Brattleboro Retreat Review, Cost, Complaints

Brattleboro Retreat


[block]0[/block]Brattleboro Retreat Review

Brattleboro Retreat has provided detox and outpatient treatment services to individuals in scenic southern Vermont since 1834. Treatment is available for both adolescents and adults looking to overcome addiction and mental illness. 

Accommodations and Food

Brattleboro Retreat is not technically designated a residential treatment facility but some of the extensive detox programs are very similar in format to an inpatient rehab. If clients stay overnight for detox, they are housed in one of two different lodges on the picturesque campus. One of the residential facilities is called The Inn, which is a beautifully refurbished farmhouse from the 1870s. This option is located within walking distance of the main retreat campus. Residents have the choice of a single or double bed room. There is a wrap-around porch with seating for residents to enjoy the view of hills and meadows, as well as a telescope and an outdoor fireplace. To add to its cozy ambiance, there is a homemade breakfast offered each morning. For lunch and dinner, the residents can enjoy buffet-style meals served in the cafeteria. 

The Ripley Building is the primary lodging option on the campus. Each resident is provided privacy in one of the 50 individual bedrooms available. There is an adjacent dining hall, where clients three meals a day are served. Residents indulge in favorites such as a salad bar, soups, pizza, pasta and tasty deserts. 

While the program at Brattleboro Retreat is highly structured, clients do have independence. Both lodges are within walking distance of downtown Brattleboro where residents can take a stroll. Guests also have access to a two mile scenic hike that starts at the driveway of The Inn.

Treatment and Staff

Within Brattleboro Retreat there are various treatment programs offered to fit the needs of each resident. These options include the dual diagnosis, short-term inpatient detox program for adults and and adolescents, as well as a Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP) and an Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP). 

The medically monitored dual diagnosis detox program is for adults and provides 24-hour care. This process usually takes three to five days and from here, clients enter the outpatient programs for four to 14 days. Treatment involves a mixture of group and individual therapy, as well as on-site 12-step meetings. The staff psychiatrist is available for those who need medication management. Group topics include alcohol education, relapse prevention, coping skills and anger management. Prior to being released, clients work out an aftercare plan with their primary counselor. 

The Adolescent Inpatient Program supports young individuals dealing with substance abuse in conjunction with social, emotional or psychiatric issues. The short-term program is four to 14 days, serving individuals between the ages of 12 and 18. The program customizes plans for each guest in order to properly address specific issues. This program is designed for adolescents with depression, chemical dependencies, eating disorders, anxiety, bipolar disorders, PTSD and anger management problems. Clients participate in both group and individual therapy, as well as psychiatric care when needed. 

The outpatient branch of Brattleboro Retreat is called the Birches Treatment Center and it offers the aforementioned PHP and IOP for adults. The PHP is an all day program Mondays through Fridays, 9am to 3pm, for two weeks. Then clients usually step down to the IOP, which is a half-day program, offered Tuesdays and Thursdays in the morning or evening. Clients in both programs engage in group and individual therapy, CBT and involvement in community based support groups like SMART RecoveryAA and NA. Brattleboro Retreat offers AA meetings to all its residents at the retreat café on Thursday and Friday nights. 

The staff includes psychiatrists, physicians, Master’s level therapists and counselors.


At the Brattleboro Retreat, there is a specialized inpatient detox track for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals. Clients will find a safe, supportive community of professionals and peers in an LGBT-positive setting. The LGBT program is housed in a beautifully remodeled wing of the main building, offering 13 single rooms and one double.

Although Brattleboro does not have an official family program, if the client signs releases of information, family members are allowed to stay in touch and receive updates from the staff. Also, if the client consents, the family members can coordinate with the staff and set up a private meeting with themselves, the client and a counselor.

In Summary

Brattleboro Retreat is a fully equipped treatment facility with various programs aimed to promote success in sobriety for all its guests. The wide range of services utilize both therapeutic and medical care to support clients. This is a great choice for those seeking a strong dual diagnosis program with the integration of the 12 steps in an idyllic retreat atmosphere. 

Brattleboro Retreat Location

1 Anna Marsh Ln
Brattleboro, VT  05302

Brattleboro Retreat Cost

$5000 (two week PHP).  Reach Brattleboro Retreat by phone at 802-258-3700 or by email. Find Brattleboro on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedInYouTube and Google+

Do you have a complaint or review of Brattleboro Retreat to add? Use the comments section below to add your Brattleboro review.



  1. A great place if you’re looking for co-ed dorms with little to no supervision. My spouse of over 20 years was there for the Month of October for alcohol and drug rehabilitation. Within the first week of treatment, she had met her “soul mate” in one of their co-ed group sessions and was able to shack up with him for 4 nights in his dorm room. She’s even going to spend this coming weekend with him while I care for our 3 children. Single guys, if you’re out there and you’re looking for ladies in their most vulnerable state, look no further. The Brattleboro Retreat will provide you with an environment where you can get to know a potential partner’s deepest secrets, when thy’re the most vulnerable and then have your own private room to get to know each other on a more physical level. And for the low price of $220 a week, it’s cheaper than a hotel!

  2. youngretreatgraduate on

    Earlier this year, I spent 7 days in inpatient treatment at the Retreat and about 4 weeks living at Ripley in the Birches program.

    I was on the co-occuring disorders floor for inpatient detox. It’s a locked unit that has (I believe) somewhere around 25 beds. There are a few double rooms, but most are singles, and there are multiple private bathrooms scattered around the floor, which was nice. While I was on the unit, the majority of patients were being treated for alcoholism or opiate addiction- but they still provided good treatment for people struggling with other drug addictions. They are pretty strict about what you can bring with you onto the unit, and some of the things I brought that I was told would be okay, ended up getting confiscated and left in security during my stay. That was frustrating. In addition, the patients spent a lot of time waiting around for meds/vitals, and it seemed like it took a while for anything to get done- they definitely could have used more staff at times. However, despite the negatives, a major plus is that the mental health workers, social workers, and nurses were kind and as helpful as they could be. Also, the groups were informative and provided a good foundation for my recovery.

    The Birches program was beneficial, everyone seemed pretty focused on recovery and I got a lot out of hearing the input/experiences of other addicts. The recovery specific groups (the ones taking place from 9-12:15) were much more useful to me than the ones in the afternoon that weren’t focused on addiction. However, I took something out of all the groups I attended. The staff was extremely kind, and I appreciate everything they did for me. It was difficult at times, but I am genuinely glad I decided to attend Birches after inpatient.

    For me, living in Ripley was alright. It was nice having single rooms (shared bathrooms with one other person) and the opportunity to socialize if you wanted to. Sometimes groups of residents would carpool to NA and AA meetings, which I really appreciated. No matter what problems arose- from needing a ride to the store to dealing with cravings-someone in the building would be willing to help and listen to you. There is definitely a lot of pressure to be involved in what is going on in the house, which can be a good and bad thing. If you don’t participate in activities/feel like socializing for whatever reason, people can interpret it the wrong way, and I personally didn’t like feeling pressured to hang out with the house residents 24/7. But some people love it! It honestly depends.

  3. Deirdre Mullin LCSW on

    This is not a review. It is an advertisement. I am an LCSW looking at facilities for a client and am unimpressed that this is listed under “reviews”.

    • Hell No I'm not putting my name on

      True, and an inaccurate one. I’m currently in the Birches IOP Program, staying at the Ripley, having stepped down from the LGBT inpatient ward to PHP at Birches, and then to IOP. The IOP is not, as they say here, tuesdays and thrusdays in the morning or evening. Its from 9 to 12:15 every weekday.

      My inpatient experience was interesting. Staff treated us fantastically, and were on point about keeping us safe. There was less emphasis on individual therapy, but the coping skills I learned in the daily groups will certainly help me in times of crisis moving forward. I’ve heard that the other floors aren’t as “gentle” as the LGBT floor, so be aware that my experience might not have been typical.

      For me, the step down to PHP was important for two reasons. First, the groups were more focused around treating underlying causes of addiction, addressing depression and anxiety. The staff uses a variety of approaches, including DBT and mindfulness. There was only one LCSW whos groups I didn’t find useful, but when I talked to her about it, she was able to adapt to my feedback, and her next group went great. Second, the support system that exists among my fellow residents of the Ripley has been incredible. The Ripley staff (and especially Brian) have done a wonderful job of creating a community of people who are here, first to get clean and happy, and second to help eachother get clean and happy. I feel safe with these people, and I trust them.

      Again, I’m told that this is a particularly good group at the Ripley. I’ve heard stories of residents past that would certainly have made my recovery more challenging, including the infamous Whippet Girl, who got kicked out after they found 100s of whipped cream bottles in her room.

      The downsides of the Retreat… If you don’t have money, it will be easy to get bored. There are a bunch of great thrift stores in town, and a movie theatre in walking distance, and a lot of hiiking trails and fishing spots and swimming holes. So the boredom thing might be my own lazy fault. The food isn’t as great as they make it out to be. “Indulge” is perhaps a strong word, where I would have said “tolerate”, although the sandwich bar is always open and always a legitimately tasty option. The recovery groups, which focus on addiction, are often attended by Phoenix house residents (a residential program adjacent to the retreat) who are mandated by the court to be there. They often are less committed to their recovery, and can be distracting in groups. Many of them are perfectly nice. Also, no tobacco on campus, which is a bummer for me and like, most of the program.

      It’s like they say: It works if you work it, so work it, you’re worth it. Having been an addict for upwards of 5 years, the 20 days I’ve spent here have been the best since I started using. I feel clear headed, and well armed with skills and techniques to manage the depression that sent me to drugs. I feel cared for, respected, and healthy.

      • Not leaving name either on

        Reply to not leaving my name:
        I had never heard of such a thing as whippets until that night. There was so much commotion in the hallway after 10:00 pm that most headed for their rooms. It was quite disturbing. Security yelling, the girl yelling, calling the police, not calling the police. Very bad mojo. Saw some drinking. Women sneaking up to mens floor. Pahhlease. People increasing their meds for a high, some on too many meds prescribed by the retreat psych, some not on enough. Consult with your home psych as well as the retreat doc for meds. Rehab romance turns you into a complete failure. DON’T do it. It always ends up bad. Stick with the winners. Be positive. Learn. Be selfish. Don’t get involved in the BS.

        It wasn’t exactly clean town at Ripley that is for sure. However, just like every day life, if you want to get involved in that stuff you will whether at Ripley or elsewhere. Lets face it. Only 26% of returning addicts in their third trip actually improve their lives. The first and second trips to rehab stats are not good so I am not going to mention them. Be one of the winners. Be smart.

        • I can attest to the “women sneaking up to men’s floor” statement. It seems a year later, nothing has changed. My spouse was their this past October for alcohol and drug rehabilitation and was able to sneak up to a male patient’s room for a little “one-on-one” therapy, on 4 different occasions!

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