For more than 50 years, Gratitude House has been offering shelter and rehabilitation to alcoholic women in West Palm Beach, Florida. In 1989, federal grant money made it possible to provide substance abuse treatment for women who are HIV-positive and, in 2003, more funding allowed Gratitude House to offer outpatient treatment. In 2005, this facility became one of only six programs in the country to introduce the MITT (Mothers and Infants in Treatment Together) program. Today, Gratitude House offers a full range of affordable, extended care treatment services—from residential services to aftercare planning.
Accommodations and Food
Just a few miles from the Atlantic Ocean and occupying almost an entire block in a residential section of West Palm Beach, this oasis for women consists of three buildings secured behind a decorative, wrought iron fence. Two of the buildings house residents and one is for administration and treatment offices. The facility is homey and bright with a TV room, large kitchen and separate dining room in each building. Residential treatment has a capacity of 29 beds—13 are for women 18 years and older, 12 for the MITT program and four are reserved for the Hibiscus Haven program. The rooms are spacious and light, each housing four women and each with its own bathroom. Furnished with twin beds, matching dressers and shared closets, each is individually decorated with a definite feminine touch. Residents are responsible for cleaning their rooms and bathrooms and are assigned house chores that alternate on a weekly basis. There are laundry facilities for residents to do their own laundry.
Clients help prepare three square meals a day with the assistance of a licensed dietician. A salad bar is available at lunch and dinner and certain dietary requests may be accommodated. The refrigerator is stocked with fruit, raw veggies and yogurt for snacks, which the clients can eat at anytime. Coffee is available until lunch at which time the culinary staff offers decaf and herbal teas.
Treatment and Staff
Gratitude House follows evidence-based treatment practices, using CBT and the 12-steps. The clinical staff is trained in trauma and addresses issues including domestic abuse, emotional abuse, sexual assault and co-occurring disorders. As substance abuse also affects the entire family, family therapy is integral to the program.
Gratitude House does not offer detox services, so women need to be free from drugs and alcohol when they arrive. Clients remain in residential treatment for anywhere from six to nine months. Daily treatment services for all clients include group and individual therapy, addiction and mental health education, treatment planning, peer socialization, conflict resolution, problem solving and life skills. Comprehensive support services such as case management, vocational training, GED completion, relapse prevention and aftercare are also provided for clients.
Schedules vary depending on the assessment, but the women stay busy from 7 am until lights out at 11 pm. Residents attend two outside 12-step meetings per week and one on-site, on Tuesday. Saturday is family education day from 12 pm to 3 pm. This includes an addiction studies class facilitated by a licensed alcohol and drug counselor (LADC), culminating with family group therapy with the client in attendance.
The treatment team at Gratitude House consists of two Master’s-level therapists, two caseworkers and three LADCs and a registered nurse is on staff 24/7. This makes for a respectable client-to-staff ratio of five-to-one.
The Outpatient Program is available Monday through Friday from 9 am until 8:30 pm. Clients in this track meet once a week for group therapy, typically for eight weeks. The Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP) requires that clients attend treatment for a total of nine hours per week and the duration is typically 12 weeks. Treatment schedules can be customized to include a combination of daytime or evening groups and individual therapy. Group size is limited to 12.
The Day Treatment Program is structured like a Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP). Clients are integrated into the residential program, Monday through Friday, from 9 am until 2 pm, for an average of three to five months. They participate with the residential clients for groups, lunch and all other activities and have individual therapy once a week. This program is for clients who have a safe and sober place to sleep and is also an option for step-down treatment for those in residence. All clients have individualized treatment plans and have individual counseling once a week.
Gratitude House offers the MITT program for pregnant and/or postpartum women who can live with their infants while in treatment. Upon entering the program, pregnant women are provided with all required prenatal services and doctor’s appointments. Clients attend groups to help them understand the importance of early attachment and promote the positive social-emotional development of their children. Staff members are trained in early childhood development and the Positive Parenting Program.
Hibiscus Haven is for women in treatment with substance abuse who have been concurrently diagnosed with HIV/AIDS. In addition to the typical substance abuse treatment, clients learn how to manage this disease and are assisted with HIV/AIDS related medical issues, including enrollment in long-term healthcare, psychiatric evaluations, vocational and employment training, budgeting and financial education.
Once a client successfully completes any program at Gratitude House, they are eligible to participate in aftercare for up to two years. The aftercare program consists of weekly group therapy sessions that focus on relapse prevention and developing peer support within the community. Gratitude House provides children’s play therapy groups that coincide with aftercare to encourage attendance and alleviate obstacles for clients to continue their therapy.
At Gratitude House, women and their families are taught to live sober through a host of challenges, such as learning how to survive HIV and AIDS and how to raise their children in recovery. In addition, the rehab makes sure its client are supported well into their first two years of recovery. Extended treatment options, like the Day Program, and comprehensive aftercare services are key elements of sustained sobriety.
1700 N Dixie Hwy
West Palm Beach, FL 33407
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