McLean Fernside
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McLean Fernside


McLean FernsideMcLean Fernside Review

Located on a mountain ridge with a clear view of nearby Boston, McLean Fernside offers a recovery environment with plenty of specialized care. The program maintains relatively low enrollment and boasts an elegant setting in the form of a carefully maintained 19th century mansion. McLean Fernside is the addiction-related subdivision of McLean Hospital, one of the oldest psychiatric care facilities in the country and an affiliate of Harvard University. McLean maintains the world’s largest neuro-scientific and psychiatric research programs of any private hospital, and is also consistently ranked one of the top 15 hospitals worldwide. As a result, clients have plenty of access to some of the best medical and psychiatric care in the world.

Accommodations and Food

If McLean gives off the feeling of a proper New England bed and breakfast, that’s no mistake; built in 1835, the house once functioned as a B and B, and was listed on the Select Registry as a Distinguished Inn of North America. Today, Fernside has eight private rooms available, each sporting queen-size beds and their own full bathrooms. Each resembles the sort of accommodations one would expect from a four star hotel, with the personal touches of home including four-post beds, comfortable sofa chairs, decorative rugs and wood furnishings. The mansion is located on a rolling green valley with deck chairs, a gazebo and a hammock for relaxing on-site. When it comes to food, few facilities can match McLean’s menu. Lunches and dinners are prepared off-site at a five-star restaurant, and are delivered to residents. There is one hot breakfast served per week; the rest are continental.

Treatment and Staff

While Fernside’s facility does not offer on-site detox itself, clients do get an intake session with their nursing team where these needs can be addressed at the main hospital in nearby Belmont; Fernside does prescribe and administer Suboxone and Subutex when needed. Residents can schedule up to five appointments a week with a staff psychologist, and at the residence clients have three weekly scheduled appointments with their personal therapist. There is also a staff of counselors who conduct group sessions. With only eight residents at a time and 24-hour staff access, clients can be assured of a unique amount of attention compared with other facilities.

Fernside is not a 12-step based recovery facility, but rather encourages CBT and DBT sessions. Still, off-site 12-step meetings are available in the evenings for those who want them with transportation provided by the staff. All therapy sessions are held in the house itself, and residents also get personal therapy sessions three times a week. Fernside also offers support and education for family members and significant others about drug and alcohol addiction, and often collaborates with other community resources to those ends.


Family members can schedule group therapy sessions with clients as well, whether in person or by teleconference. Residents also work with their personal therapists to develop a comprehensive aftercare program that specifically addresses their needs. Finally, Fernside offers a Recovery Renewal, a plan for clients who have received treatment at McLean Fernside already and are concerned that drug and alcohol relapse may occur or has occurred because of psychiatric problems or life challenges.

Fernside has a standard gym on-site in an adjoining building to the facility outfitted with basic machines, though fitness instruction is offered twice a week; this adjoining facility also has a room dedicated to art therapy. Residents will also go out for occasional dinners, movies and take trips to Boston, which is about a half hour away by car. While recovery at Fernside typically lasts 30 to 45 days, if a client should need to leave during the course of their stay they can be refunded for the remaining days on a prorated basis. While this may not seem like a particularly exciting perk, it’s worth noting that many other facilities do not offer the same security.

In Summary

While many luxury facilities offer comfortable living situations, few can match the authentic New England charm of the Fernside mansion. From the comfortable private bedrooms to the surrounding greenery, McLean Fernside definitely makes their residents feel soothed. Due to their affiliation with McLean Hospital, clients can also count on plenty of access to some of the best medical care in the world, in addition to the on-site therapeutic work.

McLean Fernside Location

c/o McLean Hospital
115 Mill Street
Belmont, MA 02478

McLean Fernside Cost

$56,400 (30 days). Reach McLean Fernside by phone at (800) 906-9531. Find McLean on Facebook, Twitter or YouTube

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