Gateway Foundation— Lake Villa Philosophy
Since 1968 our goal has been straightforward: help clients get their life back on track and achieve a life of sobriety, free from drug use and symptoms of mental illness. A life that is productive, socially responsible, and healthy. Gateway Foundation is the largest nonprofit treatment provider in the U.S. specializing in substance use disorders for men, women, adolescents, and clients diagnosed with co-occurring mental health disorders. Gateway's professional clinicians support over 6000 people a day to successfully complete treatment by developing a personalized plan to treat the underlying causes of substance use disorder —not just their addiction to drugs or alcohol.
Areas of Specialization
Dual Diagnosis Program
Co-occurring disorders can be difficult to diagnose because of the complexity of symptoms. There are many possible combinations of dual diagnoses, which means there are many possible symptoms. Today, addiction and psychiatric health are viewed more as part of a continuum, and clinicians are specially trained to deal with patients who have a co-occurring disorder. We are certified as one of the only dual diagnosis rehab centers in the Midwest.
Medical Assisted Treatment
To help an individual overcome mild to moderate physical dependency from alcohol, opiates and benzodiazepines, Gateway Foundation recognizes the benefits of medication assisted treatment to address withdrawal symptoms, cravings and detoxification.
Meet the Staff
Dr. Thomas Britton
President & CEO
Dr. Thomas Britton began his career in behavioral health as a counselor where he developed a passion for effectively treating individuals with co-occurring substance use and mental health disorders. For more than twenty years, Dr. Britton has been dedicated to helping others through various roles as a therapist, crisis worker, educator, clinical supervisor, executive director and most recently president for a division of Acadia Health Care. Dr. Britton believes strongly in the power of recovery, so much that in 2006, he founded a North Carolina organization that advocates for treatment for those without resources. His devotion to the field and a commitment to learning led him to earn a Master's Degree in both Addiction and Marriage and Family Therapy from Appalachian State University in Boone, NC. Understanding the importance of strong leadership skills, Dr. Britton went on to earn a Doctorate in Public Health, Executive Management from Gillings School of Global Health at University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC. Dr. Britton has aligned his personal mission to help others with his life's work. From his early days as a clinician, to his present leadership role, his focus remains on helping individuals and their families get their lives back on track.
Karen Wolownik Albert, LCSW
Karen Wolownik Albert is the Executive Director of Gateway Foundation's Lake County Treatment Services including a residential program in Lake Villa, and an outpatient program in Gurnee, Illinois. Ms. Wolownik Albert has over 20 years of behavioral health experience, and has worked in a variety of outpatient and residential settings throughout her career.
She earned her Bachelors of Science, and Masters in Social Work from the University of Michigan, and is a licensed clinical social worker in Illinois. Ms. Wolownik Albert is an experienced trainer locally, and also presented at national conferences on a wide array of topics. She is on the Board of Directors of the Lake County Opioid Initiative, as well as a co-chair of the Treatment, Recovery and Harm Reduction Committee, and a core team member in the development of the A Way Out Program, a law assisted diversion program in Lake County.
Rehabs.com 360 Guide
ABOUT GATEWAY FOUNDATION
The Gateway Foundation operates more than a dozen residential and outpatient substance abuse treatment centers across Illinois and Delaware. Set on 43 rural acres about 50 miles north of Chicago, the Lake Villa treatment center serves Lake County and surrounding areas through its gender-specific residential treatment for adults and residential programming for teens and young men seeking treatment for substance abuse and co-occurring disorders. Medical detox including Suboxone and Vivitrol is available on site.
TREATMENT & ASSESSMENT
Treatment at the Gateway Foundation - Lake Villa facility begins with an assessment by trained addiction counselors. Clients meet with counselors for an assessment and work with counselors to create an individualized treatment plan. Clients are then assigned to the appropriate program.
Treatment is based on the 12-steps principles combined with education, recreational therapy, and community building. The length of treatment varies according to each client’s needs, though most complete residential care in two to four weeks. For those with co-occurring mental health disorders, the facility offers on-site psychiatry and other psychological treatment methods.
Along with the 12-steps, treatment plans consist of individual counseling, educational groups, family counseling and education, recreational and team-building activities, and relapse-prevention training. Medication-assisted treatments are also available as needed. Medical staff members are available around-the-clock.
Treatment also emphasizes physical exercise and social activity, offering clients hiking, volleyball, and basketball. Designed specifically for older teen boys and young men between the ages of 18 and 23, the Young Men’s Bridge Program focuses on health education, living in balance, maturity development, and anger management.
Family involvement is encouraged throughout the program, including during aftercare services. Weekly aftercare sessions are available for clients that complete the program. Family counseling is also made available as needed.
The treatment staff at Gateway Foundation - Lake Villa includes psychiatrists, physicians, social workers, nurses, and master’s level counselors. All clients receive 24-hour support while living on-site.
ACCOMMODATIONS & AMENITIES
Inside the 43-acre Gateway Foundation - Lake Villa campus, there is an indoor gym with a basketball court, a weight room with cardio equipment, a sand volleyball court, and comfortable, outdoor patio areas. The facility has a home-like environment with clinical facilities throughout. Several areas of the facility are lavishly decorated and are often used for meetings. There is also an on-site cafeteria. Clients stay in shared bedrooms with up to four clients per room. Each room has an in-room bathroom.
While in treatment, teens can continue their education through Antioch High School, and families may visit on weekends. The eight Rehabs.com survey respondents polled on the matter gave an average rating of 4.25 out of five stars for the facility’s cleanliness.
WHAT ALUMNI SAY
Of the seven alumni reviews submitted to Rehabs.com at the time of this writing, roughly half were very positive, the other half mixed.
By and large, reviewers rated the facility highly for the staff’s level of training and experience at four out of five stars or higher, but gave lower ratings, often just one out of five, for the holistic offerings. “I loved this place,” alum Michelle wrote. “Have been in others and this is the one that had the right combination of AA and therapy and groups.” Others, such as K.M.K., found favor in the aftercare provisions.
However, some alumni found the facility excessively strict on phone usage, while others felt that extracurricular activities were limited. “There is not enough exercise offered,” an anonymous alum complained. All but one of the alumni gave one out of five stars for its holistic offerings.
On Google, Gateway received an average rating of 3.3 out of five stars from 30 reviews to date.  Most alumni praised the kind staff members but called the program “tough.” In a representative review, alum Monica wrote: “Staff are very knowledgeable on addiction and they may seem harsh and strict but that is exactly what an addict needs is a routine and rules that need to be followed to retrain our addict brains. The counselors are so helpful and professional and the campus itself is absolutely GORGEOUS.”
On CiteHealth, the facility earned 2.83 out of five stars from six reviews.  Reviewers wrote that the facility was beautiful and the staff kind. Some of the negative reviews came from individuals not able to get admitted at this facility.
WHAT FRIENDS & FAMILY SAY
The six loved ones polled by Rehabs.com at the time of this writing gave mostly positive feedback.
Together, they awarded the facility above-average ratings of 4.4 out of five stars for its family program, 4.17 stars for its affordability, 3.83 stars for its counseling options, and 3.83 stars for its exercise and leisure options. Like alumni, some loved ones found the holistic offerings sub-par, though nearly half of them listed no program weaknesses.
In addition, several individuals commended the facility for its involvement of families. “Good program to help parents understand what their kids are going through,” one reviewer wrote. Yet another wished for more supervision, and a third reviewer felt that visiting hours were too short.
WHAT STAFF SAY
Rehabs.com has also received a pair of survey responses from former staff members, both of whom recommended treatment here. “ONE MUST WANT AMD BE SERIOUS ABOUT ONES TREATMENT, POINT BLANK AND VERY SIMPLE,” R.L.D. claimed. This staff member gave five out of five stars for treatment effectiveness, accommodations and amenities, and meals and nutrition.
In responding to commentary about unqualified staff members, Ressie, the other, told of “educated and caring staff that take all residents care very serious.”
Gateway is in-network with many health insurance plans, including Aetna, Anthem, Blue Cross Blue Shield, and United. Medicaid is accepted for some programs, and state funding and charitable assistance may also be available.
Published on January 2018
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