Treatment Center Setting
Muir Wood Adolescent & Family Services Philosophy
Muir Wood Adolescent & Family Services provides residential treatment for adolescent boys with substance use disorder and co-occurring mental health issues and outpatient programming for both adolescent boys and girls. The residential treatment program is designed specifically for males ages 12-17 struggling with substance abuse and accompanying mental health issues. Located on six idyllic acres in Sonoma County, CA, this highly individualized and family-centric program serves a maximum of six adolescents and their families at any given time. Muir Wood’s treatment team includes board-certified addiction treatment physicians, board-certified psychiatrists, licensed therapists, certified counselors, masters-level adventure therapists and masters-level and multiple-subject State credentialed teachers. Key program components of the residential program include a weekly family intensive, comprehensive psychological testing, twice weekly individual therapy with a licensed therapist, weekly assessment by a board-certified addiction psychiatrist, twice weekly individual family therapy with a licensed therapist, and an all day adventure therapy program with masters-level therapists. The residential program also includes a 3-month Parent Support and Coaching Aftercare curriculum-based component led by a licensed therapist who remains in contact with parents for a weekly 75-minute phone call. Muir Wood’s mixed-gender outpatient program, located in Marin, offers both a 9-hour per week Intensive Outpatient Program and a 6-hour per week Outpatient Program for teens and their families. Key components of the outpatient programs include a highly credentialed clinical team, weekly individual therapy with a licensed therapist, weekly family therapy with a licensed therapist, and weekly randomized drug testing.
Areas of Specialization
Daily Exposure to 12-Step Meetings in the Community and Young Persons Fellowship
12-Step exposure provides teens an alternative, safe and nurturing community for social bonding and a setting to explore relationships with other young-persons who are committed to being sober. This can be significant in maintaining sobriety following discharge. Accompanied by staff, the boys at Muir Wood attend 12-Step groups in the community six nights per week and Muir Wood hosts an on-site meeting with a young persons’ panel on the seventh night.
Comprehensive Psychological Testing Standard for Every Teen
Among teenagers, substance abuse is very often a symptom of an underlying mental health issue, behavioral disorder, or learning disability. At Muir Wood, all boys receive comprehensive psychological testing from a nationally recognized neuropsychologist. This is included in the cost of treatment. Using the information from the psychological testing, clinicians can develop a specialized treatment plan to best address the adolescents’ specific needs.
This term describes one-on-one therapy, in which a patient and trained counselor, social worker, psychologist or psychiatrist meets privately with a patient to discuss challenges related to lifestyle, work, family and romantic relationships that may have contributed to the development of an addiction.
Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)
EMDR is a highly specific, research-validated form of therapy that can help people overcome traumatic stress, anxiety and depression. With EMDR, a trained practitioner uses bilateral stimulation, eye movement and touch to stimulate parts of the brain as a patient recounts certain experiences and memories as a way to more thoroughly process uncomfortable, painful feelings.
An Engaging Program Designed Specifically for Adolescent Boys with a Number of Experiential Therapies
Experiential therapies at Muir Wood include 3X weekly personal training with a certified personal trainer at a community gym, weekly equine assisted psychotherapy on a 1000 acre ranch, weekly yoga, weekly-guided meditation, and weekly mixed martial arts training. These experiential therapies help keep teens engaged in treatment and illustrate healthy ways they can have fun living a life free of drugs and alcohol, while reducing anxiety and depression without drugs and alcohol.
Arriving at Muir Wood I felt like we were swooped into the heart of a family, we were being held and taken care of in a way that I haven’t felt in a very long time. The day (my partner) and I came for a visit the first people we met were (other parents). They were sitting in their car and got out after we pulled up. (The mother) came over to us and gave us both a big hug and started talking to us. It was the first time I spoke with another mom who knew exactly what I was going through.
The clinical program at Muir Wood is outstanding. Each member of our family benefited from the program and we left with a greater awareness of each other, our individual and familial issues, and the shift in behavior required to move forward.
My fifteen-year-old son was in a downward spiral of addiction and depression that almost annihilated him and devastated our family. Muir Wood saved my son’s life and began the healing process for our family. The entire staff at Muir Wood demonstrated incredible compassion, integrity and responsive expertise during his stay there and after discharge.
As a result of Muir Wood, our son graduated from high school (and received the highest semester grade point average from his school), applied to and was accepted to a University, was able to work as a youth counselor at a summer camp this past summer, and now has a chance for a productive and rewarding future, that we believe did not exist just a year ago.
Meet the Staff
David Smith, M.D., FASAM, FAACT
Chair, Addiction Medicine
Dr. Smith is recognized as a national leader in addiction medicine, the psychopharmacology of drugs, new research strategies in the management of drug abuse problems, and the treatment of adolescent substance abuse. He is the founder of the Haight Ashbury Free Clinics of San Francisco and has been honored as one of the “Best Doctors in America.” Dr. Smith is a fellow and past President of the American Society of Addiction Medicine, past president of the California Society of Addiction Medicine, past medical director for the California State Department of Alcohol and Drug Programs, and past medical director for the California Collaborative Center for Substance Abuse Policy Research. Current appointments include chair of addiction medicine for Alta Mira Treatment Centers and medical director for Center Point. Dr. Smith is also an adjunct professor at the University of California, San Francisco. Dr. Smith is the founder and publisher of the Journal of Psychoactive Drugs and co-editor of the International Addiction Infoline newsletter. In addition, he has authored or co-authored twenty-six books, written over 340 journal articles, edited twenty-eight journals, and been the technical consultant for twenty-eight drug abuse-related films.
Jennifer Golick, Ph.D., LMFT
Dr. Jennifer Golick received her M.A. from Sonoma State University, where she graduated with honors as part of Chi Sigma Iota Honor Society. For many years, Jennifer worked as a therapist in a nonprofit mental health agency, working with underinsured and uninsured children and families. Jennifer also created and implemented the first agency-based animal-assisted therapy program and utilized that modality with adults with chronic mental illness. Jennifer was most recently employed as the clinical director of a well-respected 55-bed residential substance abuse treatment center in the Napa Valley, CA. H
Founder & Executive Director
For Scott, Muir Wood represents the culmination of many years experience developing nationally recognized adolescent and adult programs. Muir Wood is often referred to as the gold standard in the treatment of adolescent substance abuse and mental health treatment. It has been recognized as a “place of light and hope, where kindness, trust and respect are established as the keystones of life-long recovery” by Kathy Ketcham, best selling author of “Teens Under the Influence”.
Michael Wachter, M.D.
Consulting Psychiatrist, Board-Certified Psychiatrist, Board-Certified in Addiction Medicine
Dr. Michael Wachter is a board-certified psychiatrist who has practiced psychiatry in his native San Francisco Bay Area for over 17 years and is board-certified in addiction medicine. Along with his position at Muir Wood, Dr. Wachter is also a staff psychiatrist at the University of California–San Francisco (UCSF). Prior to joining Muir Wood as the consulting psychiatrist, Dr. Wachter served as the medical director for the Thunder Road Adolescent Chemical Dependency Program in Oakland for 7 years. A recipient of the prestigious Laughlin Award of the National Psychiatric Endowment Foundation for Excellence in Therapeutic Skills and Dedication to the Welfare of Patients, Dr. Wachter is highly regarded for his work with adolescents with substance abuse and co-occurring behavioral health issues.
Rehabs.com Editorial Review
ABOUT MUIR WOOD ADOLESCENT & FAMILY SERVICES
Set on six grassy acres of land in California’s Sonoma County, Muir Wood Adolescent & Family Services is a residential mental health and substance abuse rehab for adolescent boys ages 12 to 17, and an outpatient program for both genders. The facility offers intensive, individualized treatment for drug and alcohol addiction, as well co-occurring mental health disorders. Detox services are available on-site.
TREATMENT & ASSESSMENT
The facility is able to devise highly personalized treatment plans based on information gathered during a comprehensive assessment and thorough psychological evaluation. Clinical activities include weekly one-on-one counseling and regular process groups on topics such as relapse prevention, trauma, and life skills.
The program’s integrated approach combines 12-step philosophy and evidence-based practices such as motivational interviewing, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), and dialectical behavior therapy with holistic and experiential therapies including yoga and wilderness-based activities. Treatment lasts between 45 to 90 days.
Residents also attend young people’s 12-step meetings six days per week, both on- and off-site. In addition to yoga and adventure-based activities such as camping, kayaking, and hiking, clients can participate in equine therapy, guided meditation classes, and art therapy.
Family involvement is another key component of treatment. Family members are integrated into their loved one’s treatment plan via family therapy sessions and process groups, as well as a family program held every other Saturday.
Academics are also taken into account. Muir Wood Adolescent & Family Services offers a year-round academic program that is certified as a private school by California’s Department of Education. The program has a student-to-teacher ratio of 6:1, as well as individualized lesson plans, ACT and SAT prep, and weekly progress reports for parents.
Outpatient care is available for boys and girls from ages 12 to 19. It includes a day treatment program that includes nine hours a week of programming, an intensive outpatient (IOP) option with six hours of weekly programming, and a regular outpatient track with three hours a week of programming.
The facility also offers aftercare support that includes referral to community-based support groups, one-off therapy sessions, and ongoing therapy for those with mental illness.
There are a variety of treatment team members on staff including board-certified psychiatrists, licensed therapists, board-certified addiction treatment physicians, plus numerous certified counselors and experiential therapists. The school is run by a master’s level, state-credentialed teacher.
ACCOMMODATIONS & AMENITIES
The teens live in the bright and homey main residence, which includes a cozy living room, a family-style dining room, and a large kitchen where a chef prepares meals daily, plus a spacious backyard with patios and picnic tables. Each bedroom sleeps two and has a private bath. Residents use the well-equipped gym three times a week to work out with the rehab’s personal trainer.
At the time of this writing, 15 loved ones had provided feedback to Rehabs.com for Muir Wood Adolescent & Family Services. Most feedback came from parents. Eight of the reviews were positive, two were mixed or neutral, and five were negative.
The positive reviews praised the quality of the food, staff members, and the effectiveness of the program. Loved one C.M. wrote: "An excellent program and environment. Healthy food, supportive staff, nurturing, engaging programs. Our whole family benefited and continue to experience the benefits of the Muir Wood experience--a true light and answer in dark and challenging times."
Negative reviews noted the divide between those in treatment for mental health issues and substance abuse. One anonymous parent, whose son was in treatment for depression, felt the mixed environment with those who struggle with substance misuse provided negative exposure.
On its official Facebook page, the facility earned 4.7 out of five stars from 24 reviews.  Many of the reviews praise the facility's treatment team and individualized treatment plan. In a representative review, Peter wrote: "Muir Woods Adolescent program has an outstanding treatment teams of Physicians, specialists and therapists that not only address the treatment of addiction but the whole family, this will allow your teen to discover more about themselves than they would ever thought possible."
Fees range from $36,000 per month to $90,000 for 90 days. Private insurance is accepted.
Published on May 2017
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