Founded in 1993, the Denver Family Therapy Center (DFTC) treats youths between the ages of 13 and 19 who are struggling with substance abuse, addiction and alcoholism. With five locations in the Denver area, DFTC has grown into a thriving network of outpatient facilities that provides comprehensive, family-oriented treatment to a diverse youth population.
Treatment and Staff
Prospective clients first participate in a two-hour bio-psycho-social assessment, which includes the client’s chemical dependency history, a mini-mental status exam, a self harm assessment and a family and medical history questionnaire. From there, an intake therapist—in collaboration with other counselors—recommends an appropriate level of treatment and creates an individualized treatment plan.
Treatment at DFTC combines the 12-step approach with traditional talk therapy. If staff believe that a client needs detox or residential treatment, which are not offered on-site, they will make an outside referral. DFTC does offer treatment for co-occurring disorders.
There are three treatment levels—the first is the assessment phase, which is geared towards low-risk individuals who have substance abuse issues but are not particularly at risk of developing additional problems. Some clients remain in this phase and don’t require another level of treatment. Typically lasting four to six weeks, it includes a single individual therapy session with a licensed counselor as well as three family sessions. Urine samples are collected up to three times during this phase for drug testing. At the end of treatment there is a final individual session.
The second phase of treatment is more rigorous, involving some form of therapy—individual, group, multi-family or private family—once or twice a week. Random drug testing on a regular basis is also part of this phase.
The third level of treatment is intensive outpatient (IOP), in which clients have four hours a week of group therapy in addition to five hours of individual or family therapy. Treatment normally lasts six to ten weeks, after which a client steps down to ongoing outpatient until counselors and therapists recommend an end to treatment.
There are 16 staff members, with credentials including MFT, Level III Certified Addiction Counselor, LPC, LADC and LSW. The staff-to-client ratio is roughly one-to-five, though that number fluctuates as clients complete treatment and new ones arrive. There is one facilitator for each group or multi-family session, and groups typically consist of about 10 individuals. Clients and their families participate in the process of selecting a primary counselor as making a good match is considered important by DFTC.
Beyond the various treatment options, DFTC also offers a Youth Drug Alcohol Prevention and Education program for persons under 21 who have been issued a citation for the possession of drug paraphernalia or for possession or consumption of substances or alcohol. This is for first-time offenders only and not for those who have received a DUI or a weapons charge associated with drug or alcohol possession or consumption. This helps youths avoid conviction by attending roughly nine hours of education and prevention training. The cost is $130.
Not many rehab facilities cater solely to young people with substance abuse issues. The facility’s goal is recovery within the context of the whole family and only those families willing to participate in the process should consider DFTC. In fact, this facility’s philosophy is that recovery is not possible unless the whole family is involved. Though there is no sliding scale and continued treatment can be expensive, DFTC does take most forms of insurance.
Denver Family Therapy Center
4891 Independence St. #165
Wheat Ridge, CO 80033
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