Seabrook is being reviewed here as part of a series of drug and alcohol treatment center reviews I am writing on the addiction treatment rehabs which I use to refer individuals when they are in need of a higher level of care than traditional outpatient individual therapy.  As a clinical addiction psychologist in Philadelphia and Bala Cynwyd, I refer to Seabrook regularly and the most important criteria for my evaluation is that the large majority of patients who return to individual outpatient therapy report a positive treatment experience. I know people who have been on staff and have spoken to clients and colleagues extensively. For the most part, Seabrook offers a continuum of substance use disorder treatment with the exception of services for clients who are unsure of abstinence or not willing to embrace a twelve-step philosophy. Unfortunately, this is a large subset of patients seeking drug and alcohol treatment and I wish they offered more help for those who are not ready to be entirely abstinent or who are on the fence about programs like Alcoholics Anonymous. In general my reviews tend towards the critical but as you can see I still give Seabrook 4 stars out of five because it offers a good detox, inpatient and Intensive Outpatient Treatment center with a solid continuum of care except for initial individual outpatient psychotherapy and longer-term individual outpatient treatment which for most patients, should be the cornerstone of addiction treatment for the substance use disorders.

Seabrook states that they offer a “robust range of services that include individual and group therapy, as well as yoga, eye movement desensitization and reprocessing, psychodrama, music therapy, equine-assisted therapy and adventure-based counseling.” These holistic therapies offered are good though not all are widely considered empirical in terms of real scientific proof that they work. My experience specifically as an addiction psychologist and certified alcohol and drug counselor is that these services, activities or adjunctive therapies can be very helpful for some patients but there are more evidenced-based, reliable and valid treatments which are available in just good individual outpatient therapy which should be patient-centered and individually tailored in most outpatient addiction practices.  Also, these more “holistic” forms of treatment are not offered at each Seabrook site which means sometimes it’s better to cobble together these kinds of resources on an outpatient basis locally near home where it is easier for most individuals to really connect and bond to others seeking the same sorts of treatment in their local communities and neighborhoods.

The Seabrook model relies heavily on abstinence and AA which is excellent for those who are ready for both but rarely is anyone entering treatment ready to accept being clean and sober right away. If they were, they might not need treatment at all! This is the great irony or paradox in most abstinence based treatment approaches. People reluctantly and bravely come forward for treatment to get help to stop using substances and treatment centers say, “yes, we’re so happy to help, all you have to do is get sober and remain abstinent while you’re here and you can begin treatment with us.” The reality is that most people are on the fence and truly ambivalent about being sober and inpatient treatment settings are unable to truly accommodate patient’s mixed feelings about addiction treatment and recovery. Seabrook states that their outpatient focus is to engage patients in the 12-step recovery process and tenets of AA and NA (it is an actual requirement of treatment) to achieve abstinence. While this is always ideal and the most conservative approach and often what we as family members, treatment providers and loved ones want for the people abusing drugs and alcohol in our lives, it is rarely practical and can’t be crammed down anyone’s throat in a one-size-fits-all manner.


Seabrook does offer MAT (Medication Assisted Treatment) which is fast becoming a standard for addiction treatment counseling. Seabrook House is one of the leaders in offering MAT in our area as other treatment centers were slow to recognize how to integrate these clearly effective treatments into mainstream and especially abstinent and 12-step based treatment centers. They deserve kudos for being able to integrate these treatments into their model. They do not however offer “Ambulatory Detox” or withdrawal management on an outpatient basis which is problematic for some patients who would like to try to taper or detox successfully on an outpatient basis. Many individuals aren’t ready or able to commit to inpatient detox due to work, childcare or other commitments and patients should be able to consider with the help of an addiction psychologist or certified alcohol and drug counselor whether they are good candidates for ambulatory detox or withdrawal management on an outpatient basis.


Rates aren’t listed. I’d prefer to see them. Sometimes people don’t want to use their insurance out of concern that insurance companies and electronic medical records can last indefinitely and later return to haunt us when seeking new or additional health coverage or in obtaining life insurance or even the possibility that it can affect job and career prospects especially when individuals work in sensitive fields like the government, doctors, lawyers, psychologists, unions and other professional vocations.


Among the leadership staff I have been surprised that there is not one single member with a Ph.D or Psy.D and that might be acceptable but in addition there is not one member of the treatment team either who is doctoral level at this time and that is unacceptable. There are plenty of psychologists and doctoral level therapists and clinicians locally who have the training and expertise to lend more intensive mental health, psychology, research and addiction treatment experience to any facility and treatment program. While there are some physicians on staff there is only one psychiatrist which is much better than several other addiction treatment centers who don’t have any psychiatrists on staff though the psychiatrist here is dedicated to medical management and psychiatrists are not trained in the full range of underlying mental health disorders and their treatment as much as any PhD or PsyD level psychologist.


Finally, the assessment test on their site is definitely overly slanted and biased with false positives for alcoholism. For example, if you answered “yes” to two of the questions below then “the chances are that you are an alcoholic” and if you answered “yes” to three of them then “you are definitely an alcoholic.”


Do you drink or use drugs alone?

Have you ever had a complete loss of memory as a result of your drinking or drug use?

Has your physician ever treated you for drinking or drug use?


There are plenty of people who drink alone one or even two drinks a night and drinking alone, by itself, is really not an indication of alcohol abuse. Even when paired with a one time blackout in college, this can be construed as a typical or common experience for many people who by this test would then likely be considered alcoholic. Even if someone has ever received treatment by their physician, especially if one follows his or her recommendations and treatment successfully this would clearly not make you alcoholic. It is really important to be honest with your doctor about your alcohol use. He works for you. You hired her to provide medical care to treat you so be honest and open with your physician.


If you have any questions about inpatient treatment don’t hesitate to call me/us. Seabrook is an excellent center for detox, inpatient and intensive outpatient treatment. If you or your loved-one is on the fence about treatment then start with an outpatient addiction psychologist or certified addiction counselor in an outpatient setting to determine whether detox or inpatient is the necessary best place to start. – Dr. Jeremy Frank, Director Jeremy Frank Associates. Jeremy Frank PhD CADC Addiction Psychologist and Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor, Philadelphia and Bala Cynwyd, PA.