Didi Hirsch Via Avanta Residential Center Philosophy
Didi Hirsch’s Via Avanta is a residential treatment facility for chemically dependent women and mothers struggling with addiction, psychiatric disorders, domestic violence, and poverty. Clients receive primary medical care, HIV testing, prenatal education, legal assistance, vocational training, employment assistance, and housing placement. Addiction services provided include 12-Step resources, addiction counseling, group support networks, specialized psychiatric care for adults and children, meditation, fitness facilities, and yoga. Parenting classes and family therapy sessions are provided as well.
Areas of Specialization
The term “12 Step Program” describes a way to recover from addiction that is based on the model developed by Alcoholics Anonymous. Many drug and alcohol treatment centers base their treatment on 12 steps – the first three of which are situational, the next four addressing the practical issues created by the addiction, followed by two steps focused on making amends for hurting others. Steps 10 and 11 involve a deeper examination of the previous steps and the final step is focused on helping others avoid and recover from addiction.
Research shows that the odds of successful, sustained recovery from addiction are far higher when family members and loved ones are involved in treatment. Drug and alcohol addiction often have genetic roots, whether related to substance abuse, mental illness or both. Family dynamics also play a role and, often, family members are the first to realize a loved one has developed an addiction. Also, it’s important for family members to understand and embrace the lifestyle changes that are required to sustain recovery.
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ABOUT DIDI HIRSCH’S VIA AVANTA RESIDENTIAL CENTER
Founded in the 1930s, Didi Hirsch Mental Health Services was the first nonprofit outpatient mental health treatment center in Los Angeles. Today, the organization operates 11 facilities in Southern California, including Via Avanta — Spanish for “the way forward” — a residential treatment facility for women who are struggling with substance abuse, mental illness, domestic violence, and poverty. Pregnant women are welcome, and children under the age of six may stay with their mothers while mothers receive treatment.
The facility is located north of Los Angeles, in the San Fernando Valley.
TREATMENT & ASSESSMENT
The center provides a multidisciplinary, holistic program that addresses the client’s mental, social, and physical health, as well as legal issues. The addiction itself is treated through 12-step participation, addiction counseling, and support groups; however, this is only one facet of the program at Via Avanta.
Mental-health therapy services are available for both the women attending treatment and their children. For women, therapy takes a strengths-based approach specially designed to help them overcome trauma. There are also other specialized psychiatric and therapeutic services for women and children alike, as required, and family bonding activities such as parenting classes, a playground, family therapy, and “mommy and me” activities.
The center cares for clients’ spiritual and physical health through yoga, meditation, and an exercise room. Medical needs are provided for through partnerships with primary caregivers, HIV testing, and prenatal education for pregnant residents.
Via Avanta can also provide advocacy to help with legal problems, and assistance with employment, housing, and other necessary aspects of independent living. The center also operates a dedicated program for homeless women, which provides dual diagnosis treatment and pledges permanent housing within six months.
The staff includes psychiatrists and licensed clinicians with multidisciplinary spheres of expertise. The staff offer bilingual and bicultural backgrounds, and are trained in evidence-based treatment methodologies and military culture. The single alum polled by Rehabs.com to date rated her counselor’s level of training four out of five stars.
ACCOMMODATIONS & AMENITIES
According to an LA Daily News article from March 2016, the facility recently underwent a $300,000 renovation. The single alum polled by Rehabs.com to date gave the facility three, four, and five out of five stars, respectively, for its meals, accommodations, and cleanliness.
WHAT ALUMNI SAY
The single alum polled by Rehabs.com to date would recommend the facility, and gave it five out of five stars for its overall effectiveness, its staff support, and the overall quality of its individual and group counseling — though she also gave it lower ratings of just one star for its holistic offerings and three stars for its exercise and leisure offerings. “I loved my counselor and think it was the best decision I ever made. The cost is very low and the benefits very high. It is a strict program, but that was to my benefit and to the benefit of anyone serious about recovery. I owe my life to this facility,” the reviewer wrote anonymously.
At the time of this writing, secondary sites yielded unanimously positive feedback: the center had an average rating of 4.3 out of five stars based on 16 reviews on Facebook, Reviewers left impassioned commentary, describing their experience at Via Avanta as life-changing, and crediting the facility with their long-term sobriety — though several also echoed the alum who told Rehabs.com that the program was strict. “Truly a life changing program. Saved my life . Thanks to via I'm going on 8 yes clean,” Rachael wrote in a review on Facebook.
WHAT STAFF SAY
“It is an overall great facility,” a single anonymous staffer told Rehabs.com. However, the staff member did not leave any ratings.
According to Via Avanta’s website, the facility receives county funding, though it’s not clear whether this covers the entire cost of treatment, or whether clients themselves must pay for their stay.
Published on December 2017
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