Peniel Ministries in Johnstown, Pennsylvania is a faith-based, long-term residential treatment program for men and women that includes a family program and vocational training. The organization was founded in 1980.
Accommodations and Food
Because male and female contact is strictly forbidden at Peniel Ministries, separate male and female dormitories are provided, both spacious and comfortable. Throughout the facility, walls are painted bright colors, furniture is all dark wood and there is plenty of natural light. Rooms are assigned for between one to four clients as occupancy permits, with lockers and drawers for personal belongings. Each program can accommodate 32 residents. Each dormitory has a gymnasium, a sanctuary for prayer and reflection, common areas, classrooms, conference rooms, medical facilities and a cafeteria-style dining room. Bathrooms are set up dorm-style as well, shared between residents with banks of showers. On-site laundry is available, as is a barbershop.
Ample parking is available for residents, family and guests. Clients follow a set schedule for events, chores, meals, free time, counseling, chapel services and training. All meals are served in the cafeteria, consisting of common dishes and comfort food.
Treatment and Staff
A pre-admission screening includes a review of each client’s physical, emotional and psychiatric health, along with an overview of their legal, employment and treatment history. Applicants must supply valid photo identification as well as photos of visible tattoos, marks or scars, lab test results, legal clearance and court order (if necessary) and a 30-day supply of approved medications. A complete list of recommended, permitted and restricted items and required forms is available on the website.
Treatment consists of 13 months of intensive inpatient care consisting of an intake period and four distinct phases thereafter, each lasting approximately three months. Intake is a one-month observation period that confirms a resident’s desire for sobriety, faith in God and that the program can help them achieve their goals. No visitation is allowed during this time. The four phases after that gradually become less intensive as clients earn back their independence. Those further along in the program are expected to be mentors to newer arrivals. An aftercare component is the final stage of treatment, which lasts for six months following the residential program.
Throughout treatment, counselors and residents work together on recovery goals, constantly integrating Biblical principles. Personal issues and feelings are discussed in terms of Christian analysis. Group therapy meets daily, with sessions lasting two to three hours each. In these sessions, staff present topics of discussion to residents. These sessions also highlight healthy decision-making, drawing similarities between those further along in recovery. Clients also meet one-on-one with counselors for scheduled appointments once a week, generally for a half hour each time.
Family therapy allows loved ones to share their feelings as well as suggesting solutions and resolutions. All counselors promote independent thinking in line with Biblical teachings. Psychosocial therapy strengthens the development of after-treatment personal resources.
Peniel Ministries has a staff of 22 full-time employees consisting of several PhDs and Master’s-level, medical and religious professionals. These include CADCs, psychologists, family counselors and CSWs. The staff-to-client ratio at Peniel is one-to-three.
An on-site gymnasium and fitness center offers classes in fitness, weights and aerobics. Basketball, football, volleyball, running, softball and ping-pong are also available. Residents can study at Pennsylvania Highlands Community College or online through Lee University of Cleveland, Tennessee. Clients can also participate in the Peniel choir and music ensemble. Friday evening is movie night.
Overall, Peniel Ministries helps men and women in recovery with a faith-based program of treatment. Though the program is affordable, their emphasis is decidedly fixed on Bible-based learning, which may not be for everyone. However, for those looking for a Christian take on recovery, Peniel Ministries is a long-term program that teaches awareness and inner peace.
760 Cooper Ave
Johnstown, PA 15907
Peniel Ministries Cost: $875 (30 days, insurance accepted and scholarships available). Contact Peniel Ministries by phone at (814) 536-2111 by email at [email protected] or [email protected]. Find Peniel Ministries on Facebook
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Photo courtesy of Bonnachoven (Own work) [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons (resized and cropped)