For teens in dysfunctional situations, there’s no better spot than Visions, which focuses on treatment for those between the ages of 13 and 18. In addition to residential treatment, Visions also offers outpatient, day school, sober living and a life skill-teaching program called Launch.
History and Philosophy
As the brainchild of respected treatment industry leader Chris Shumow, Visions opened in 2002. Because he had worked in treatment before, Shumow understood how crucial it was to focus on emotional growth, psychological health and family relationships when treating teens, all with a base requirement that a family member or legal guardian be involved in the treatment (also crucial because for most if not all residents at Visions, the parents are surely taking care of the bill).
Accommodations and Food
Though there are no private rooms, the gated facility is on 25 acres of land in the Malibu hills so there is a huge yard with a swimming pool and beautiful scenery. The interior of the home is clean and cozy with tiled floors throughout and recovery-oriented artwork adorning the walls.
Clients eat together family-style in the large dining room. Meals are big on taste and even bigger on proper nutrition. Each admitted patient undergoes a nutritional assessment and those whose dietary habits that need monitoring are identified. Healthy evening snacks are available on a nightly basis. Dieticians and nutritionists are always on-hand at meal times.
Treatment and Staff
By all accounts, Shumow has put together a stellar team that focuses not just on addiction recovery but also on mental health issues such as bipolar, self harm, OCD and PTSD; treatment is different for varying age groups and most clients stay between 45 and 90 days. All residents are paired with a psychiatrist, licensed mental health primary therapist and counselor. Upon entry, each client receives medical, substance abuse, psychiatric and psychosocial assessment. From that point, an individualized treatmentplan is created. Specific action is outlined as are the client’s long term recovery goals. Treatment services then build on the base of 12-step recovery with process group therapy, goal planning, individual counseling, psycho-education groups and stress and anger management.
As previously mentioned, nutritional counseling is also heavily emphasized. Aftercare (which requires a 90-day commitment) divides boys and girls into gender-specific homes with a staff member awake and available 24 hours a day. In keeping with Shumow’s philosophy, family programming is an essential part of recovery here and clients’ family’s active participation is encouraged throughout their stay. Launch, their life skills program, focuses on everything from resume building and interview preparation to grocery shopping and cooking lessons.
Perhaps most impressive of all, Visions provides a school that puts great emphasis on helping teens develop confidence with a three-to-one student-to-staff ratio, as well as opportunities for one-on-one instruction. Their entire curriculum is transferable, and college prep classes (including SAT preparation) are provided.
Extra offerings including equine therapy and art therapy. Alumni are encouraged to attend aftercare groups and annual alumni events like snowboarding trips and outings to Magic Mountain.
Visions offers a truly holistic treatment plan for its young clientele. This “treat the whole person and every aspect of the person” approach is an invaluable asset, especially for anyone still in their formative years. For teens that may not be able to recover while in treatment with adults, this is the spot.