When picturing a typical day in outpatient rehab, generally speaking, nine faces staring out from a split-screen video conference isn’t what comes to mind. Regardless, that’s pretty much what clients will get when they sign up for Lionrock, an all-online treatment program.
After losing his sister to addiction, Silicon Valley entrepreneur Peter Loeb founded Lionrock with fellow tech mogul Iain Crabb in 2010. Loeb’s daughter Ashley, now eight years sober, works as the intake specialist. Together they seek to help people who are too paralyzed by shame to seek traditional treatment, or who for other reasons simply can’t go away to rehab. Women comprise the bulk of the clientele.
Treatment and Staff
If the idea of online treatment seems sketchy, rest assured that Lionrock isn’t a scam. The staff consists of well-credentialed therapists, clinicians, medical advisors and addiction counselors, many of whom have experience working at some of the better-established treatment centers out there. Of course, whether videochat therapy is wholly effective for any addict is a different question. But at least privacy shouldn’t be a concern: all sessions are encrypted to the same standards as retail and financial transactions, so even if someone did intercept your group therapy session, they wouldn’t be able to see or hear it. Their email server is also encrypted to be HIPAA compliant.
Obviously, even the most diehard shut-in can’t do true residential rehab over the Internet, but Lionrock offers several different outpatient options. The intensive outpatient (IOP) program comprises 36 hours of individualized treatment per month, including three-hour group sessions three times a week as well as individual, family and psycho-educational sessions. Clients have individual managers that customize their programs, which can last from six weeks to three months. The less intensive Ascend program involves 14 treatment hours with two 90-minute group sessions each week and two one-hour individual sessions each month.
Lionrock prioritizes a 12-step approach to recovery. Clients are required to participate in local 12-step groups, but approved non-12-step alternatives are also accepted. Since the counselors recognize that many of their clients are anxious about going to a real life meeting, they provide an orientation to support group formats to help facilitate the process. Those who make it through the online treatment program and stay sober are urged to act as temporary online sponsors to help Lionrock newbies ease into recovery. Lionrock also hosts a free, non-affiliated AA meeting every Tuesday night in their online space, with NA and SMART Recovery meetings coming soon.
Lionrock also offers two specialized package programs. The Base Camp, which involves daily goal setting, one group support session each week and holds users accountable through a smart phone app, is the best option for early sobriety. There’s also a six-week Family Matters program (for loved ones of addicts and alcoholics), which covers communication, coping and intervention guidelines and includes one weekly two-hour support session a week.
The online format really helps cut cost—no swimming pools to maintain, sheets to change or horses to feed. Still, it’s not free (unlike, say, In The Rooms meetings). Those who are wary of shelling out money without setting foot in a doctor’s office may be comforted by the fact that Lionrock accepts a variety of insurance plans. Monthly installment payment plans are available as well.
It’s hard to call Lionrock “rehab.” After all, talking with experts online is not a substitute for medical treatment, and there’s nothing to prevent clients from heading down to the liquor store after a rough therapy session. Still, for those who feel safer opening up to others in the comfort of their homes and with the protective distance of the Internet, then Lionrock may be a good way to get the recovery ball rolling.
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