Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Upscale treatment centers chafing at 12-step

The Betty Ford treatment center, once the very icon of celebrity rehab, is being upstaged by a slew of newer and tonier facilities, many of them dumping Ford's you-can-have-any-program-you-want-so-long-as-it's-12-step model.

So says a survey of upscale inpatient facilities in the Feb. 19 Newsweek. Ford, which at last report charges $38,000 for a 28-day stay, is now on the low margin of the upmarket segment. There are programs that charge up to $100,000 for the same stretch. They include Malibu sunsets, equine encounters, Native American talk circles, gourmet cuisine, and -- more important -- elements of cognitive behavioral therapy, Motivational Interviewing, pharmacological treatments and other modern therapeutic approaches.

Newsweek's article quotes Chris Prentiss of Passages Malibu, an upscale facility that has dumped AA altogether. Prentiss says that AA's "emphasis on helplessness in the face of addiction makes people feel stupid and ashamed." Other providers talk in more guarded terms, but the trend away from exclusive reliance on the 12-step model is remarkable. What the high-priced celebrity showcases offer today, the K-mart treatment shops will be trying to copy tomorrow. Without the hot tubs, the sunsets, or the horses.

For a listing of non-step or steps-plus treatment facilities, click here.

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