Inaugural Blog Post for the Brentwood House
This is my first post for The Brentwood House blog, and I’m excited. Some of you may know that I blog for Malibu Beach Recovery Center, but this blog, for the women’s center, is different. It’s for and about women.
That’s not to say that men shouldn’t read it. Men play an important role in a woman’s life, whether they’re significant others or family members, and while female counselors are crucial to recovery, male counselors can play a special healing role in some cases. By all means, we hope men come to learn, and to support the women in their lives who have had a problem with substance or chemical abuse. And counselors and doctors should check up on us to make sure we get things right.
But women are different when it comes to substance abuse – especially regarding alcohol — and in various posts we’ll get into why that is and what experts have learned about women and substance abuse. Hopefully we’ll provide a lot of helpful information. We’re also here to support each other.
Here’s my July post announcing the center’s opening in July, and here’s Joan’s post at the 2- month mark. Many of the staff are listed in Joan’s post, including Liana Unger, Program Coordinator, Lindsay Jacobs, Assistant Program Coordinator, clinical psychologists Dr. Miriam Hamideh and Dr. Katya Techentin.
November marks the 4-month anniversary of Brentwood House, and to hear Joan, the staff, and the clients talk about it, they’re pleased and thankful with the way things are going. What a happy group. Look at any of the videos from the inaugural ceremony, and check out the stories that already appear on the site, here: http://thebrentwoodhouse.com/testimonials.
Brentwood House has six beds and offers a holistic approach to recovery that includes yoga and a special diet. The three chefs Johnnie, Yannick, and Johnnie’s mother Linda put their own spins on the MBRC diet, and Joan said that it’s interesting to see the different takes. (You can count on the food being delicious no matter who’s cooking.)
At the inaugural ceremony, Dr. Techentin delved into to the heart of the program when she said that women tend to gravitate toward men for safety because most are afraid of other women, but at Brentwood they have a chance to find a different type of relationship. Joan noted that they may not have had that for many years.
I asked Dr. Techentin for her thoughts now that Brentwood House has been operating for awhile, and she spoke about how successful the staff has been in tailoring the program for their female clients. “Besides evaluating clients during the intake process, we evaluate each woman to match them with a particular therapist or a psychiatrist to whom we refer them to. Our groups are largely thematically organized, depending on the needs of any given day.”
The staff works closely as a team, she added, whether psychiatrist and chef, or therapist and yoga instructor. The goal is to see a client as a whole and, working on recovering her Body, Mind and Spirit.
The Brentwood House recently incorporated another important feature, Dr. Technentin said. “We offer a separate consultation (either in person or over the phone) for family members, with a separate therapist. It helps them be prepared for the future and addresses some Alanon issues while our client develops trust with her own therapist. We find that this approach is helpful for families as a whole.”
There is a need for treatment centers for women, and Brentwood House is filling that need.