San Diego Center for Children - Armstrong Street

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San Diego Center for Children - Armstrong Street offers outpatient and inpatient services for children and adolescents with emotional, behavioral and/or mental health challenges. The program includes group support, individual therapy, family counselling and more. San Diego Center for Children - Armstrong Street is located at San Diego, California.

San Diego Center for Children - Armstrong Street Focus:

Opiate Addiction

Opiate Addiction Treatment Centers specialize in supporting those recovering from opioid addiction. They treat those suffering from addiction to illegal opioids like heroin, as well as prescription drugs like oxycodone. These centers typically combine both physical as well as mental and emotional support to help stop addiction. Physical support often includes medical detox and subsequent medical support (including medication), and mental support includes in-depth therapy to address the underlying causes of addiction.


The goal of treatment for alcoholism is abstinence. Those with poor social support, poor motivation, or psychiatric disorders tend to relapse within a few years of treatment. For these people, success is measured by longer periods of abstinence, reduced use of alcohol, better health, and improved social functioning. Recovery and Maintenance are usually based on 12 step programs and AA meetings.

Mental Health and Substance Abuse

A combined mental health and substance abuse treatment center has the staff and resources available to handle individuals with both mental health and substance abuse issues. It can be challenging to determine where a specific symptom stems from (a mental health issue or an issue related to substance abuse), so mental health and substance abuse professionals are helpful in detangling symptoms and keeping treatment on track.

Dual Diagnosis/Co-Occurring Disorders Treatment

Many of those suffering from addiction also suffer from mental or emotional illnesses like schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, depression, or anxiety disorders. Rehab and other substance abuse facilities treating those with a dual diagnosis or co-occurring disorder administer psychiatric treatment to address the person’s mental health issue in addition to drug and alcohol rehabilitation.

Rehab Services:

Psychotropic Medication

Psychotropic medications (aka psychodynamic medication) are any medicines used specifically to affect and/or alter a patient’s mind, emotions, and behaviors. Such psychiatric medicines are often used to change chemical levels in the brain that impact a person’s mood and behavior. These medications include mood stabilizers, antidepressants, anti-ADHD drugs, and anti-anxiety medications.

What does San Diego Center for Children - Armstrong Street offer?

Outpatient (OP)

Outpatient programs are for those seeking mental rehab or drug rehab, but who also stay at home every night. The main difference between outpatient treatment (OP) and intensive outpatient treatment (IOP) lies in the amount of hours the patient spends at the facility. Most of the time an outpatient program is designed for someone who has completed an inpatient stay and is looking to continue their growth in recovery. Outpatient is not meant to be the starting point, it is commonly referred to as aftercare.

Residential (inpatient) Treatment

Residential treatment programs are those that offer housing and meals in addition to substance abuse treatment. Rehab facilities that offer residential treatment allow patients to focus solely on recovery, in an environment totally separate from their lives. Some rehab centers specialize in short-term residential treatment (a few days to a week or two), while others solely provide treatment on a long-term basis (several weeks to months). Some offer both, and tailor treatment to the patient's individual requirements. The San Diego Center for Children provides three Residential Treatment programs on their expansive and inviting 9-acre campus in Kearny Mesa. A multidisciplinary team of specialized and highly-trained staff oversee the 70 children and teens, ages 6 to 18, living on their campus. Additionally, they are proud to be one of the only Residential Treatment programs for children in Southern California accredited by The Joint Commission, demonstrating their commitment to quality of care and high standards recognized by the Commission.

Treatment Types:

Individualized Treatment

Certain drug and alcohol rehab centers have standard treatment regimes they expect all patients to follow. Others offer individualized treatment, meaning they tailor treatment to a person’s specific background and needs. For example, a rehab facility may adjust a treatment program to take into account the type of drug or addiction from which the person suffers, their age, medical condition(s), religious beliefs, or lifestyle.

Family Program

Research clearly demonstrates that recovery is far more successful and sustainable when loved ones like family members participate in rehab and substance abuse treatment. Genetic factors may be at play when it comes to drug and alcohol addiction, as well as mental health issues. Family dynamics often play a critical role in addiction triggers, and if properly educated, family members can be a strong source of support when it comes to rehabilitation.

Therapies Offered:

Holistic Therapy

Rather than focusing solely on addiction, holistic therapy facilities treat patients in terms of their whole being. Holistic therapy is about more than just addiction and sobriety – it addresses the person’s life in its entirety, including career, physical, familial, and spiritual aspects.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a therapy modality that focuses on the relationship between one's thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. It is used to establish and allow for healthy responses to thoughts and feelings (instead of unhealthy responses, like using drugs or alcohol). CBT has been proven effective for recovering addicts of all kinds, and is used to strengthen a patient's own self-awareness and ability to self-regulate. CBT allows individuals to monitor their own emotional state, become more adept at communicating with others, and manage stress without needing to engage in substance abuse.

Individual Therapy

In individual therapy, a patient meets one-on-one with a trained psychologist or counselor. Therapy is a pivotal part of effective substance abuse treatment, as it often covers root causes of addiction, including challenges faced by the patient in their social, family, and work/school life.

Trauma Therapy

Trauma therapy addresses traumatic incidents from a client's past that are likely affecting their present-day experience. Trauma is often one of the primary triggers and potential causes of addiction, and can stem from child sexual abuse, domestic violence, having a parent with a mental illness, losing one or both parents at a young age, teenage or adult sexual assault, or any number of other factors. The purpose of trauma therapy is to allow a patient to process trauma and move through and past it, with the help of trained and compassionate mental health professionals.

Group Therapy

Group therapy is any therapeutic work that happens in a group (not one-on-one). There are a number of different group therapy modalities, including support groups, experiential therapy, psycho-education, and more. Group therapy involves treatment as well as processing interaction between group members.

Couples Treatment

Whether a marriage or other committed relationship, an intimate partnership is one of the most important aspects of a person’s life. Drug and alcohol addiction affects both members of a couple in deep and meaningful ways, as does rehab and recovery. Couples therapy and other couples-focused treatment programs are significant parts of exploring triggers of addiction, as well as learning how to build healthy patterns to support ongoing sobriety.

Experiential Therapy

Experiential therapy is a form of therapy in which clients are encouraged to surface and work through subconscious issues by engaging in real-time experiences. Experiential therapy departs from traditional “talk therapy” by involving the body, and having clients engage in activities, movements, and physical and emotional expression. This can involve role-play or using props (which can include other people). Experiential therapy can help people process trauma, memories, and emotion quickly, deeply, and in a lasting fashion, leading to substantial and impactful healing.

Motivational Interviewing

Motivational Interviewing (MI) is a clinical approach to helping people with substance abuse issues and other conditions shift behavior in positive ways. It is more goal-oriented than traditional psychotherapy, as MI counselors directly attempt to get clients to consider making behavioral change (rather than wait for them to come to conclusions themselves). Its primary purpose is to resolve ambivalence and help clients become able to make healthy choices freely.

Nutrition Therapy

Nutrition therapy, aka medical nutrition therapy (MNT), is a way of treating physical, emotional, and medical conditions through diet. Specific dietary plans are designed by professional nutritionists or registered dietitians, and patients follow them in order to positively affect their physical and mental health.

San Diego Center for Children - Armstrong Street Highlights:

At the very inception of the San Diego Center in February 1887 for Children were charitable community leaders wanting to provide to those less fortunate what government and social services could or would not do.
For over 130 years the need for behavioral health improvement in their children is great, but also ranges greatly based on level of need. The San Diego Center for Children is committed to a Continuum of Behavioral Healthcare for children and families to access better health, improved relationships and greater quality of life.
The Center is one of the handful of children’s behavioral healthcare organizations in California to have earned The Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Approval for accreditation. This prestigious recognition demonstrates their commitment to the national healthcare standards of The Joint Commission for the safety, quality of care and superior level of treatment they provide their community’s children and families.
Whether a child is referred by a parent or caregiver, the child’s school or through foster care, many of the behaviors presented at home and in school are generally consistent. And in many cases, these are significant indicators that the child needs attention and help.
School can be considered the child’s “workplace” and they have a need – and right – to receive a formal education. This education provides academic, living and social skills that sets a core foundation in a child’s life. When problems arise in the school setting, or a child is refusing to go to school, these are often indicators of larger issues that need to be addressed.
Behavioral health disorders can cause significant disruption at school and many times contribute to poor academic performance as well. When learning and school progress are affected, parents and caregivers may be able to work with the school to get the child on an Individualized Education Plan (IEP.) These plans outline various strategies and goals that can adjust the child’s school environment with a goal to improve overall performance.
When other models and therapies have been proven not effective, or a child presents such significant behaviors that it is no longer safe to live at home, Residential Treatment may be the necessary option to consider. At this intensive level of therapy, a child receives 24/7 supervision and support within with a structured environment to build various coping, communication, social and independent-living skills.
Each program approaches the behavioral care of each child with a focus on holistic wellness through comprehensive therapeutic programming and strength-based approaches. Additionally, their trauma-informed care approach implemented throughout our campus equips us to treat children and teens with sensitivity to backgrounds of physical and sexual abuse, or other types of severe trauma.
The core practice throughout all our programs is therapy. While they deliver proven and evidence-based practices, they also know that when engaged through other, more relevant forms, a child can actually make faster, more sustainable progress in their healing and skill-building.
Every child has a right and need to receive an education. This is a child’s primary “job” and sets the foundation for the academic, social and life skills learned during childhood. Having an education means being equipped with the tools and knowledge to direct their future and can have a great impact on a child’s direction in life. Behavioral health disorders should not impede a child’s ability to receive an education, experience success and realize full potential.
In a healthy and happy environment, what does a parent strive to give their child? These are the activities, events and celebrations that later bring fond memories of being a child. The camping trips, dance lessons, summer camps, birthday parties and so much more that are synonymous with the joy of childhood. Enrichment isn’t an “extra” as we can fund it. They know each child in their care needs – and deserves – to have their childhood rooted in feelings of joy, happiness and self-worth.
Their surroundings play a significant role in their overall health. The sounds around them, the noise levels, the smells, colors and textures, access to outdoors, fresh air and sunshine… not to mention the importance of a physically and emotionally safe environment, free of abuse, trauma and stress. Patients can receive all the counseling and skills to fill a lifetime, but based off the environment that surrounds them health can either flourish or deteriorate.
This interwoven aspect involves our children, their families and their community. Within any program at the Center, their goal is to transition children back to a state of normalcy, health and well-being. Many treatments occur outside of “normal life” scenarios and in order to give real-life application, the integration back into the community – with newly-learned skills – is critical. It’s the experiences to teach about living independently, civic engagement, or how their individual strengths can change their world that give a sense of higher purpose and achievement.
Day School Available for patients




  • Private Health Insurance plans accepted
  • Medicaid may cover part or all of your addiction treatment costs.
  • Medicare rehab coverage
  • State financed or Low cost Treatment
  • Cash payments accepted

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  • LGBT Outstanding programs available
  • Men and Women Allowed
  • Facility for Children And Teenagers
  • Smoking is not allowed during the treatment
  • Treatment for emotionally disturbed children