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. The Muir Wood campus sits on ten acres of serene countryside surrounded by rolling hills. National and State Parks such as the Pt. Reyes National Seashore and Muir Woods are nearby making the location ideal and one of the most beautiful residential campuses centers in the U.S.
2. Is it possible to visit Muir Wood’s Residential Teen Rehab before I admit my teen?
Absolutely. We would welcome you to tour our program, meet our treatment team, and if desired, attend one of our Saturday Family educational lectures facilitated by recognized adolescent experts. This may also give you an opportunity to meet with parents of current residents and ask their opinion of our program.
3. How many teens are in Muir Wood at any one time?
Muir Wood only treats 22 adolescent boys at any one time across three idyllic campuses. This allows the clinical team to truly individualize treatment for every teen and family in the program.
4. What are the sleeping arrangements?
Two boys occupy a spacious and well-appointed room at any one time and each bedroom has its own bathroom. The 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 boys in our care.
5. What is the average length of stay at Muir Wood?
The average length of stay is 30-45 days. Our team may typically recommend a longer length of stay when clinically indicated. However, 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 son and our clinical team works collaboratively with the home therapist to discharge the teen when appropriate.
6. 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 abuse and addiction. David Smith, MD, FASAM who is 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 a foremost authority on the treatment of addiction leads our medical team. Alongside Dr. Smith are a number of other board-certified psychiatrists, licensed therapists, certified chemical dependency counselors and allied health staff.
7. 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 are not appropriate for Muir Wood. At Muir Wood, each teen is carefully screened by the admissions team, Executive Director, Clinical Director, and if needed, 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 in an idyllic setting.
8. How often will my son receive individual therapy?
With only 22 boys in treatment at any one time, the clinical team at Muir Wood has the ability to meet with residents 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.
9. What is the academic program like at Muir Wood’s Residential Teen Rehab?
At Muir Wood, academics are a top priority. The Muir Wood Learning Center is recognized in the State of California as a private school and our staff includes masters-level, multiple-subject state-credentialed teachers and single-subject credentialed teachers. Boys are in school for a minimum of three hours per day Monday-Friday. As a recognized private school, the Muir Wood Learning Center can offer credits for a number of core subjects. We also typically work with the boys’ home school, with the parents acting as a liaison to obtain the boys schoolwork. The goal is to keep the boys current in their academics while enrolled at Muir Wood to help insure seamless reintegration back to their home school following treatment. Another option that parents may choose is to have their son enroll in fully accredited distance learning courses taken online.
10. Is psychological testing and assessment offered?
This is offered as an option to parents at additional costs. Drs. Barbara Nova, Jenny Forman and Jim Moses, all recognized authorities on psychological testing and assessment, work with Muir Wood residents providing on-site psychological testing and assessments when clinically indicated. This team works in collaboration with the Muir Wood Clinical Director and Psychiatrist 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 masters-level 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.
11. What is the role of the family in the treatment process?
Family involvement at Muir Wood’s residential teen rehab is a core component of treatment and family participation is mandatory. Addiction is a family disease and the family must be involved in the treatment process if treatment is to be optimized. This includes weekly individual family therapy sessions with parents, teens and the Clinical Director; attendance at the every other Saturday Family Program; and a commitment from parents to attend Al-Anon meetings in the community. For families that are out of the area and cannot attend weekly individual family therapy, Muir Wood utilizes Skype to conduct remote sessions. At Muir Wood we do everything possible to involve the parents in the treatment program to help insure recovery for both the individual teen and family system.
12. Do you provide gender specific treatment?
Yes. Gender-specific 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 boys is an optimal residential teen rehab setting.
13. Will my son’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.
14. 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 development differences between adolescents and adults and the high correlation between substance abuse and co-occurring mental health issues predominant in adolescents who abuse drugs and alcohol.
15. What should my son 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 make sure to pack comfortable socks, shoes, and boots as we often take hikes and work with the horses. You may also wish to pack 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 cork board above each bed. The program provides all linens, pillows, towels, etc.
Do not bring mobile phones, laptop computers, iPods, or other 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. As they say in the program, “it’s an inside job” and there is no reason to distract from the importance of the treatment experience.
16. 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 persons’ meetings, to recognize that recovery from substance abuse can be fun, and to recognize that there are countless “cool kids” in the community who want to remain sober and live productive lives.
17. How often will I be able to visit my teen in treatment?
Parental involvement is a core component of the treatment program at Muir Wood’s residential teen rehab. Parents are strongly encouraged to attend the weekly individual family sessions on campus, attend the Saturday Family Program on campus, and communicate with teens via weekly Skype sessions and/or phone calls. Also, when clinically appropriate, teens can qualify for passes with their parents and siblings.
18. 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, optional psychiatric assessment, 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.
19. Will Muir Wood collaborate with my son’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 son, ascertains what is the best way of communicating with the referring professional (mail, email, phone), ascertains how often contact is desired (weekly, monthly), and ascertains with whom the referent would like to communicate (Executive Director, Clinical Director, Primary Therapist, Medical Director). In addition, referent professionals are invited to participate in the weekly treatment team meeting when discussing the teen in question or the treatment team at Muir Wood’s residential teen rehab offers to send the referent professional treatment team notes on the teen each week (when approved by parents).
20. Does Muir Wood accept insurance?
Yes. Muir Wood is in-networks with Anthem, Aetna, Cigna, Regence, Premera, and Kaiser. 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 when possible.
21. If insurance won’t pay for treatment, what are my options?
If insurance will not reimburse for treatment at Muir Wood’s residential teen rehab and families need to pay out-of-pocket, Muir Wood can offer financing options and payment plans to help families access treatment.