Empower Recovery Treatment Center Philosophy
eEmpower offers an alternative to conventional 12-step treatment for alcoholism and drug abuse. The residential rehab believes that everyone possesses the power to change their perceptions and behaviors, and encourages clients to look beyond traditional recovery labels. A wide array of services is offered, including inpatient treatment, day/night care, intensive outpatient (IOP), and outpatient treatment. The substance abuse facility takes a holistic approach to recovery and aims to create a comfortable, spa-like environment where individuals can begin the journey of sobriety.
Areas of Specialization
Trauma & Associative Awareness Therapy (AAT)
Associative Awareness Therapy (AAT) uses the brain’s innate ability to adapt to change in a healing way, essentially “retraining” the brain to respond differently to familiar memories of trauma or pain.
Though not all rehab facilities offer “medical detoxification,” all people with an addiction to drugs or alcohol will experience intense physical and emotional changes and discomfort as their bodies react to withdrawal of the addictive substance. Many people use the term “detox” to refer to the period of time (ranging from a few days to a week) when the body is reacting to an addict’s decision to stop using.
Meet the Staff
Julia developed and authored Empower’s trademarked Perception Therapy® program: a therapeutic technique/treatment model designed to provide psychotherapeutic assistance to clients suffering from substance abuse and/or mental health disorders. She also authored The Perception Therapy Wellness Guide©, and created a therapeutic card deck, journal, and positive and experiential affirmations card deck that Empower staff uses as part of our treatment protocol. She is an accomplished yogi, and the Founder of Affirming Life Yoga™. For more than a decade, Julia served as the CEO of Alternative Treatment International (ATI) and now as the consulting GM.
James Patrick Dillon
President & CEO
James earned a B.A. in Literature and Writing from Columbia University in the City of New York. James has received initiation and training in Transcendental Meditation™ as taught by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi; has completed Self-Realization Fellowship study of the teachings of Paramahansa Yogananda, and in 2010, after nearly a year of study, and earned Aquarian Teacher certification as a Kundalini Yoga Instructor in the school of Kundalini Yoga as taught by Yogi Bhajan.® In December of 2008, Mata Amritananda Mayi Devi accepted James, a devout Christian, into a Guru-disciple relationship and inspired him to begin a life of selfless service.
Rehabs.com 360 Guide
Situated on a 15,000 square-foot garden in the sunny coastal city of Clearwater, Fla., the treatment organization Empower (formerly known as ATI Wellness) runs one of the state's 208 (29.1 percent) inpatient programs for individuals struggling with chemical dependency, as well as mental health concerns such as anxiety, depression, self-esteem issues, and post-traumatic stress disorder.
Intensive outpatient (IOP) programs and day treatment are both also available at this center. Empower takes a holistic, alternative approach to therapy, treating a maximum of 10 clients at a time.
TREATMENT & ASSESSMENT
Empower positions itself as an alternative to 12-step programs and support groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). Following the trademarked “Perception Recovery” method, the center strongly encourages clients to defy and transcend societal label in their attempt to move forward in life. “We affirm only the uniqueness of each individual, and never ask clients to identify themselves as their past behaviors,” the center’s webpage states. “Instead, we focus on challenging each client to understand how their perception of themselves and the world has driven their thoughts, and see that their thoughts have driven their speech, and their speech has driven their actions.”
Each week, residents attend over 40 hours of treatment and classes. A large part of their 30 days in residential treatment is spent in individual therapy and group sessions, while the rest is split amongst educational workshops, spiritual development, and alternative health and wellness offerings such as Tai Chi, yoga, art therapy, and meditation. Day treatment is much the same except that clients live off-site, and IOP runs nine to 12 hours each week.
Empower’s multidisciplinary staff consists of licensed therapists, counselors, a metabolic specialist, a chiropractor, a licensed dietitian, a licensed art therapist, and a music therapist. The center also boasts a staff-to-client ratio of 3:1. In Florida, 98.4 percent of substance abuse treatment facilities have continuing education requirements for staff.
ACCOMMODATIONS & AMENITIES
Empower’s luxury accommodations offer clients their own private room equipped with satellite TV and wireless internet. This center boasts an individualized approach to treatment, working with a maximum of 10 clients at a time, much below the national average of 18 clients in a residential facility at a time and 40 clients in a given outpatient program, as of 2016.
Meals are prepared by an on-site chef and can accommodate personal dietary needs or restrictions. Guests can use their cellphones and laptops when not in session. All clients and their guests have access to health and fitness classes.
WHAT ALUMNI SAY
The two alumni to provide feedback to Rehabs.com to date shared mixed experiences. The first former client, Pat, awarded treatment effectiveness five out of five stars, referred to the staff as "exceptional" and added, "I highly recommend."
L.S., on the other hand, acknowledged that the staff were "nice" but also felt that they "didn't seem knowledgeable" and wrote: "There seems a high turn around for staff" Giving both treatment effectiveness and meals &nutrition only one out of five stars, L.S. commented that the food was "misrepresented."
Individuals across different review sites expressed mixed perspectives about Empower. On Yelp, where the facility has a low, two-star average rating based on five reviews, mismanagement, poor intake and discharge procedures, low-quality food, and problems with billing and insurance were all listed criticisms.
“Owners are disconnected and could care less about the patients. There is so much drama going on between the staff members that it creates depression and anxiety on the clients. I was in better shape when I went in then when I left,” John commented in a representative review. In the "not recommended" review section of Yelp, however, many of the 14 reviewers reported positive experiences at this facility. "The therapists are the most caring and supportive people!" M.S. wrote in a positive response.
On Google, 11 reviewers generated a 3.2 out of five-star average rating to date. "Not a very professional place," J.B. summarized. Yet, many more former clients expressed satisfaction with their treatment, commenting upon the beautiful location and calling the program life-saving.
“In January I attended this program for 30 days it changed my life I learned alot about myself and why I made certain decisions that affected my life in a negative way the ceo of the company is a amazing man very caring and giving of his heart and time he was born for this and its not a job to him its his life,” M.G.J. wrote. Additionally, alum Kevin thanked the center for “helping people relieve the anxiety depression dependence on intoxicants and to really get who they are.”
WHAT FRIENDS & FAMILY SAY
At the time of this writing, two family members and friends had reported to Rehabs.com. "I am an attorney who has had clients go to Empower for treatment. Their facility really helped my clients," one individual wrote.
The other respondent, though, the parent of a former client, wrote, "Not what they say it is. They have zero success rate." Giving low ratings of two stars for counseling options and one star for affordability, discharge procedures, and treatment effectiveness, this loved one repeatedly cited understaffing as the facility's biggest problem.
Residential fees come to $900 per day or $22,000 per month. Empower’s website encourages those interested in outpatient pricing to speak with an advisor by phone. The center does not accept Medicare or Medicaid but does participate with major insurance providers and offers financing options.
Published on June 2018
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