Northwest Counseling & Wellness Center

By The Fix staff 05/10/15

This Austin, Texas rehab provides substance abuse and mental health services as an outpatient programs. It is universally beloved by its clients and alumni for the therapy provided to the individual and the support freely given by a caring staff.

Northwest Counseling and Wellness Center
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Location : Austin, TX
Phone : (512) 250-9355
Price : $190/day
Overall :
Accommodations :
Treatment :
Food :
Insurance : Yes
Detox : No

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Austin, Texas, is known for many things, including a thriving music and bar scene. Since 1996, northwest Austin has also been known as the home to Northwest Counseling and Wellness Center which provides substance abuse and mental health services as an outpatient program to central Texas. NCWC, as it is known, is universally beloved by its clients and alumni not only for the therapy provided to the individual, but for the love and support freely given by a caring staff, which is all part of an affordable and convenient program here.

The Intensive Outpatient Program at NCWC typically consists of meeting for several hours a day, three to four times per week for a period of five to six weeks, or about 20 sessions. However, individualized programs and lengths of treatment are available as well. So, if you're looking for the type of IOP that is all day long, every day of the week, this isn't for you. If you need a place that keeps you from morning till night every day, look somewhere else.  On the other hand, this is a great place to go if you want to be able to check in almost daily for an extended period, yet still have time to work, spend time with your family, or just live your life.  Here you'll find day, evening and weekend options available for convenience and to meet the varying needs of clients. There is also an aftercare option, where an individual signs up for another six months of outpatient treatment, but only attends groups part of the time, a couple of hours a week, either for relapse prevention or to just continue with a program that has already proven to get results for him or her. "They are real flexible with several options available to fit around your life," said one recent graduate. 

The daily routine is basically three hours, divided into three distinct one-hour periods, each providing a different mode of therapy, but with variety within each hour as well. As a recent client puts it, "One hour was a form of guided self awareness (yoga, meditation, etc.). Another hour was geared toward education on addictive traits and other related topics. The third hour was open for discussion." Another alum says, "The daily routine was exceptional." The variety of therapies is a draw for potential  clients at NCWC, with one client saying, "I was attracted to the holistic approach...that they used which included meditation, yoga, acudetox, individual and group therapy." 

Usually one hour is devoted to an educational lecture of sorts, such as "life skills" or other addiction and recovery-related topics. Then there is the group sharing component, or process group, which is where clients "check in" with the group and everyone shares. That's the psychotherapy component.  There is also an hour of non-talk therapy, with a variety of activities including acupuncture, yoga, physical fitness or other activities, along with meditation. 

The groups are intentionally kept small, usually 8-10 clients at a time. Everyone and anyone is welcome here. "We had a melting pot of young professionals and a wide range of personalities. There was always someone that I could relate to!" a former client said. Client demographics ranged far and wide; as another former NCWC group member put it, there were "white, hispanic, male, female, gay, lesbian. Ages ranged from late teens to mid-sixties. All income levels, including retirement, all education levels too."

The staff is very professional. All clinical staff has to be LPC or at least an LPC intern or have a Master's degree in Social Work. All therapists have at least a Master's degree.  Almost every respondent to our survey rated the therapeutic exercises, groups, and meetings as "Excellent, 5 out of a possible 5."

This is not a 12-step based program, though the 12 steps are mentioned and attendance at and adherence to a 12-step program is encouraged. But in addition to the introduction to the 12 steps, the program focuses more on alternative, evidence-based therapies such as Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, or ACT. The focus is really on mindfulness; the whole theme of NCWC is mindfulness. 

Along with all the love and acceptance at NCWC comes accountability, though. Drug testing is part of the routine here and they don't take positive tests lightly. "I witnessed someone being asked to leave after testing positive and not complying with the program," one recent graduate told us. "Treatment time was not allowed to be interrupted by disruptive behavior," another let us know. So, they are strict here, but only in the sense that they care about those who actually want to be there and learn and grow from the program. As one put it, "I truly believe that we all loved going there so much that it was easy to abstain from our vices."

NCWC also has a mental health IOP. You can do both programs, either concurrently or consecutively. They find that rarely is the issue solely substance abuse, or solely a mental health issue, but usually a combination of both.

Overall, former and current clients think very highly of NCWC, noting memorable aspects of their treatment with statements like, "The staff...they cared and took the time to let me know that they cared!" and that they really liked "how all inclusive the treatment was and how willing the center is to customize a program that will work for you as an individual....There are many alternative forms of self care provided for the client to explore” and "The most memorable experience was the total respect the counselors had for their patients." So, if SXSW proves too much for you, or the hip bar scene is no longer fun, you might consider just turning around, doing a 180 and heading over to NCWC.

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