Phoenix House Los Angeles is the San Fernando Valley area branch of the acclaimed national substance abuse treatment organization Phoenix House. The Lake View Terrace location is one of Phoenix House’s academies. These are residential addiction treatment facilities specifically designed for teens ages 13 to 18, who attend school in the on-site classrooms.
PHLA has been treating young people with chemical dependency and mental illness since 1994. Emphasizing a holistic approach to treatment, PHLA works with families to heal the causes of their child’s addiction while bolstering their confidence through academic engagement, exploring creative outlets and growing social and life skills. PHLA also offers outpatient treatment for teens who have completed residential treatment and want to continue therapy while living at home.
Accommodations and Food
The Lake View Terrace facility treats up to 80 boys and 40 girls housed in gender-specific wings. Each resident has a roommate and each room has a private bathroom. Rooms are basic and tidy dormitory style with single beds, night stands and a shared desk. The campus is secure and expansive—much like a traditional college campus with manicured lawns, two-story academic buildings and a bright, sunny common area with comfortable seating and colorful murals. There are classrooms, gyms, a computer lab and a fully-equipped, state-of-the-art professional grade recording studio where students can explore their musical impulses.
Dinner and lunch are prepared by staff, and the facility accommodates dietary restrictions for allergies, religious and ethical needs. Residents prepare their own breakfasts as part of their morning routine.
Treatment and Staff
Length of stay varies greatly—depending on each teen’s needs—some may stay a week, others a year. On a typical day, after waking and making their bed and breakfast, residents attend school on-site from 8:15 am to 3 pm. Students wear school uniforms to avoid distraction. The credentialed teachers do their best to make sure each student keeps up with the curriculum of their appropriate grade, and they assist in “credit recovery” to help teens who’ve lost ground due to their substance abuse.
At 3 pm, some residents participate in sports to work towards their PE credit, others in music or art therapy. Group therapy is held every afternoon utilizing CBT with topics including anger management and how to make smart choices after treatment. Following dinner, residents are divided into sections for supervised recreational activities through which the staff finds a way to impart life skills or a morality lesson through the activity. Lights are out at 9 pm. As they make progress, residents can earn cell phone privileges and take weekend excursions.
Physical fitness is an integral part of recovery at PHLA and to this end residents participate in organized indoor and outdoor activities three times a week. This is supplemented with yoga, dance and meditation to further each young person’s spiritual growth.
The treatment is PHLA is evidence-based with dual-diagnosis support available for young people diagnosed with co-occurring disorders. A medical doctor and psychiatrist are on site throughout the week. Most therapy groups are led by MFT interns and are supervised by an MFT with an addiction treatment background. The facility is also staffed 24/7 with nurses trained in crisis management.
In the spirit of giving back, students with strong recovery participate in outreach programs to area schools and community centers about the dangers and signs of addiction and substance abuse.
Additionally, a psychoeducational family program offers sessions for students with their parents and for parents on their own. Upon completion of inpatient treatment, residents continue treatment in PHLA’s outpatient program. If the client and their family do not live in close proximity to the facility, staff will make a referral to a program closer the resident’s home.
Since 1994, Phoenix House Los Angeles has demonstrated an extraordinary commitment to helping young people recover from chemical dependency and co-occurring disorders. The staff knows that they must teach the entire family new skills in order to support their child in recovery. Phoenix House recognizes the developmental challenges a young person faces when battling addiction. To overcome those challenges, staff and clinicians motivate residents by teaching them how to engage in life through creativity and academics, in hopes of making them less vulnerable to destructive influences when they return home.
Phoenix House Los Angeles
11600 Eldridge Ave,
Lake View Terrace, CA 91342
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Photo courtesy of PhoenixHouse