West Central Human Service Center
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West Central Human Service Center


West Central Human Service CenterThe Basics

West Central Human Service Center is one of eight regional human service centers within the North Dakota Department of Human Services. It offers outpatient substance abuse treatment and a limited number of crisis beds for adults and adolescents in Mercer, Emmons and eight other counties in North Dakota. Located in Bismarck, just a few miles south of the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation, West Central Human Service Center has helped residents in Bismarck and surrounding counties for over 20 years, regardless of their ability to pay.

Treatment and Staff

While West Central does not offer typical residential substance abuse treatment, it does have acute care beds at North Dakota State Hospital for people who are in severe psychiatric distress. There are six adult beds and four reserved for minors. Accommodations are typical of a clinical setting, with two clients to a room and a shared bathroom. If anyone is experiencing withdrawal symptoms, the on-call physician does an evaluation and if appropriate, prescribes detox meds.

The first step in outpatient treatment at West Central Human Service Center is an evaluation by an addiction counselor. If the client qualifies for substance abuse treatment, there are three levels of outpatient: Day treatment, Intensive Outpatient (IOP) and Outpatient. Clients with co-occurring disorders can be treated as long as they see an outside psychiatrist for medication management.

The most structured level of care is day treatment. Day clients attend sessions from 8 am to 3 pm Monday through Thursday. Individual therapy occurs at least once a week and clients attend group therapy throughout the day, with a lunch break from noon to 1 pm. Group topics include relapse prevention, triggers, dealing with cravings, stress management, anxiety and depression. Certain groups are gender specific and if appropriate, parenting groups are also an option. Day treatment clients attend for 12 to 16 weeks, depending on their progress.

The first step-down in treatment is to the IOP level of care. Clients meet three times per week for a total of nine hours for eight to 10 weeks. Individual therapy is once per week and group topics are similar to clients in day treatment, with less frequency.

Outpatient clients meet one to two times per week, depending on assessment. Individual therapy is on an as-needed basis, but all clients are required to see primary counselors once a month. Topics in this group are similar to IOP and day treatment. Finally, adolescent outpatient group meets every Wednesday from 4 to 6 pm. The first hour is a lecture on addiction studies followed by 60 minutes of peer-driven discussion.

For all three modalities, individual therapy sessions are 50 minutes and groups are 60 minutes, with the exception of day treatment, where group sessions are 90 minutes. Group size varies but is limited to 12 participants. The facility hours are Monday through Thursday from 8 am to 5 pm.

Licensed addiction counselors facilitate all group and individual therapy sessions. The treatment team at West Central Human Services consists of social workers and addiction counselors who use CBT as their method of treatment. Crisis clients have access to 24-hour nursing care as well as psychiatric and medical care. There are four counselors at the outpatient facility and one registered nurse for every six residents in the crisis unit.

In Summary

West Central Human Service Center offers extensive outpatient services but not much in regards to residential. Cuts in state and county budgets do not allow for expansion, much to the frustration of the hard working staff. Nevertheless, West Central has never turned anyone away due to lack of funds and the possibility of free treatment is a priceless asset.

West Central Human Service Center
1237 W. Divide Ave #5
Bismarck, ND 58501

West Central Human Service Center Cost: Sliding scale. Reach West Central Human Service Center at (701) 328-8888 or by email at dhswchsc@nd.gov

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