Treatment Center Setting
- Residential Neighborhood
- Beach Community
AToN Center Philosophy
At Aton Center, individuals struggling with drug or alcohol abuse are provided a range of residential addiction treatment services for lasting sobriety. Services provided include medically-assisted detoxification, family therapy, energy healing, breathing and stress reduction coursework, yoga, meditation, massage therapy, acupuncture, Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), hypnotherapy, personal training, watsu, and more.
Areas of Specialization
Some facilities have an addiction treatment protocol that all patients or clients are expected to follow, while others customize or individualize treatment based on a person’s unique needs and circumstances. Factors that may affect treatment decisions include age, lifestyle, medical conditions, type of drug, religious beliefs, etc.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
The focus of cognitive behavioral therapy (also called CBT) is helping people to understand the thoughts and emotions that underlie their addiction with the goal of learning new, healthier and more productive ways to understand and express themselves.
Client & Family Support Groups
Group therapy is a vital component of addiction recovery treatment, considered as important and effective (sometimes even more so) than individual therapy. Benefits include reducing isolation and loneliness and providing the opportunity to learn from others in recovery. In the addiction setting, group therapy is run by trained professionals who guide participants toward a shared goal of recovery.
Facilities that offer “holistic therapy” see and treat patients in the context of their entire lives and health status. They treat the “whole person,” not just the addiction.
I tried all of the 12-step options to try to stop drinking, I tried everything I could on my own, but it didn’t work. AToN worked. I am now sober, and I am using the tools that I learned and practiced at AToN to stay that way. The difference at AToN is that it is not about just giving something up. It is about recognizing why you picked it up in the first place and then (I think most importantly) how to fill those needs in a healthy way, a way that makes you happy and peaceful instead of shameful and guilty.
I checked into your program [at the beginning of] 2013, and have been sober every day since. I was struggling with a long-standing addiction to benzodiazapines and marijuana, an eating disorder, self-harm, and depression, a destructive relationship, and within that last year of using I had also been using meth and had become agoraphobic. Man, have things changed since then. When I think about that part of my life, I feel like it was just a movie I saw, or some strange person that I used to know, it doesn’t feel like it was me. My stay and work at Aton was the bridge between that old, destructive person and the person I am today. I’ll be forever grateful for the care I received and the tools I learned at your facility.
I came to AToN in August 2011. I was a broken shell of a person, I had no hope and had suicidal thoughts daily. I felt comforted and cared for and in a safe environment the moment I walked through the doors. For the first time in a really long time i felt things where going to be okay. I was able to open up to the clinicians like I had never before.
ATon was a life changing experience. This was the 3rd rehab I’ve been to & I’ve been able to stay sober for over a year now. Everything about my life has improved & I can honestly say I wouldn’t change a thing right now. Drugs & alcohol, low self esteem & derpression consumed my life & now after the amazing doctors & staff at ATon I have a whole new outlook on life, priorities, & what truly matters I’m the long run.
A lot of rehabs claim to have the full package then fail to deliver. AToN actually delivers. Incredible staff, incredible services, incredible program. Holistic therapies daily, individual sessions daily, and they work with you to create a strong program of recovery for after you discharge. I’m 90 days sober this week and could not have done it without AToN.
The setting is impeccable and the staff is second to none. One of the most beautiful treatment centers I've seen and experienced.
Tremendous. Flexible for the recalcitrant yet firm for those seeking solid methods to assist in continued recovery. Traditional group and individual therapy as well as holistic massage, hypnotherapy and acupuncture. Not a magic pill but real help for the motivated.
Meet the Staff
Dr. Leslie Sanders
Dr. Sanders, AToN’s Program Director, is a licensed clinical Psychologist with over ten years of experience. Originally from the east coast, she realized her passion for psychology during a high school psychology class and went on to graduate from Northeastern University with a Bachelors degree in Psychology. While living in Boston, Dr. Sanders worked for many years in residential care and community mental health. After moving to San Diego in 2003, Dr. Sanders enrolled in the California School of Professional Psychology at Alliant International University. Her APA accredited program culminated with her dissertation on the opinions of child custody evaluators with regard to domestic violence and alienation. Throughout her graduate education, Dr. Sanders gained experience with many populations in multiple clinical settings such as inpatient assessment and short-term treatment, long-term insight oriented therapy with adults, trauma informed treatment with children, and child custody evaluations. Most recently she was a department director at a large private facility assessing and treating dually diagnosed in and outpatients. Dr. Sanders takes an eclectic approach, pulling from CBT and psychodynamic modalities to help individuals overcome substance use disorders, address underlying psychological conditions, and ultimately realize their full potential. As an active member of the San Diego Psychological Association she regularly attends committee meetings and conferences in order to stay current with community standards in the field.
Dr. Cassandra Cannon
Dr. Cannon is delighted to join AToN team as a Clinical Health Psychologist providing Biofeedback treatment to residents. Her clinical expertise in Psychophysiology and Biofeedback assists residents in developing and applying stress management skills for relapse prevention. She has been certified by the Biofeedback Certification International Alliance since 2004 and is a Fellow. She completed her Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from Brigham Young University. She attained her Master’s Degree in Health Psychology and her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from California School of Professional Psychology in San Diego. She has worked in multiple settings including acute inpatient settings to long-term outpatient settings. She has worked with child, adolescent, adult and geriatric populations. She has ethically treated individuals with many different diagnoses including but not limited to chemical dependency, mood, anxiety and psychotic disorders. She finds joy in instilling hope in those who are earnestly seeking relief from addictive diseases and mental illness, and enjoys the challenge of leading the clinical team.
Dr. Chad K. Cox
Dr. Cox has been involved in psychotherapeutic interventions for the past 11 years. Dr. Cox received his Bachelors in Science in Psychology from the University of Washington in Seattle. He then attended the California Schools of Professional Psychology in San Diego where he received his Doctorate in Psychology (Psy.D). Dr. Cox has had a variety of experiences that qualify him to attend to the needs of those suffering from addiction and psychological difficulties. He has provided professional and ethical services diverse groups of patients. His training included counseling individuals, couples and families in a number of settings including a homeless shelter, crisis house, hospital and counseling centers. As a licensed psychologist he has spent the past 5 years providing proficient care in treating mental health problems such as depression, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder and others. He has also demonstrated success in treating patients in early and later stages of recovery from alcohol and substance abuse and dependency. His professional mission is to help people find their path towards health and happiness.
Classically French trained Jeff Bonilla is the award-winning Executive Chef, Executive Pastry Chef and Micro Green Farmer in San Diego. A native of Southern California, Jeff started young by watching his mother create immaculate cakes, pies and seasonal goodies in their home kitchen. In his free time, Jeff enjoys spending time with his wife, surfing and playing string instruments.
Rehabs.com 360 Guide
ABOUT ATON CENTER
The AToN Center is a luxurious San Diego rehab for adults seeking treatment for substance abuse and co-occurring disorders. The facility is one of California’s 485 long-term, non-hospital recovery programs. The facility also offers extended-care options and on-site detox services.
TREATMENT & ASSESSMENT
The AToN Center offers a variety of treatment options, and the staff will work with the client to decide which services are appropriate. The admissions process begins with an initial phone assessment to pre-qualify clients. This assessment focuses on clients’ addiction history and financial condition. Once pre-qualified, clients complete a comprehensive medical and behavioral health assessment.
Treatment at the AToN Center is a minimum of 30 days. However, the center recommends patients stay for 90 days. Programming utilizes a range of evidence-based practices, including biofeedback, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR), and trauma-informed counseling. Clients attend individual and group counseling daily, and family therapy is encouraged to build strong support networks.
The 12-step method, which is used in up to 48% of treatment facilities in the U.S., is also incorporated into programming. However, Alcoholics Anonymous (AA)/Narcotics Anonymous (NA) meeting attendance is not mandatory. Clients may instead opt to attend SMART Recovery, which focuses on reinforces clinical techniques to help clients maintain coping skills and identify irrational thought patterns.
Holistic activities, such as yoga, hypnotherapy, meditation, acupuncture, and massage therapy, are also offered. In addition, clients take excursions, known as “exposure sessions,” to area parks for hiking, along with field trips to restaurants, the zoo, the beach, and various shopping destinations.
AToN boasts an impressive staff-to-client ratio of 3:1, and the treatment team includes board-certified psychiatrists, licensed psychologists, and certified alcohol and drug counselors (CADC). It is also a part of the 19% of facilities in the country accredited by the Joint Commission. Of the over two dozen individuals polled by Rehabs.com to date, the 16 individuals polled on the matter praised the aptitude of staff.
Staff Experience and Training: 4.9/5
ACCOMMODATIONS & AMENITIES
The AToN Center’s accommodations are cozy and comfortable, with room for 30 residents at a time in both private and shared rooms. Amenities include a salt-water pool, fire pit, and sand volleyball court. Wi-Fi access, cell phones, and computers are permitted, and rooms are furnished with Egyptian cotton sheets, private marble-adorned bathrooms, and flat-screen TVs.
A full-time chef prepares gourmet meals according to any food allergies and individual preferences. Day passes are available after week two, and clients are allowed to mingle and use common areas between therapy sessions. The 17 reviewers polled by Rehabs.com on the matters praised the cleanliness of the facility and exercise and leisure activities.
Facility Cleanliness and Upkeep: 4.9/5
Exercise and Leisure Activities: 4.7/5
WHAT ALUMNI SAY
At the time of this writing, 27 alumni have submitted feedback about the AToN Center, with 13 alumni completing more comprehensive surveys about various metrics. Overall, alumni gave the facility very positive feedback regarding their experience at the center.
Alumni generally expressed satisfaction with the available counseling options. One alum wrote alum wrote: “I received 5 one on ones per week with a Psychologist, 4 Holistic Sessions, a nutrition plan that help me get healthy again, not to mention a treatment plan developed exclusively for me.”
Clients also tended to praise the facility's holistic offerings, as well as the amount of family participation.
Counseling Options: 5/5
Holistic Offerings: 5/5
Family Participation: 4.9/5
Secondary sources support positive opinions. On Google, AToN Center earned an average of 4.9 out of five stars from 13 reviews to date. Alumni generally expressed satisfaction with the program, “beautiful” facility, and “incredibly caring, responsive and responsible.”
On Yelp, 14 of the 16 reviews available were positive five out of five star reviews.  Alumni indicate that the program is effective and “life changing.” Alumni highlighted how it was the “tools” they learned at the facility to stay sober.
WHAT FRIENDS AND FAMILY SAY
At the time of this writing, four loved ones submitted feedback to Rehabs.com about the AToN Center. Of the three loved ones polled about additional metrics, two gave very positive ratings while the other gave a mixed review.
The loved ones asked about family participation and whether it was worth the cost all rated these metrics five out of five stars. However, they did gave more mixed opinions for exercise and leisure opportunities (two-, four-, and five-star ratings). However, loved ones tended to praise staff. "My loved ones experience was totally awesome and was cured and still is cured to this day of a cocaine addiction," one loved one wrote. Another loved ones described staff as "very knowledgeable."
WHAT STAFF SAY
At the time of this writing, five staff members submitted feedback about their experience working at the AToN Center, which was also largely positive. Two staff members gave five out of five stars for the facility’s holistic offerings, connectivity, family participation, and available counseling options. "Excellent clinical team," one staff member wrote.
The treatment costs for the residential program start at $1,500 per day and $45,000 for 30 days. The facility accepts most PPO policies for full payment. AToN also offers some financial assistance for clients who qualify. The AToN Center is an out-of-network insurance provider and accepts all major credit cards. The thirteen individuals polled on the matter appreciated the cost of the facility.
To help the community address the growing problem with addiction, the AToN center shows the community examples of what recovery looks like through its social media platforms.
Published on November 2018
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