” some people do manage to gain some needed respite and time to reflect on their lives and manage to convert the experience into an opportunity to design and implement their own recovery.

But that’s a much longer, harder, and more expensive way to achieve what is essentially a brief individual process when done correctly and professionally.

That brings us to the various alternative programs. Generally falling under the heading of non 12 step programs these can be either outpatient or residential. They too can be of varying duration and may or may not be based on personality cults or actual research. Again, it’s “buyer beware” at a time of crisis when that’s very difficult to do.

Having winnowed through the possibilities, there are still a handful of programs which are actually research based (see: Ending Alcohol Abuse: What Works), can lead you to full recovery, do not label, demean, degrade or insult you, and which preserve your reputation, options and confidentiality.

We accomplish this by only working with selected individuals and couples, using all of the research, eschewing groups of all kinds, adding medical support as needed or desired, and helping you to comfortably move alcohol abuse into the “been there, done that” category of your life history.

Isn’t that what you, an otherwise successful and accomplished individual, want?

That’s what we thought, too.


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