Because of the small number of boys accepted, the Muir Wood residential program is highly individualized and is extremely effective at treating not only substance abuse, but the underlying issues such as trauma, depression, or poor self esteem that often lead to self-medication with drugs and/or alcohol. It is the philosophy of Muir Wood, that substance abuse is a symptom of an underlying issue.
The residential program at Muir Wood is gender-specific, treating only adolescent boys. A gender-specific program allows boys to be vulnerable and open to exploring and discussing sensitive issues that may otherwise be kept inside. Therapy is provided in an environment that promotes communication in a compassionate and thoughtful way, never shaming or punitive. Without the obvious distraction of the opposite sex, boys are free to engage in therapy that can often be difficult and introspective. A gender-specific residential treatment setting allows boys to be supportive of their peers, feel a true sense of safety, hold each other accountable for participation in the program, remain open and willing to show emotion, and display less aggression and posturing as is common in mixed-gender programs.
The Boys Residential Treatment Program at Muir Wood is a comprehensive addiction and dual-diagnosis treatment program housed in an historic farmhouse in Petaluma, California. We accept a maximum of ten boys in treatment. During their stay with us, boys take part in our intensive clinical program, keep up with academics in our on-campus classroom, benefit from our comprehensive psychological testing and assessments, and participate in a full schedule of therapeutic activities. Family involvement is also a critical component of our residential program.
For boys who are new to treatment and do not have significant behavioral or psychiatric issues, we generally recommend a 45-day length of stay. For boys with a longer history of substance use, or with significant behavioral or psychiatric issues, we recommend a stay of 60 to 90 days.
This additional time in residential care allows for deeper work on family dynamics and 12-step recovery, as well as individualized work on mental health and behavioral challenges. The longer stay also gives families the opportunity to put into supervised practice the communication and relationship skills learned in the first 45 days. This allows for more intensive healing within a fractured family system.
Why Choose a Residential Treatment Program?
For boys who struggle with addiction and co-occurring disorders, residential treatment can be a life-changing experience. The parents who choose Muir Wood’s residential treatment program want their son to have the most effective addiction treatment available, and view this as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for their son to experience incredible personal growth.
A residential treatment setting also allows clinicians a platform for accurate assessment and diagnosis. In a highly structured residential setting where weekly random drug testing and close supervision is the norm, parents are assured that the boys at Muir Wood are free of any mind-altering substances. In this structured environment, assessment measures such as psychiatric evaluations and neuropsychological testing can be accomplished, providing an accurate diagnosis that can lead to far better outcomes. In a residential setting, the clinical team has the ability to develop treatment plans that best address the boy’s individual needs insuring effective treatment and sustainable recovery.
Residential treatment offers a number of important advantages for your son, including:
- Time away from triggers. Your son’s substance use is likely tied to specific triggers, such as a group of friends, a particular social situation, or challenges at home or school. Taking a break from these triggers is critical for learning healthier coping mechanisms and developing new habits.
- Space for families to heal. Often, a break from the existing family structure is necessary for family members to change unhealthy communication patterns, process difficult emotions, and heal from hurts they have unintentionally caused each other. Residential treatment offers this time and space, as well as an active process of family therapy that allows for growth and healing for all family members.
- Intensive, comprehensive treatment. Residential addiction treatment provides a level of care not possible in any other setting. Your son will be surrounded by highly experienced addiction, academic and mental health professionals as he works through our clinical and academic programs.
- Treatment in “real life.” The residential setting allows for therapeutic learning to take place in “real life” situations, such as the classroom, dinner table, and during daily chores. Surrounded by peers and adult role models, your son will be engaged in both formal and informal therapeutic activities and conversations all day, every day.
- Diagnostic clarity. If your son is actively involved in using drugs or alcohol, it will be very difficult to accurately diagnose any underlying mental health or learning issues. Residential addiction treatment provides an opportunity for safe and structured containment, and for your son to clear his system of substances, which in turn allows us to work through our extensive diagnostic tests and evaluations. A more accurate diagnosis greatly increases his chances for long-term sobriety and a fulfilling future.