1. Where is Muir Wood Adolescent & Family Services located?
Muir Wood’s residential campuses are located in Sonoma County, California, approximately 30 miles north of San Francisco, in CLovis, CA in the Central Valley, and in Riverside, CA.
2. How many teens are in Muir Wood at any one time?
Muir Wood only treats 76 teens at any one time across 12 idyllic campuses. Each house accommodates just 6 teens.
3. What are the sleeping arrangements?
Two teens occupy a spacious and well-appointed room at any one time. Bedding and linens are of the highest quality and there is ample closet and storage space. Our goal is to be a home away from home for the teens in our care.
4. What is the average length of stay at Muir Wood?
The average length of stay is 30-45 days. Our team may recommend a longer length of stay when clinically indicated. However, the length of stay is determined by the adolescent’s progress in treatment, readiness to accept help, and insurance authorization. Parents are updated weekly on the progress of their child and our clinical team works collaboratively with the home therapist to discharge the teen.
5. Who will be providing treatment?
The treatment team at Muir Wood’s residential program consists of highly qualified staff trained specifically in adolescent development, co-occurring mental health issues, substance use disorders, and addiction. David Smith, MD, FASAM, the immediate past Medical Director for the State of California Alcohol and Drug Programs, Past President of the American Society of Addiction Medicine and recognized by many of his peers as THE foremost authority on the treatment of addiction in teens, leads our medical team. Alongside Dr. Smith are a number of other board-certified psychiatrists, licensed therapists, certified chemical dependency counselors, registered nurses, and other health staff.
6. What are the other teens in treatment like?
Teens with a history of violence, teens that are actively suicidal or psychotic, or that exhibit behaviors that would ultimately disrupt the treatment milieu or harm themselves or others, are not appropriate for Muir Wood. At Muir Wood, each teen is carefully screened by the admissions team, clinical director, and the medical director for appropriateness. At Muir Wood, we are committed to maintaining a treatment environment that is both safe and secure for all residents.
7. How often will my teen receive individual therapy?
With only 70 teens in treatment at any one time, and just 18 at each program, the clinical team at Muir Wood has the ability to meet with residents several times weekly for individual therapy. This high level of one-on-one therapy allows teens to address sensitive underlying issues with their primary therapist that may otherwise go unaddressed in the group therapy setting.
8. What is the academic program like at Muir Wood?
At Muir Wood, academics are a top priority. The Muir Wood Learning Center is recognized as a supplemental education program by the State of California Department of Education and is accredited by WASC (the Western Association of Schools and Colleges), and our staff includes masters-level, multiple-subject state-credentialed teachers and single-subject credentialed teachers. Teens are in school for a minimum of three hours per day, Monday-Friday. We typically work with the teen’s home school, with the parents acting as a liaison to obtain schoolwork. Our goal is to keep teens current in their academics while enrolled at Muir Wood to help ensure seamless reintegration back to their home school following treatment. Another option that parents may choose is to have their child enroll in fully accredited distance learning courses taken online.
9. Is psychological testing and assessment offered?
Dr. Barbara Nova, a recognized authority on psychological testing and assessment, works with Muir Wood residents providing on-site psychological testing and assessments when clinically indicated. Dr. Nova works in collaboration with the Muir Wood clinical director and psychiatrists to determine if neuropsychological testing is appropriate. In addition, all residents are given multiple assessments upon admission and throughout their treatment stay. Every resident will be thoroughly assessed by our psychiatrist upon admission with weekly follow up; given a thorough nursing assessment by our registered nurse upon admission with weekly follow ups; as well as assessed by both the licensed clinical director and primary therapist upon admission with weekly updates. In addition, the treatment team at Muir Wood’s residential teen rehab meets weekly, including physicians, nurses, licensed therapists, and counselors to discuss each teen’s progress and ongoing treatment plan.
10. What is the role of the family in the treatment process?
Addiction is a family disease and the family must be involved in the treatment process if treatment is to be optimized. Family involvement at Muir Wood’s residential teen rehab is a core component of treatment and family participation is mandatory. This includes weekly individual family therapy sessions with parents, teens, and a clinician and a commitment from parents to attend meetings in the community. For families that are out of the area and cannot attend weekly individual family therapy, Muir Wood utilizes Zoom to conduct remote sessions. At Muir Wood, we do everything possible to involve the parents in the treatment program to help ensure recovery for both the individual teen and family system.
11. Do you provide gender-specific and gender-separate treatment?
Yes. gender-specific and gender-separate treatment significantly increases treatment efficacy by providing a safe and secure environment for adolescents to explore sensitive underlying issues such as trauma or depression that lead to their need to self-medicate with drugs and alcohol. A gender-specific treatment setting also minimizes the obvious distraction of a mixed-gender setting, allowing teens to focus on interpersonal issues rather than the opposite sex. It is widely accepted that our gender-separate setting for teens is an optimal residential teen rehab setting.
12. Will my teen’s treatment remain confidential?
Absolutely. Every teen’s treatment at Muir Wood’s residential teen rehab is protected under the Health Insurance and Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). This act gives the right to privacy for individuals age 12-18. Just as your teen’s medical records are protected when they visit their internal medicine physician at home, so to are the medical records protected while they’re at Muir Wood. In addition, every resident and parent at Muir Wood signs a confidentiality agreement upon admission and every visitor who comes to Muir Wood is asked to sign a confidentiality agreement as well.
13. How does adolescent treatment differ from adult treatment?
The treatment of teens requires a very different approach than that of treating adults. Adolescents require a treatment model that focuses on habilitation rather than rehabilitation, emphasizing the teaching of psychosocial skills. Adults on the other hand, require a rehabilitation model that focuses on pre-existing recovery skills. Additionally, adolescent treatment must take into consideration the developmental differences between adolescents and adults and the high correlation between substance use and co-occurring mental health issues common in adolescents who abuse drugs and alcohol.
14. What should my child bring to Muir Wood?
Please send enough comfortable clothes to last ten days. Residents at Muir Wood’s residential teen rehab have the ability to wash their belongings every week and parents can always bring other articles of clothing when they visit weekly.
Also, please pack comfortable socks, shoes, and boots as we often take hikes and play outdoors. You may also wish to pack non-alcohol-based toiletries such as toothpaste, deodorant, shampoo, etc.
Muir Wood provides toiletries, but many teens like to bring their own brand. Residents are also encouraged to bring personal items such as photos for the corkboard above each bed.
The program provides all linens, pillows, towels, etc.
Please bring a CLEAR book/binder-sized TOTE bag (not a backpack) for their belongings.
Do not bring mobile phones, laptops, mp3 players, cameras, or valuables, as they are not permitted. When teens are at Muir Wood’s residential teen rehab, the focus is on treatment and education.
15. Do residents at Muir Wood’s teen rehab attend 12-step meetings?
Yes. Both Marin and Sonoma County have vibrant young persons 12-Step meetings in the community. Residents of Muir Wood’s residential teen rehab attend six nightly young-persons meetings in the community with staff and on the seventh night a young-persons panel comes to the house and a meeting is held at Muir Wood. The goal is to introduce teens to the positive social peer groups at young person meetings, to recognize that recovery from substance use and mental health issues can be fun, and to recognize that there are countless “cool kids” in the community who want to remain sober and live productive lives.
16. What are some of the major differences between a residential teen rehab and a wilderness program?
Wilderness programs apply wilderness therapy in the field, which can contain the following key elements that distinguish it from other approaches found to be effective in working with adolescents: 1) the promotion of self-efficacy and personal autonomy through task accomplishment, 2) a restructuring of the therapist-client relationship through group and communal living facilitated by natural consequences, and 3) the promotion of a therapeutic social group that is inherent in outdoor living arrangements. Where wilderness programs often fall short is their lack of family therapy, parental involvement, introduction to the young persons recovery fellowship in the community, psychiatric assessments, and clinical expertise. For teens with a substance use disorder or co-occurring mental health issues, an intensive, gender-specific residential treatment program with a strong family component like Muir Wood’s can offer many more therapeutic resources than traditional wilderness programs.
17. Will Muir Wood collaborate with my child’s therapist?
Yes. In fact, Muir Wood surpasses many programs in collaborating with referring professionals. Upon admission, referring professionals are sent a Referent Contact Worksheet either by mail or email. This form lists all of the professionals at Muir Wood that will be working with your child, ascertains what is the best way of communicating with the referring professional (mail, email, phone) and how often contact is desired (weekly, monthly), and with whom the referent would like to communicate (executive director, clinical director, primary therapist, medical director). In addition, referring professionals are invited to participate in the weekly treatment team meetings when discussing the teen in question.
18. Does Muir Wood accept insurance?
Yes. Muir Wood is in-network with Anthem BC/BS, Aetna, Cigna, Halcyon Behavioral, Kaiser Permanente, MHN, Optum, and Magellan Health Services. We also work with individual insurance providers on an out-of-network, single-case agreement basis. We are happy to assist any prospective family verify their benefits and secure pre-authorization for treatment. In addition, Muir Wood’s residential teen rehab provides a comprehensive courtesy bill on each teen at discharge. This courtesy bill outlines in detail the charges of the program so that parents can work with their insurance providers for retroactive reimbursement whenever possible.