Cliffside Malibu Outpatient Reviews, Cost, Complaints

Cliffside Malibu Outpatient


The Basics

Since its inception over a decade ago, Cliffside Malibu has cemented a reputation as one of the best rehabs in the world. Not only does Cliffside provide a full continuum of care from detox to sober living, but it also boasts beautiful settings, countless amenities and some of the finest addiction treatment professionals in the country. Its outpatient division certainly upholds the standards that have made it a go-to resource for people struggling with drugs, alcohol or co-occurring psychological disorders. Cliffside Malibu Outpatient offers the quality of care found in its residential treatment, paired with the flexibility clients require to maintain professional and personal obligations while still seeking the help they truly need.

Cliffside’s flagship facility is located where the mountains meet the ocean, just above the iconic, pristine Zuma Beach in Malibu, California (also known as the “Rehab Riviera”). It currently offers Malibu outpatient services in close proximity to this location but soon clients will also be able to undergo outpatient treatment at an equally luxurious and relaxing state of the art high-rise facility in nearby Sherman Oaks, California. The Sherman Oaks location will officially open on December 1, 2017.

The team at Cliffside Malibu employs a multitude of tactics to address substance abuse, addiction and co-occurring disorders. The staff works with each client to identify underlying causes that have contributed to addictive behavior, establish a solid strategy for relapse prevention and develop an ongoing support system in their own community. With a combination of evidence-based practices implemented through both individual and group therapy, holistic modalities and myriad peer support group options, the client establishes a firm foundation for navigating life in sobriety.

Treatment and Staff

Rather than prescribing to the disease model of addiction, Cliffside Malibu adheres more to the school of thought that substance use disorders are behavioral disorders that can be amended. In keeping with this, the treatment team primarily utilizes the Stages of Change model in its approach. Meeting clients “where they’re at,” so to speak, an experienced team of Master’s-level therapists and drug and alcohol counselors help to pinpoint the individual’s current stage, and design an individualized treatment plan accordingly. The “stages” in this therapeutic process are most often referring to the person’s current level of motivation to truly address their issues and recover, and are liable to shift and change over time. Stages of Change aims to help the person move forward in their recovery, even during times of doubt, apathy or feelings of defeat. Each client is assigned a case manager and a therapist who tracks their progress throughout treatment, making sure he or she is reaching goals, and if not, figuring out what should be adjusted or overhauled in their unique program.

Because treatment is tailored to each individual, there is no set length of care. Therapy can be on-going and the client is usually considered a part of the Cliffside family for life, even when formal treatment is complete. It’s also worth mentioning that clients in need of detox prior to beginning therapy, can do so through Cliffside facilities.

Cliffside’s Sherman Oaks location will offer an Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP) where clients attend individual therapy at least twice a week. Group therapy times will be flexible and offered daily, both day and night. At the Malibu location, groups are available every day from 9 am to 9 pm. During that 12-hour time period, there are four different sessions available—a three-hour track at 9 am; a three-hour track at 12 pm; a three-hour track at 3 pm and a three-hour track at 6 pm—so the client can choose what works best for his or her schedule. The treatment team at Cliffside acknowledges that concerns over upholding professional and personal responsibilities should not be a hindrance to seeking help in a formalized rehab setting. As such, the person is able to work with his or her care team to devise a schedule that meets their needs and alleviates stress.

Group sessions are rooted in Stages of Change and CBT but also incorporate relapse prevention techniques, social and communication skill building and addressing the root causes of substance use disorder. In keeping with a holistic, well-rounded approach to treatment, the clinical staff also integrates mindfulness techniques, meditation and experiential therapies. Psychoeducation is an essential part of the programming too.

Twelve-step meetings are often the go-to form of peer support at most addiction treatment centers. Cliffside Malibu recognizes that while 12-step is an effective resource for many, it’s not ideal for everyone. To that end, the treatment team works to help clients identify a supportive community that fits their personality and belief system—whether it’s SMART Recovery, Refuge Recovery, Celebrate Recovery or even formal religious organizations such as a church or temple.

There are also specialized services geared specifically toward men and women struggling with opioid dependence. Oftentimes, withdrawing from opiate based drugs is not always as simple as detox then abstinence. The professionals at Cliffside are able to tailor a withdrawal plan that’s both medically safe and sustainable.

In addition to the medical team of doctors and nurses available during detox, Cliffside Malibu boasts a staff of MFTs, LCSWs, psychologists and certified drug and alcohol counselors.  If requested, clients can also have access to myriad whole-health practitioners such as personal trainers, yoga teachers, nutritionists and acupuncturists.


Experiential methods facilitated by Cliffside Malibu’s outpatient division include both art and music therapy.

Cliffside Malibu hosts a robust family program that’s held every Saturday. Families and loved ones of clients in treatment can expect psychoeducation as well as group therapy, all facilitated by the program director, clinical director, therapists and doctors that serve as the heartbeat of Cliffside. The team here believes family is an integral part of establishing long-term sobriety and recovery. In keeping with this, the client’s case manager and therapist can arrange for family therapy sessions, in addition to including loved ones in the client’s aftercare plan.

The details of aftercare plans are usually tailored for the individual but all clients can expect access to a large and thriving alumni network.

It’s worth mentioning that the Sherman Oaks location is already in network with some major insurance companies and is on track to include even more. So essentially people will have access to the best therapy, the best clinical care and first rate treatment—the full luxury Cliffside experience—at a very affordable cost, paying in-network rates.

In Summary

With Cliffside’s outpatient programming in its original Malibu location and forthcoming Sherman Oaks facility, the client is really getting the best of both worlds—multi-faceted, top notch care that approaches addiction or a dual diagnosis from every angle, and the ability to return to the comfort of one’s own home and surroundings each night. Individuals can continue their life in the “real world,” attending school, working a job or taking care of their family, and still reap the benefits of formalized treatment that can potentially transform their life.

With plenty of intensive group and individual therapy rooted in evidence-based treatment practices and a multitude of approaches to healing one’s mind, body and spirit, Cliffside Malibu truly has every resource imaginable for a person who is ready to address their substance use and mental health issues. Clients are given all the tools they need to embrace sobriety, recovery and a much healthier life.

Cliffside Malibu Outpatient
28990 Pacific Coast Highway, Ste 203
Malibu, CA 90265

Cliffside Malibu Sherman Oaks (opening December 1, 2017)
15250 Ventura Blvd, Ste 1100
Sherman Oaks, CA 94565

Cliffside Malibu Outpatient Cost: Call for cost; accepts most PPO insurance. Reach Cliffside Malibu Outpatient by phone at (888) 399-0119. Find Cliffside Malibu Outpatient on Facebook

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1 Comment

  1. Lower Companion on

    I have many great things to say about Cliffside in Malibu. However, the IOP is still struggling to become
    a viable service to people after treatment. Groups are very, very small. The “caseworker” threatened to
    discharge me on every other discussion and their basic operational policies seem to be designed to
    keep them from succeeding. I liked the therapist and I have much respect for Dr Smith but that’s where
    the good experience ended for me. During my intake I was quoted $250 dollars per 3 hour session.
    That’s a ton of money for the benefit I received. When I quit after two evenings the office manager
    called and asked for $275 per session. When I reminded him of our earlier conversation the cost
    dropped to 250 without argument. That felt shady but…maybe it’s just me.
    Perhaps when they’ve worked out some of the kinks, grown their clientele and had a couple of staff
    shake ups it will improve. In the meantime I found it a terrible waste of $250 or $275…depending on
    which day you call. If you really want to stay clean and sober…find some meetings and a program that
    has some lasting, maintainable effects. For me, I’d rather drop 5 bucks in the basket than pay exorbitant fees for a temporary solution.

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