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Prelude Behavioral Services


Prelude Behavioral ServicesPrelude Behavioral Services Review

Prelude Behavioral Services has gone through a series of name changes and organizational shifts throughout its long history. Originally established in 1969 as the Johnson County Citizens Committee on Alcoholism in Iowa City, they’ve also gone by Mecca Services more recently. Today they’re known as Prelude, and have expanded their substance abuse services over the years to include a mental health component and a new Des Moines facility, opened in 2000.

Both the Iowa City and Des Moines locations offer a variety of inpatient and outpatient options and serve an estimated 1,500 clients a year. A good example of Prelude’s overall programming can be gleaned by taking a look at their residential program in Des Moines.

Accommodations and Food

Once a retirement home, Prelude Des Moines is housed in a sprawling one-story facility. Clients share rooms with three other residents, each with twin beds and basic furnishings for personal items. Some rooms come with private bathrooms, but others have to share the hallways facilities. The program is equipped to treat 38 at a time, housed in gender-separate hallways. All of Prelude’s locations are non-smoking—for those who think this is an issue, they also offer smoking cessation therapy as part of their program.

Clients are also provided three meals a day. This typically consists of a continental breakfast of oatmeal and bagels, cold cut sandwiches and soup for lunch, and dinners catered by the local Hy-Vee grocery store; for the most part, entrées require minimal preparation.

Treatment and Staff

A typical day at the Des Moines facility is comprised of group and individual therapy from 8:30 am to 9 pm. There are seven scheduled breaks during the day for free time, appointed chores and meals. Residents must return to their rooms by 10:30 every night, with lights out at 11 pm.

Although Prelude’s primary focus in group therapy is on addiction, some groups also have a dual diagnosis component to address common issues like depression and anxiety. Individual therapy happens once a week for an hour with each client’s appointed counselor. Prelude does not stress the 12-step philosophy of recovery, though at least two groups a week are moderated by someone in the local AA or NA community.

Though group therapy is typically moderated by licensed counselors, Prelude also has a medical director on staff who meets with residents every Saturday for evaluations.

Prelude’s medical detox is located at their Iowa City facility and comes equipped with a 24-hour nursing staff. While the Des Moines location does not offer a detox per se, they do have private rooms monitored by full time nursing staff reserved for those who need them during the transition into treatment.

While their inpatient program typically lasts for 21 days, some clients choose to stay as long as 40. The aftercare program at Prelude is individualized and includes continued weekly (or monthly) individual therapy. After the initial stay, residents are also eligible for placement in a halfway house.


While Prelude does not sponsor off-campus excursions, they do attempt to offer free time activities like weekend movie nights. While there’s no gym at the facility, recreation time is factored into the daily schedule—group walks, dodgeball and kickball are frequent activities during free periods. There is also time set aside for weekly family visits on Saturday afternoons from 1 to 4:30 pm, which includes family group therapy from 1:30 to 2:30 pm.

Besides their traditional inpatient and outpatient services, they also offer specialized care including a women-only residential program and gambling addiction treatment.

In Summary

Given their long tenure and wide array of services, Prelude has a lot to offer prospective clients. Still, residents at Prelude may have to get creative when it comes to daily exercise, and must not be averse to sharing living space with others.

Prelude Behavioral Services Location

3451 Easton Blvd
Des Moines, Iowa 50317

Prelude Behavioral Services Cost

$5,000 (21 days without insurance; sliding scale also possible). Reach Prelude Behavioral Services by phone at (515) 262-0349. Find Prelude Behavioral Services on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube

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