Empower Recovery Treatment Center in Clearwater, FL

Call (888) 834-2451 to Contact Empower Recovery Treatment Center

Overall Rating

(2.6 of 5)
Treatment Effectiveness
Accommodations & Amenities
Meals & Nutrition
2120 Range Road
Clearwater FL 33765

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.

  • Detox
    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.

Facility Highlights

Smoking permitted in designated areas

Private bedroom with WiFi and satellite TV

Most Insurance Accepted, not Medicaid

Meet the Staff

Julia Dillon

General Manager

Photo of Julia Dillon

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

Photo of James Patrick Dillon

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

Review by Rehabs.com Contributors


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.


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.


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.


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.[1]

“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.[3] "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.”


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.

[1] https://www.yelp.com/biz/empower-clearwater

[2] https://www.yelp.com/notrecommendedreviews/empower-clearwater

[3] GoogleReviews

Published on June 2018

User Reviews

Review this Center

Please note: Anyone attempting to manipulate or spam our system or the providers’ own listing pages risks having all content removed.


  • Treatment Effectiveness
  • Accommodations & Amenities
  • Meals & Nutrition
Do not send a loved one here. The director/owner is unscrupulous, unethical and a pathological liar with serious anger issues. Verbal guarantees made will NOT be provided in writing, and not honored. I paid large amounts of money for a 90-day inpatient stay, guaranteeing us 6 to 8 weeks of subsequent “free” aftercare which never took place, due to the rehab's deplorable financial condition, which resulted in the elimination of the promised aftercare program. Not only was payment demanded from us two weeks prior to due date each month, but when pressured to hand over the check to the owner, he made his priority discussing his other possible business ventures in the hopes of tapping my professional contacts. I later found out that we were charged much more than others. At the time of attendance, four out of five patients in treatment relapsed within a week of leaving, probably due to the lack of follow-up support and a structured program. During the 90 days the majority of the staff was eliminated as were the advertised amenities. Many of the staff members were compassionate, loyal and supportive. However, the turnover rate was high, all but 2 quit during the 3-month stay. At the time of dismissal, therapeutic staff was reduced to one individual. We now need to spend more money and find another program which will provide transition from a limiting, in-patient environment to the real world. We could continue to provide multiple examples of the ways in which this “ashram” took advantage of us during our most vulnerable time. However, we don’t wish to dwell on the past- but look forward to a hopeful future of recovery far away from Empower


  • Treatment Effectiveness
  • Accommodations & Amenities
  • Meals & Nutrition
Make sure to pay attention to their reviews on all sites, including the BBB. Horrible experience. Owners are not involved unless it is about money. They have zero medical background. Staff never stays long. Constantly changing rules and making them up as they go along. I have never seen such an unorganized place! Their website is not up to date and very misleading about what they provide and this was a common complaint. & Much, much more. Look them up and see for yourself. Here's your fair warning. P.S. UPDATE: I am NOT a troll. I purposely did not use my real name. They tried claiming I was a "troll" on google reviews. Like I SAID,FOR PEOPLE LOOKING FOR HELP or HELP for loved ones: look up all the reviews on several sites, for many years before until now! Also what success rates? They always say people weren't patients when they get a bad review.

L. S

  • Treatment Effectiveness
  • Accommodations & Amenities
  • Meals & Nutrition
The facility is nice, most staff are nice but don't seem knowledgeable on addiction or mental health. I they operate in a non-medication or non-medical standpoint, not offering medication changes and seem against treating mental health issues. Medical staff is not on the premises, except for the nurse who is always busy and seems to be pulled in all different directions. There seems a high turn around for staff, the higher-ups don't seem to value the staff. in the span of 2 months I saw good people come and go. The food is misrepresented, they say they offer a chef, but the food comes from a place called "fit life", so basically it's brought in and you microwave every meal.


  • Treatment Effectiveness
  • Accommodations & Amenities
  • Meals & Nutrition
Not what they say it is. Leisure activities are a plus. There is no medical staff except for a nurse, who is very qualified. My son felt that medical services lacked, as he did not see a psychiatrist at all while there. No psychiatrist.

Official Facility Response

Dear Anonymous, Thank you for your feedback. Empower Treatment Centers prides itself on giving the best care possible to its clients and providing a safe and comfortable environment for them to focus on their Mind/Body/Spirit recovery. If you believe there was an issue with your sons stay at our facility we invite you to contact us immediately so that we may resolve the issue. Please call us at (888) 834-2451 so we can learn more about your specific situation. Our reputation and success rate is something we pride ourselves on and believe that the hundreds of success stories on our website are a testament to the level of care Empower Treatment Centers provides. Our success rate is documented and our results are independently audited. Not only is a Psychiatrist available to each and every Empower client, it is required for licensing. There is nothing more important to us than the well being of our clients and the success they achieve in and outside our facility. Thank you again for your feedback and we look forward to speaking with you about this issue. -Empower Treatment Centers


  • Treatment Effectiveness
  • Accommodations & Amenities
  • Meals & Nutrition
I highly recommend Empower for anyone who needs help with addiction recovery and wants to truly change their life. The owners truly care about each individual in this program. The staff are exceptional. I cannot say enough about this program and will be forever indebtet to the Empower team,


  • Treatment Effectiveness
  • Accommodations & Amenities
  • Meals & Nutrition
I am an attorney who has had clients go to Empower for treatment. Their facility really helped my clients. Further, they assisted in assuring any help I needed during the course of representation for my clients. I had no trouble getting their DCF and JCO licenses accepted in any court I have submitted to for my people and their staff assisted in getting anything that my clients needed for their matters.


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