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The Freedom Center


redwood city californiaThe Basics

Located in Redwood City, California, The Freedom Center (or El Centro de Libertad) provides services for substance abuse and co-occurring disorders to the residents of San Mateo County. This culturally sensitive facility provides services in both Spanish and English. Outpatient treatment is available with assessments, individual and group therapy and a specialized relapse prevention program. Rooted in the 12 steps and evidence-based therapies, clients are given the opportunity to create a strong foundation for lasting sobriety.

Treatment and Staff

Prior to beginning treatment, each client must undergo a bio-psycho-social. Clients then meet with a counselor for an initial intake appointment to determine the treatment needed. Detox and residential care referrals can be made upon request.

The adult intensive relapse prevention program was designed with chronic relapsers in mind. This level of care requires clients to make a six-month commitment as well as attend frequent 12-step meetings and obtain a sponsor. Clients meet twice a week for group therapy in the evenings and once a week for individual therapy. Group topics cover recovery and relapse, grief and loss, guilt and shame, anger management, boundaries, communication skills, co-dependency, inner-child work and spirituality. By the end of treatment, the goal is for clients to have identified their triggers and learned healthy coping skills and support through regular participation in the 12-step community.

Following the completion of the relapse prevention program, clients create a continuing care plan which often incorporates weekly group sessions. These sessions are available in the evenings for an hour and a half. Specialized topics include harm reduction, co-occurring issues, wellness and empowerment, anger management, relapse prevention, domestic violence and gender- and parole-specific groups. Through the use of CBT and DBT, clients learn to change their negative thoughts. Adolescents can also receive treatment for substance abuse through psycho-educational group sessions and individual therapy.

Individual therapy can also be utilized as its own treatment track. This can be accomplished on a weekly, bi-weekly or monthly basis. This type of care provides individualized attention, as well as privacy and the opportunity to delve deeply into personal issues difficult to discuss on the group level. The length of time spent in therapy varies depending on the individual. Both morning and evening appointments are available.

The staff consists of Master’s-level therapists, interns and LADCs. Groups sizes vary from 10 to 15 at a time.


Family involvement is seen as an important component of recovery as well. Family education groups are held once a month and offer information on codependency and communication skills. Families can also come in for family therapy with the client.

The Freedom Center also offers a 32-hour anger management program for adults and a 12- to 16-week program for adolescents. There is also a 52-week domestic violence program for adults. Educational sessions including presentations, parent assemblies and alternatives to suspension programs are offered in local San Mateo schools. Parenting classes and drug testing are also available.

In Summary

Overall, The Freedom Center offers a range of outpatient options for substance abuse. Using evidence-based therapies and extensive 12-step involvement, clients learn new behaviors and develop a sober community to help them remain sober. While those seeking residential care or more structured daily treatment may need a more intensive program, The Freedom Center remains this a great option for those seeking a flexible, comprehensive basic outpatient program.

The Freedom Center
500 Allerton St, #200
Redwood City, CA 94063

The Freedom Center Cost: Sliding scale. Reach The Freedom Center by phone at (650) 599-9955. Find The Freedom Center on Facebook and Twitter

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Photo courtesy of U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, photographer not specified or unknown [Public domain], via WikimediaCommons (resized and cropped)

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