First Step - VA Palo Alto Health Care System
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VA Palo Alto Health Care System


First Step

First Step is a Residential Rehabilitation program focused on the treatment of addiction. First Step is a therapeutic community that provides ongoing assessment, recovery planning, psycho education, and support within a social setting that values personal responsibility, problem-solving, practice, personal relationships, and play.

Within this framework, First Step integrates a variety of empirically supported treatments, such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), Motivational Interviewing (MI), and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT). An ongoing weekly aftercare group is also offered.

Substance use disorders (SUDS) are the most prevalent of all psychiatric disorders. Most First Step residents use multiple substances, with alcohol, nicotine, cannabis, cocaine, amphetamine, and heroin being the most common. Although alcohol is the most frequently abused substance, only a minority of First Step residents use alcohol exclusively.

General Eligibility for VA Care

Eligibility for most VA benefits is based on discharge from active military service under other than dishonorable conditions. Depending on financial status, there may be a co-payment charge.

For information on enrolling in the VA system for medical and other services, visit VA Health Benefits.

First Step Celebration
First Step Admission Criteria:

  • Capable of self care
  • Not in need of a higher level of care
  • Motivated and able to actively participate in intensive treatment
  • Recent and/or history of substance abuse

How to Apply – First Step

For additional information or to set up a phone screening regarding this program, please contact the consultation team at:
(650) 493-5000 x22734, Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to noon, or 1:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.

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