Overall Rating

(4.1 of 5)
Treatment Effectiveness
Accommodations & Amenities
Meals & Nutrition
20781 Big Rock Dr.
Malibu CA 90210

Promises Malibu Philosophy

For 30 years, Promises Malibu and its expert staff have helped clients and their families heal from addiction and mental health issues and rebuild their lives. A world-class treatment team with specialized training in substance abuse and mental health disorders works with each client to make sure all concerns and underlying issues are addressed. A wide selection of evidence-based therapies and alternative approaches offer clients an effective treatment experience with many ways to recover. Promises Malibu limits the number of clients to give each person the individual care they need to succeed in recovery. As creator of the acclaimed “Malibu Model,” Promises was the first to take treatment out of a hospital-like setting and provide clients highly personalized treatment in a luxurious environment where they can focus on getting better.

Areas of Specialization

  • Trauma-Informed Treatment
    Promises Malibu offers an extensive range of evidence-based therapies for individuals struggling with trauma-related conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), addiction and co-occurring mental health disorders. Their clinicians are specially trained in treating trauma and clients may participate in trauma-focused therapies like EMDR, equine therapy and cognitive behavioral therapy.

  • Real-World Recovery
    Promises Malibu provides clients with access to real-world communication while receiving treatment in order to prepare them for the challenges of day-to-day life. They may call loved ones, use smartphones and participate in supervised community outings as clinically appropriate. Clients receive training to manage triggers and process the emotions that arise in these situations.

Facility Highlights

Private and Semi-Private Suites

Swimming Pools

Professional Chef

Meet the Staff

David Sack, MD

CMO

Photo of David Sack, MD

Renowned addiction and mental health specialist Dr. David Sack is the chief medical officer of Promises. Board-certified in psychiatry, addiction psychiatry and addiction medicine, Dr. Sack’s wide-ranging experience includes substance abuse treatment of adjudicated youth and adults, ambulatory detoxification, and creating treatment programs for people with dual diagnoses. Dr. Sack is a Medical Review Officer and is regularly featured in the media as an expert on a range of mental health and addiction issues.

Dr. Thomas Wood, PhD, LPC

Clinical Director

Photo of Dr. Thomas Wood, PhD, LPC

With 20 years of experience in addiction and mental health treatment, Dr. Wood brings a wealth of knowledge to his role as clinical director of Promises Malibu. Past positions include clinical manager of behavioral health programs, private practice clinician, and adjunct faculty member for the University of North Texas Graduate Rehabilitation Counseling Program. Dr. Wood has specialized training in EMDR and is a designated Master Trainer for the Say It Straight™ program, a research-based education and training program that results in empowering communication skills and behaviors.

Rehabs.com 360 Guide

Review by Rehabs.com Contributors

ABOUT PROMISES MALIBU

Along a hillside cliff in Malibu, Calif., lies a Mediterranean-style mansion retreat known as Promises Malibu, a top-tier substance abuse treatment center. Clients receive a range of evidence-based treatments provided by individualized treatment teams, and many are attracted by Promises’ well-established reputation for luxury and innovative clinical practices. Medically monitored detox is available on-site.

TREATMENT & ASSESSMENT

Building upon more three decades of experience, Promises Malibu has developed an oft-replicated treatment approach called the “Malibu Model," according to the center's website. Intake involves a day-long assessment to establish the precise nature of an individual’s addiction, and to assemble the most appropriate course of treatment. Individual, group, and family counseling is supplemented by alternative therapies that include brain imaging, equine therapy, nutritional counseling and fitness, art therapy, neurofeedback, and acupuncture. The center also conducts on-site 12-step meetings.

Though schedules are highly personalized, clients can expect fully packed days, as well as weekends that allow for family visitation time and social activities.

Aftercare options are available via an active alumni program, which involves weekly or monthly meetings in Malibu, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Phoenix, and New York. Promises Malibu also offers a lifetime of ongoing personal follow-up and support for all its alumni.

Promises Malibu’s website notes the center is designed for people accustomed to luxury such as celebrities, business executives, and government officials.

STAFF CREDENTIALS

According to the center’s website, each clinical team consists of a primary therapist, family therapist, psychiatrist, medical doctor, and nurse. The facility also works with a variety of consulting clinicians specializing in complementary approaches like acupuncture, massage therapy and yoga. There’s no physician on-site, but the facility does have an affiliation with an M.D. who specializes in addiction medicine.

ACCOMMODATIONS & AMENITIES

Promises Malibu offers exclusivity to the extreme, with accommodations that are comparable to that of a five-star hotel. Clients can reside in private villas (at an additional charge) throughout the estate,and programs limit capacity to a small number of residents at a time. Amenities include access to a private chef, heated pools, tennis courts, and a meditation garden with panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean.

WHAT ALUMNI SAY

The three alumni questioned by Rehabs.com at the time of this writing provided positive feedback. On average, they gave the center 4.66 out of five stars when asked if they would recommend Promises Malibu.

Two of them gave five-star ratings for holistic offerings, counseling options,and for the staff's level of experience and training.

Rich credited the center for saving his life. "I am now 3 years sober," he wrote. And an anonymous alum wrote that the "people that work there are very friendly they don't look at you as an addict they really do try to help a person out."

The third alum, N.G., also had only positive remarks. "This is the type of facility designed to save an addicts life as well as change it," they commented.

WHAT FRIENDS & FAMILY SAY

The 15 loved ones polled by Rehabs.com at the time of this writing also provided mostly positive reviews. Only three loved ones didn’t provide positive reviews, and they all commented on how expensive treatment was.

On average, loved ones gave the center four out of five stars when asked if they would recommend Promises Malibu. Loved ones rated the center’s holistic offerings and exercise and leisure the highest with 4.5 stars. Yet, they rated affordability the worst with 3.6 stars.

Friends and family praised the accommodations, as well as the "helpful," "compassionate," and "tolerant" staff. "My family member was changed by this staff for the better," a loved one wrote.

WHAT STAFF SAY

To date, the two staff members polled by Rehabs.com gave polarized opinions of Promises Malibu.

L.B. recognized the facility's exclusive location, but pointed out some major red flags. "Poor management... Nursing supervisor who is out of control... no management ability to solve issues, no clinical staff on premises in the evening," they wrote.

Another anonymous staff member gave the center several five- out of five-star ratings, noting that the center helped but that the food wasn't very good.

FINANCING

Pricing information at Promises Malibu is not available on its website, though alumni commentary to Rehabs.com reveals that treatment does not come cheap. Most PPO insurances are accepted, but it seems that they rarely cover the full program.

Updated March 2017

Published on May 2016

User Reviews

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This place is NOT luxury, just a business looking to maximize profits.

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their faith program its the best

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Overall a good place

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great facilities, focus on turnover, not long term goals. very helpful overall, would recommend

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One on one sessions were good, Activities at night need to be better. Professional treatment and sessions helped me challenge my addiction so I could pursue a fuller better life

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Strengths: Staff, facility. Weaknesses: Bad cell service. Promises, saved my life. I was done and if I had not been referred and met the amazing inspiring admission people, who knows. The program adapted to me and I was able to adapt to the program. I am now 3 years plus sober. Active in alumni their. I am sure it is not the only way to get sober, but it worked for me. And I am no easy case I assure you.

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The patient has to be committed to being sober.

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It helped but the food stinks.

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Welcoming staff and safe environment.They offered a comprehensive treatment and therapy program it felt like it address all the issues that led to my addictions.

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Location was good but was no pleased with staff. too expensive and lack an nominate.

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Strengths: counseling. Weaknesses:price. You get quality treatment.

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Strengths: good counseling, treatment options good, food is good, compassionate caring staff Weaknesses: spoiled patients, a bit demanding. thank you.

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Location & staff was great but price was a downfall. Very helpful staff.

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Very nice. Location is good. It's more of a country club than a rehab. It's nice but expensive. Pushes AA.

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They are efficient and respectful.Very expensive. All I can say is that my family member has recovered and has been sober for two years now. They are excellent and I am happy for my family member.

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The program was efficient. However, the food was bad.

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The lodging and accommodations were great; however, they failed at getting people cured.

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The people that work there are very friendly they don't look at you as an addict they really do try to help a person out. The place is beautifully with a gym yoga and meditation groups. However, it was costly.

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Overall, they get the job done. They are very tolerant. I was always able to reach relatives in the facility.

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It was in a good location. However, poor management, ... no management ability to solve issues, no clinical staff on premises in the evening, lousy cook, and all new tech staff untrained. It is a[bout] money making ...

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Changed my life, I was once lost now I am found was blind but now I see.

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I have spent. Many years on drugs and in and out of many rehabilitation. Centers. This is the type of facility designed to save an addicts life as well as change it.

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