Bridgeway Behavioral Health (BBH) was founded on Valentine’s Day in 1978. Originally conceived as an outpatient program for addiction, Bridgeway Behavioral Health now offers both addiction and trauma services for women and children and, as of 1987, for men. Bridgeway Behavioral Health’s main office is 30 minutes west of St. Louis, but there are now 12 locations in total. Just two of these are residential facilities for adults, including pregnant women and women with children; others offer inpatient treatment for adolescents, outpatient counseling for addiction, domestic violence and sexual assault. The Bridgeway Behavioral Health model for chemical dependence recovery is a mixture of the 12-step method, evidence-based therapies and Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT).
Accommodations and Food
The men’s and women’s residential facilities are in St. Charles, Missouri, just a block apart. The men’s facility is just off of the interstate close to the Missouri River: the women’s facility is even closer, on River Road. Along the near bank of the River is the Katy Trail, a 24-mile recreational trail where staff members take clients on excursions when the weather permits. The men’s facility has the additional amenity of a weight room.
Both facilities are similar in set-up. There is space for over 30 men and women in each, but numbers generally hover around 25. Clients share bedrooms, except in the case of a mother and her children who have their own room.
Men and women share a cafeteria, but eat at different times (women and children first). Clients don’t have to do a thing: the kitchen prepares three meals daily. Special dietary restrictions may be accommodated on request.
Treatment and Staff
BBH offers medical detox from two locations: downtown St. Louis and at the St. Charles residential location. Doctors and nurses are on staff 24 hours a day and clients are given medication, like Suboxone, if necessary, to assist with their withdrawal.
After detox, some clients move into the 30-day residential treatment. This program treats substance abuse and co-occurring disorders, using CBT, Motivational Interviewing (MI), MRT and family therapy. Clients start their days at 8 am with 45 minutes to an hour of “AM Spirit,” a way to wake up and check in before groups begin. On the weekdays, before lunch at noon, the women meet for three one-hour groups; men meet for two groups and exercise before lunch at 1 pm. Male and female clients each have four more groups before dinner, which for women is at 5 pm and for men is at 6 pm. Twelve-step meetings take place at night. At 8 pm, clients clean up for an 8:45 “PM spirit” wind-down meeting.
BHH clients have access to both on- and off-site 12-step meetings. On Wednesday and Sunday, male clients have in-house meetings, leaving for outside meetings in the community on Monday, Thursday and Friday. Female clients leave campus on Monday and Saturday; BHH hosts in-house meetings for the ladies Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday. Once a week, there is also a 12-step education group in the evening instead of a formal meeting.
If the BBH residential schedule sounds rigorous, that’s because it is. Groups focus on topics like triggers and cravings, relapse prevention, self-worth, parenting, codependency, self-discovery tools, behavior modification and anger management. Clients also learn about addiction and how to process emotions. Everyone has a one-on-one with a counselor once a week. On Sundays, men and women are also given time to go to church between 9 am and noon if they wish.
As mentioned, BBH takes pregnant women and women with and without children as clients. These women typically stay between 10 and 30 days in residential treatment, but pregnant clients can stay through their entire pregnancy. A licensed daycare facility on site takes care of young children while residents are in group.
BBH assumes its residential clients will continue their treatment with outpatient care at one of its eight offices. Outpatient usually lasts between eight and 12 weeks, again depending on the client’s particular case. The BBH outpatient program has three levels of care: day, Intensive Outpatient (IOP) and aftercare. Day treatment clients attend outpatient like school or work: Monday through Friday, with a minimum of six hours per day. IOP clients attend group therapy 10 hours weekly and have two individual sessions a week. Aftercare clients come to group therapy just one to two times a week and have one individual session a month.
A full time nurse is available to male and female clients at all times in both residential programs. Clients also have access to other BBH resources: sexual assault counselors, gambling addiction counselors and peer support. The staff-to-client ratio is approximately one-to-eight.
Recreation and meditation are built into the residential schedule. Clients are often taken on group hikes on the nearby Katy Trail for recreation group, which is different than exercise group, which for men might be time in the weight room and for women may be a Zumba class. Both men and women have music therapy once a week.
In the women’s program, there is designated family playtime on Saturday and Sunday between 4 and 5 pm, Family Story Time between 7:30 and 8 pm on Friday, Saturday and Sunday and other recreational family groups between 6 and 7 pm on weekends.
Bridgeway Behavioral Health offers comprehensive treatment for a wide range of clients—women can even potentially remain with their children during treatment. The continuum of services available could carry someone into the first year of sobriety and the price is right: Bridgeway Behavioral Health accepts insurance and self-pay, but takes into account the personal financial circumstances of potential clients and are open to payment plans and providing services on a sliding fee scale. This is solid care; Bridgeway Behavioral Health even has what it calls an Addiction Academy, which keeps staff apprised of the latest training and education in addiction services.
Bridgeway Behavioral Health
Men’s Residential Program
1570 S. Main St
St. Charles, MO 63303
Women’s Residential Program
1601 Old S. River Road St.
St. Charles, MO 63303
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