3013 Woodford Dr, La Jolla, CA | Directions 9203732.848096 -117.239220
Neighborhoods: Northern San Diego, Northern, La Jolla Heights
I can unequivocally state without a doubt Puente De Vida saved my daughter’s life. Eating Disorders are tricky to deal with, and my daughter had manipulated therapists in the past, but Stephen Schaefer was able to get to her problem and work with it within the first weeks of treatment. The program is very structured including an onsite nutritionist and hinges on methods of therapy that uncover the underlying causes of the eating disorder. Getting to those issues is the main emphasis of this program and I saw marked changes in my child’s behavior during her stay. I would recommend Puente De Vida, and have many times, to any parents of, or those people themselves, struggling with this incredibly challenging disorder.
Pointe De Vida saved my life. I know that sounds dramatic but it is true. I arrived there both mentally and physically ill and I had hit rock bottom. I will never forget the staff there and how they helped me to change my life. I would recommend this facility to anyone suffering from an eating disorder.
When our daughter relapsed and we could no longer care for her at home we were left with only one option....PDV. The decision was still a difficult one to make due to our daughter's age and the distance from our home. Her stay at PDV was still the best move we have made for her treatment. The care she received was 24 hours/7 days per week. The staff there was tremendous. The have a registered nurse, dietician, psychiatrist, and therapists that are highly trained in treating eating disorders. We have found that it is not very easy to find care that treats this illness. It was very comforting to have our daughter at a place where the staff has the same understanding of the illness and the same goals for the treatment. In her case, the treatment team had to have someone actually supervise her while she slept due to her propensity to exercise. She was there for two months and her outlook on life, herself, and her commitment to get better was a complete 180 degrees from the time she began PDV. She learned a structure there that will be observed by her for a very long time. We are forever grateful for the treatment she received there and the team is fantastic. We have been waiting for a LONG time to get our real daughter back. Thank you for getting her back on the road to recovery.
Expert Care and Treatment for Eating Disorders – When my husband and I came to the realization that it was necessary to place our daughter in a residential treatment center for her eating disorder, the biggest question in our minds was “With the many choices available to us, which center will provide the best care with the best potential for our daughter’s recovery?” Our daughter’s physician, Dr. Tyson, and our local healthcare providers recommended several Eating Disorder centers. Puenta De Vida (PDV) was a recommendation offered by both Dr. Tyson and our local healthcare team. After much research, soul-searching, and prayer, we decided to entrust our daughter to the team at Puenta De Vida. Natalie Signorelli at PDV was a great asset in coordinating our daughter’s insurance coverage, admission date, and travel arrangements. She patiently accepted our numerous phone calls, knowledgeably answered the numerous questions and concerns we had, and even personally met our daughter at the San Diego airport.
The treatment team at PDV was, to say the least, excellent! I personally have been a healthcare provider in a hospital for over 30 years, so I have a good understanding of everything that is required of a healthcare facility. The program at PDV is structured, organized, well-planned and efficient, AND it adheres to the stringent regulations that are required for healthcare facilities. Yes, there are rules and guidelines that the patients, staff, and any visitors have to follow on a daily basis. However, these rules and guidelines are in place for the patients’ benefit, care, and well-being. Patient safety, patient privacy and confidentiality, and, most importantly, QUALITY PATIENT CARE and RECOVERY are the priorities at PDV at all times. The majority of the patients that arrive at PDV are in critical condition from their eating disorder by the time they are admitted to PDV. As with our daughter, they have battled their eating disorder and eating disorder-associated complications for years without success. The Treatment Team at PDV consists of eating disorders specialists – physicians, counselors, dieticians, social workers, nurses, and other professionals – all working together in seamless continuity to guide the patient toward successful recovery. The Treatment Team at PDV TREATS the ENTIRE PATIENT and focuses on HEALING the ENTIRE PATIENT, not just the “eating disorder”. My husband and I were fortunate enough to be able to visit for two separate 1-week portions of our daughter’s stay at PDV. We participated in numerous group sessions and family sessions. We had meals with our daughter, during which we learned meal-support techniques. To say the least, we were impressed! We learned SO much during our visits and during our daughter’s treatment stay at PDV. Steve and Dana Schaefer, along with the entire PDV staff, are awesome! They have been blessed with tremendous talent for helping individuals with eating disorders, and the families of these individuals, in their healing process. Because of the care and treatment received at Puenta De Vida, our daughter has a new beginning on her future and her life. I would highly recommend this facility to anyone seeking help and recovery from an eating disorder, whether it is for themself or for a loved one. From the bottom of our hearts, THANK YOU to Steve, Dana, and the entire Treatment Team at Puenta De Vida!
EB in Louisiana
Recovery home that will make you sick – As a former employee, I can testify that not only is this entire program and all of its facilities a complete disaster, but they are completely unsafe. In the six months that I worked fro PDV I watched horrific and unethical behavior that I would not expect from any organization, much less a mental health facility for clients with eating disorders. The Lisann property is absolutely appalling. Leaks and drainage issues caused mold problems that were never fixed during the time I was employed there. To my knowledge from speaking with former co-workers almost a year and a half later, these problems have still not been resolved. Mold contaminated an entire wall and got onto mattresses in the bedrooms. In addition, mold rotted out the cabinets under the bathroom sink, as well as nearly every kitchen cabinet where clients store their food. There were termite problems, which are not uncommon in southern California, but they were never addressed or fixed. These issues were brought up by staff and clients literally on a day-to-day basis and never attended to. Lisann is not a part of the residential facility and therefore does no need to meet the same safety requirements of a medical facility. It is technically a group home where people live with a common goal live, much like a halfway house.
The recovery stories you read in these reviews are real, both good and bad. A handful of people were lucky enough to manage a recovery during their time at PDV; however, this should not be considered the norm. In order to capitalize on these people beyond the money spent on their recoveries in a sub-par facility, the owner of the facility, Steve Schaefer, has enlisted them to write reviews to rebut the original negative reviews. While their stories may be genuine to their own personal experience, they are not true to the nature and dynamic of Puente de Vida. The majority of clients did not fare as well as the ones who have written here. In general, you may notice on other forums and reviews that even when a program doesn't work for someone, they do not rip is apart and say vicious things about the place. This is not the case for PDV. There are strong reactions to this treatment center for a reason. The "body work" they talk about is controversial at best and is not an actual evidenced based therapeutic practice. It borders on suggestive memory techniques similar to the ones that are often the basis of malpractice lawsuits in unethical hypnosis. My personal opinion of seeing this "therapy" is that it is extremely suggestive and retraumatizes clients who experience it, in addition to those who witness it.
Steve Schaefer, LCSW, refers to himself as an expert in the field of eating disorders; however, please note he is not published in the area at all, nor is he published an any reputable journal or contributed so much as a thesis to the field of psychology. As someone who holds a higher degree than him and is published in multiple clinical, social, and general scholarly journals, I believe that I am a fair judge of what the broad field of psychology considers "expertise." Steve Schaefer does not qualify as an expert in anything related to psychology or mental health. Not to be understated, he has a degree in social work and licensed in the state of California for practicing clinical social work. However, this speaks to his limited credibility, as he holds not higher degree or any published research. In fact, as an employee I overheard him speak to doctors and medical facilities referring to himself as Dr. Schaefer, which is not only unethical, but illegal.
I hope this review is helpful to people looking for a place to recover. There are many wonderful places to get the help you need. Many of them are located in southern California. PDV is not one of these places.
A place to recover – Please anyone who has an eating disorder please do not base where to go to treatment from a review site. You should speak to the facilities yourself and make an informed decision. This is not like picking a movie or a restaurant to go to this is a very serious decision and most of the time when people write reviews about something like this it is in a time that they are upset. So please take everything into account and not just the ranting’s of people who may not be in a good place emotionally. However if this is the only resource you have then let me explain why I think this is a great place to go.
1. Puente De Vida is a small facility. This allows for many benefits such as the ability to focus on the individual rather than having to deal with the masses. It allows for the residents to become close and support each other. It allows the staff to supervise the patients thoroughly to help prevent behavior that is unhealthy and that encourages the eating disorder.
2. The facility has highly qualified staff from every discipline to effectively treat the whole patient. Including nutritional restoration, psychiatric evaluation , nursing staff to monitor the patient’s health at all times, a nurse practitioner to oversee the medical progression of health, and of course a full staff of licensed therapists that guide the patients through intense group and individual therapy sessions.
3. The staff fights the insurance companies to try to keep the patients until the patient and the whole treatment team feels the patient is ready to go home.
4. There is a very strict schedule to provide structure and stability in a time in our life that is chaos.
These points and many more make this an effective facility for recovery . I entered PDV in December of 2007 and left in March of 2008. I was fifteen at the time and traveled a long way from my home in Texas. I was in a terrible emotional state at the time and was fully immersed in my eating disorder. Today five years later I am fully immersed in recovery I am happily married I am a Licensed Nurse with a full time Job and can live a full happy and functional life. This full turnaround of my life is largely due to the fact that I was fortunate enough to spend time in a facility like this one. The strengths of residential programs are numerous and this facility truly exemplifies these strengths.
This is a place that if you follow the rules, you trust the treatment team, are ready to recover and work as hard as you can you will find your way to recovery and that should be your goal. If you want an easy time, do not want to dig deep or work on your real issues and want to just go in and put a band aide on then this is not the right place. Of course you won’t always get along with all the therapists it is not their job to be your friend it is their job to help you get better and that is what they do best.
This is the only facility that I have ever been to so there may be others out there that are also effective but I do know that this place really does provide what it takes to find your way to recovery.
Want REAL recovery? Come to PDV... – I recently went to an alumni event that Steve Schaefer put on in Austin, Texas. It was so uplifting to be surrounded by young women fresh out of treatment and women who now attended the event with their husbands and children they never thought would be a reality. All spoke of their gratitude and love they felt for PDV and the staff that helped them reach their potential. I was just like you (or your loved one), who didn't want to live to see another day because I was so entrenched in my eating disorder. Without PDV I can say without a doubt that I would be dead. This site is full of negative slander towards Steve, which I find so outrageous. Steve saw my family and I three times a week for hour long sessions for several weeks just because "it was what needed to be done." Mind you these sessions went on until 9 p.m. At night - when most the staff had gone home for the day. I have never experienced someone go the extra mile for me like that before. Heather the dietician is superb, one of the best you will ever work with. All of the therapists were caring and always made me feel validated... There just aren't enough words to express my gratitude. This place became my second home. Now I will say this. This is not your Hollywood/Cadillac/Country Club sort of setting. Sure it is in a gorgeous and cozy home in La Jolla (where I hope I can afford to move some day!!!), but if you are looking for a place that focuses more on distracting you with lavish outings, privileges and lack of structure - this place may not be for you... Not yet at least. I went to several treatment centers before I found PDV. At that point in my life the most important factors of my treatment were "do we watch tv?" "can I have my cell phone?" "can I make special requests to my menu for the week?" I was desperate to look for control anywhere I could find it. PDV however, would not let my disorder get away with that. I quickly learned the importance of structure in my life and was amazed to learn so much about my self (and my ED) that other treatment centers never even touched on. But hey, not everyone is really ready to give up their ED's. When you really want to, this is the place to come. THANK YOU PDV!!!
Thank You! – I went to Puente de Vida from February 2011 to June 2011. I am from Texas. Going to Puente de Vida was the most important decision of my life and turned out to be the greatest and most valuable experience. I am beyond grateful to the entire staff. Steve did my intake and spent hours listening to my story and figuring out the treatment I needed. Through body work therapy, he helped other women identify their traumas that have been suppressed for years. I have heard from many women that he is the best trauma therapist in the nation and one of the few who uses body work. Dana holds a special place in my heart because she helped with my weekly family therapy and was able to do it all over the phone since my parents couldn’t afford to travel numerous times to San Diego. I trusted her and went to her with all my struggles. I appreciated her time, attentiveness, care, sense of humor, and ways to explain things so I could understand them. Outings were also very fun with her! I would not be here without them, physically, mentally, or emotionally.
To recover from an eating disorder, someone needs treatment 24/7. ED doesn’t rest; he is even present in your dreams. He greedily awaits any moment when you will be vulnerable. I was lucky to spend 3 months in residential treatment at PDV. I was moved down to PHP and IOP when they felt I was ready, otherwise they fought for my insurance company to pay for what I needed, and I am grateful for that.
PDV is so special because it is run by a family that is 100% dedicated to its patients, their family members, and their futures, ones without ED. They are all intimately involved. I have nothing but good things to say about PDV. Those, like me, who have completed their treatment and are in a good spot in recovery today will have the same positive feedback. PDV has changed our lives. I have met lifelong best friends who are amazing women. I know what FREEDOM tastes like and I fight for it every day in recovery. After peeling back layers and layers of what life has thrown at me I have uncovered the true me again. I have gained priceless skills to help me beat ED, for life, and to pass on. What I learned in treatment is beyond anything and far more important than anything I would learn in college. I learned what there needs to be more of in the world today. I’ve gained empathy and awareness. I know longer believe that I am unlovable, ugly, a failure, undeserving, etc. I am more powerful than my thoughts now!
No one choices to have an eating disorder, but I encourage you to choose recovery starting at PDV, health, hope, and freedom.
Thank You – When I first came here I did not want to come, I was scared and did not want to get better. Thanks to a great caring committed staff I am in recovery! I always felt safe and supported. Thank you to everyone for helping me.
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