For those of verifiable Native American descent, the San Diego American Indian Health Center (SDAIHC) offers an outpatient blend of 12-step and traditional Native American healing techniques, and will provide confidential mental health and substance abuse outpatient counseling for free. Established as a non-profit in 1979 with an emphasis on treating urban Native Americans, SDAIHC is located in a metropolitan neighborhood just north of downtown San Diego, California, and provides most services to anyone, regardless of age, ethnicity, sexual orientation or national origin.
Treatment and Staff
The behavioral services include confidential mental health and substance abuse counseling by experienced clinicians, as well as the services of traditional healers when requested. All the traditional healers are trained Navajos that double as addiction specialists and host Spiritual Solutions Talking Circles every Wednesday night that are open to everyone and are also free of charge. These Talking Circles act as a recovery support group where the traditional healer leads the group in prayer, traditional blessings and ceremonies.
Also open to everyone is the 12-step program adapted to the Native American perspective that meets once a week on Friday nights. Known as White Bison Wellbriety, this 12-step program is hosted by a Cherokee and is based on the Native American teachings of the Medicine Wheel, the Cycle of Life and the Four Laws of Change.
While the free Spiritual Solutions Talking Circles and Wellbriety meetings make SDAIHC an appealing place for those seeking a holistic treatment element to their recovery, it should be noted that Intensive Outpatient Programs (IOP)—programs in which clients meet with a therapist or counselor every day—are not currently available here. Also, the two licensed counselors and psychotherapist on staff are available to anyone seeking treatment, but the abuse counselor is only available to Native Americans. Treatment methodologies include EMDR, CBT and an otherwise eclectic approach to psychodynamic therapy. Individual therapy is available with counselors or psychotherapists on a once a week basis, by appointment.
Behavioral services are available Monday through Friday from 8 am to 5 pm, and appointments must be scheduled at least a week in advance by telephone.
SDAIHC has an administrative staff that includes doctors, nurses, psychotherapists, drug counselors and traditional native healers and all are encouraging, discreet and friendly. Counselors here are trained to work with personal, emotional, family and alcohol and drug issues, and the psychotherapist available at SDAIHC specializes in addiction, with 10 years of experience in treating clients.
For individuals of Native American descent who would like to receive free outpatient treatment from people who will understand, respect and accommodate your culture and traditions, San Diego American Indian Health Ccenter is the place to go. It functions well as a supplement to another recovery program, and many of the people who attend the free weekly meetings are often simultaneously completing other recovery programs elsewhere. The radiant sense of community at SDAIHC can make it the ideal place to help foster or supplement a long-term recovery for Native Americans, though perhaps less so for non-Natives.
San Diego American Indian Health Center
2630 1st Ave
San Diego, CA 92103
San Diego American Indian Health Center Cost: Varies. Reach the San Diego American Indian Health Center by phone at (619) 234-2158 or by email at [email protected]. Find the San Diego American Indian Health Center on Facebook, YouTube and LinkedIn
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