Menninger Clinic
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Menninger Clinic


Menninger ClinicMenninger Clinic Review

Doctors C.F. Karl and Will Menninger founded the Menninger Clinic in 1925. It has ranked among the country’s best hospitals for psychiatric treatment every year since 1991, when the US News and World Report started keeping track. Located just outside of Houston, Texas, it is a haven for the most challenging dual diagnosis clients, many who have already been through treatment, therapy and hospitalization more than once. Further, as a leader amongst teaching and research hospitals, the Menninger Clinic offers easy access to a comprehensive array of medical specialties and cutting-edge neuroscience research at a price.

Accommodations and Food

The Menninger Clinic sits on 50 acres of green lawns. It’s bordered by a strip mall, a residential neighborhood and open land. It looks and feels like a modern college campus, punctuated by gleaming contemporary sculpture, walkways, porticos and verandas. Once inside, clients familiar with upscale corporate hotels will feel right at home. High-ceiling lounges, lobby areas and dining rooms are furnished in warm, unobtrusive neutral tones and oversized modern wood furniture.

Everything at Menninger is organized into four units that reflect the four distinct treatment populations: Adolescents, Compass Program for young adults (18 to late 20s), Professionals in Crisis for high-achieving individuals experiencing difficulty managing their lives, and the Hope Program for adults with chronic mental illness and a lower level of functioning.

Each unit has its own building. Therefore, treatment occurs on the unit, with clients moving between their unit’s residence hall, community area, group room, nurse’s station, clinician office, and outdoor terrace (where those over the age of 18 can smoke). All four groups share the Commons building that holds the dining room, gym, wellness center, arts and crafts room and pool.

Rooms at the Menninger Clinic are private or semi-private. In semi-private rooms, a common wall separates the bedrooms, and patients have private bathrooms. Queen beds covered in elegant white bedding, large windows overlooking the green campus, modern wood cabinets for storage and a desk adhere to the upscale chain hotel model.

Each unit has a TV in its community room. The unit’s group room contains a bank of three to four computers with limited Internet access for email (all social media is blocked). In accordance with Texas law stating that all hospital patients must have telephone access, Menninger assigns each client a cell phone upon admission for use during their stay; clients turn it in upon discharge. Telephone privileges are fairly liberal but dependent upon clinical team approval. Adolescents have less access to their Menninger cell phones, with specific phone check-out times. There is also limited Skype access for live chatting with family, also dependent on the clinical team’s approval.

Hot meals are served three times a day. At lunch and dinner clients can choose between a vegetarian, a home-style, and a healthy grilled “spa item of the day” option. Aside from that, residents can always find a salad bar, two soups, a burger/sandwich grill and fresh fruit. If a client has had a particularly tiring week, ordering in a pizza is even a possibility.

Treatment and Staff

The average stay at Menninger is 45 days, with many staying up to eight weeks. Detox here is based on assessment; stabilization service varies. Menninger is first and foremost a facility for those who have experienced previous psychiatric hospitalizations, suicide attempts, depression, personality disorders, anxiety, self-harm and trauma. However, approximately 65% of its clients also have experience with substance abuse/addictive disorders. As a result, it designs treatment to address multiple co-occurring disorders simultaneously.

The individualized treatment plan is composed of CBT, DBT, mentalization-based therapy and neuroscience education. Recovery also includes on and off-site 12-step meetings, step work and group processing. SMART Recovery is available to those clients who don’t resonate with AA ideology. Residents are scheduled for psychiatric sessions and at least two individual sessions a week. Some staff is trained in EMDR for trauma, but it’s not part of the standard protocol.

Leading the recovery team is a primary psychiatrist, employed at the hospital full-time with no outside practice, who treats a maximum of 12 clients. The team also includes a Master’s-level licensed addiction counselor, a psychologist or social worker, a rehabilitation specialist, nursing staff and a nursing manager. The staff of 500 includes 52 full-time and 49 part-time nurses making the overall staff-to-client ratio four-to-one.

Family orientation occurs the first week; teleconferencing is available. Families work closely with the client’s assigned social worker throughout the course of treatment. Family therapy is scheduled on an individual basis by the clinical team.

Visitors are welcome during non-programming hours, usually between 5 and 7 pm on weekdays and on weekends. As clients make progress, family can check them out on a pass, although this varies with program.

The day either starts at 6 am for an offsite AA or NA meeting, or at 7:45 am for breakfast in the cafeteria. Those not willing or able to make it to the cafeteria can help themselves to the cold breakfast offerings always available at their unit’s Nurses’ Station. After breakfast clients can attend a mindfulness meditation or participate in a group walk. Before and after lunch, clients are busy with community meetings, goal setting meetings, a variety of psychoeducational groups, group psychotherapy, individual therapy, addiction counseling or addiction groups. After lunch residents make the rounds twice weekly with their clinical team. After dinner they enjoy down time; structured recreation options include the gym, yoga class, or craft activities. Friday nights and weekends include shopping at Target or a bookstore.


A saltwater pool, wellness programming and a wellness center with a half basketball court, stationary bikes, treadmills, elliptical and stair climber, an exercise studio and yoga classes, art and music therapy, equine therapy, vocational training and meditation are some of the extras offered at The Menninger Clinic.

In Summary

Highly regarded in the psychiatric community, the Menninger Clinic has access to the latest in research and technology, ample highly-trained staff, and comprehensive care for the most chronic, challenging addiction and mental health disorders.

Menninger Clinic Location

12301 S. Main St
Houston, TX 77035

Menninger Clinic Cost

$48,000 (30 days adjusted, minimum stay is 45 days). Reach the Menninger Clinic by phone at (800) 351-9058 ext. 5140. Find the Menninger Clinic on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn

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