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Walden Anchor Residential


Named for Henry David Thoreau’s rumination on simple living in natural surroundings, Walden is a community-based nonprofit that has been offering comprehensive mental health and substance abuse treatment services since 1973. The organization operates six locations in southern Maryland. At the Anchor treatment center in Charlotte Hall, they provide medically monitored detox, medical stabilization and residential services including dual diagnosis support and Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT).

Accommodations and Food

Walden’s Anchor residential treatment center is a freestanding, one-story brick building. Women and men are housed separately in the facility. All rooms are shared with either two or three beds, and a private bathroom is provided with each room. There are typically 21 clients in residence at one time. All residential clients must turn over their cell phones and personal devices upon arrival, though there is a public phone available for use if needed. A lounge area is open to those in the long-term units and offers a TV and sitting areas for relaxing during breaks and down times.

A cafeteria serves three meals a day from a catering service, so multiple food options are not readily available. If a client reports an allergy prior to starting the program, specialty menus can be provided. For residents staying more than 30 days, there is a snack bin where non-perishable snack foods can be stored.

Smoke breaks can be taken throughout the day in a secluded outside area. Walden provides on-site laundry and detergent to every resident so laundry can be done on a regular basis.

Treatment and Staff

The Anchor center offers extensive treatment options and individualized care for adults. The North Star program consists of monitored detox, medical stabilization and group and individual counseling, which is similar to Intensive Outpatient (IOP) . The Compass Program resembles a sober-living environment, enabling clients to attend work and school while still receiving support during evening treatment sessions.

Depending on needs, specialized techniques such as CBT, MRT and therapies for co-occurring conditions may be used during therapy sessions. It is worth noting that Walden does not subscribe to the 12- step philosophy or use the 12 steps in any of their treatment programs. Family involvement is encouraged during the treatment process.

Outpatient services are offered at both the Charlotte Hall and Waldorf locations. IOP has either day or evening schedules and consists of approximately nine hours of group or individual therapy per week. Outpatient has three levels; the level to which clients are assigned depends on the initial assessment. Early Education requires two hours per week for six weeks; Specialized Treatment, which is mainly for court-ordered clients, requires 12 hours of therapy over six weeks; and Level One involves one and a half hours of individual or group therapy per week for an unspecified length of time. Group sessions vary in time since the programs are set up to be flexible to accommodate clients’ schedules.

Specialized adolescent outpatient treatment is available at the Waldorf location only. This program is for ages 12 to 17 and focuses on the Adolescent Community Reinforcement Approach. Treatment involves group and individual therapy and uses both CBT and the Seven Challenges. As with the adult program, length of treatment and therapy options are discussed at initial assessment to determine what works best for the client and family.

Staff at all locations is a mix of medical doctors, psychiatrists, clinical psychologists, addiction specialists and counselors.


While there is no set exercise program at Walden’s Anchor residential facility, there is a gym with workout equipment available and a ping-pong table in the common room. Smoke breaks can be taken throughout the day in a secluded outside area.

Anchor offers the SMART system for family members and friends of clients every Tuesday evening at the Lexington location. The Cove/DFZ (drug free zone) at the California location is a sober hangout for adolescents that is open from 12 noon to 7 pm during the week and offers outings on the weekends for families.

In Summary

Walden covers all the bases for those seeking treatment. With both adult and adolescent residential and outpatient options of varying intensities, there is a program to suit just about anybody. The one exception is that those seeking a 12 step-based program will need to keep looking.

Walden Review

44871 St Andrew’s Church Rd
California, MD 20619

Walden Cost

Cost varies by program. Reach Walden by phone at (301) 997-1300 x 8022, or by email at info@waldensierra.com. Find Walden on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn 

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