Cliffside Malibu - Hazy Beach Cliffs

Our Approach

Cliffside Malibu employs a three-fold approach to addiction treatment that creates the foundation for lasting recovery. One, we employ intensive one-on-one psychotherapy using the Stages of Change model. Two, we complement intensive therapy with carefully chosen, evidence-based holistic treatments. Third, we employ the first two tools together to create changes in the brain consistent with the ways neuroscience research suggests addiction can be overcome. Together, this treatment protocol is synergistic, creating treatment outcomes that are more effective than any individual part on its own.

What Makes Cliffside Malibu Unique

We recognize that the root cause of addiction is pain or trauma. An individual went through difficult circumstances that s/he was ill-prepared to deal with. This is the trigger that begins the addictive process. The focus of our treatment protocol is on unearthing and working through this archaic pain, so that the individual is freed from it and can develop new skills for dealing more effectively with difficult people or circumstances in the future. Once this initial work is done, we then set to work repairing relationships that were damaged by addiction.

Stages Of Change

The foundation of our treatment protocol is intensive one-on-one psychotherapy using the Stages of Change model. The Stages of Change model was created by one of the world’s leading psychologists, Dr. James Prochaska from the University of Rhode Island and his colleagues. Dr. Prochaska has endorsed our treatment protocol as described in the #1 bestselling book Ending Addiction for Good, the only time he has ever endorsed the use of his groundbreaking model for addiction treatment.

The Stages of Change model suggests that change happens in a predictable pattern, with a set of different obstacles that can frequently present at each stage of the change process. Using this model, we are able to meet individuals at their individual level of readiness to change and, when difficulties arise that might supplant change, we can help our clients overcome them. The Stages of Change model is “transtheoretical.” That means that no single type of psychotherapy is considered superior to another. Rather, psychotherapeutic interventions are taken from a variety of schools of thought, depending on what an individual client needs at any particular time. We have had particularly good results using EMDR, Dialogical Behavioral Therapy (DBT), Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), and Motivational Interviewing though this list is by no means exhaustive of the types of psychotherapy employed in our program. We also emphasize something called “Positive Psychology” – a school of thought that emphasizes all that is creative and uplifting within a person rather than focusing on clinical pathologies.

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Complementary Whole-Health Therapies

In addition to intensive psychotherapy, we use a host of additional therapeutic tools to help our clients heal on the levels of mind, body, and spirit. We involve our clients in everything from journaling to acupuncture to hiking on our trails. We do this to invigorate the body and enliven the spirit. All aspects of an individual must heal for recovery to become a way of life. If the body is sick or weak, the psychological work will be more difficult than it needs to be, because the person is distracted by ill health. If the spirit is suffering, it will pull against the physical and emotional health that is being restored. Addicts are individuals, whole people who must be addressed that way. We do not treat symptoms but look at the systems that created a pathway to addiction. Proven practices such as yoga, meditation, and proper nutrition help our clients heal holistically and fully.

Evidence-Based Treatment

We use an evidence-based treatment model at Cliffside Malibu. This means that we use therapeutic activities that have scientific evidence proving their efficacy. We don’t do things a certain way because that’s how they’ve always been done. We use the expertise of our full-time addiction researcher to constantly evaluate new treatment activities and bring us the very best science has to offer from the fields of psychology, medicine, neuroscience, alternative medicine, and holistic therapies. We then piece these activities together for each client based on individual needs. This practice ensures that our clients always have the best treatment science has to offer.

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Acupuncture at Cliffside Malibu, an addiction treatment center in Malibu, California.

Individualized Treatment Plans

We never herd clients from one set of activities to another. Every treatment is provided to our clients on an individualized basis. We use your time at Cliffside Malibu to give you the best treatments available for you. If you require acupuncture three times a week, you will receive it. If you benefit by participating in yoga, we’ll intensify that practice in your treatment plan. You may require some treatments for a short term and when its usefulness is done, you’ll engage in something else. Every activity in which you participate is carefully chosen for you. No two individuals are alike or have the same needs. We create exactly the treatment plan you need to recover.

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Family Involvement

Many times when an individual comes to treatment, relationships with family members are fractured or completely shattered. While our focus is first and foremost on helping our clients build a foundation for solid recovery, we recognize that family can have a tremendous role in the success or failure of our clients outside the treatment center. Thus, we involve family members in our clients’ treatment as is appropriate and also encourage family members to seek their own support and recovery while their loved one is in treatment. In order for addiction to flourish, the family system must break down. It takes all members to make the family a healthy place where each individual can thrive.

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Life at Cliffside


Treatment programs at Cliffside Malibu have been designed to facilitate a full recovery from addiction.

Life After Cliffside


The goal of treatment is to create within you the skills and ability to remain clean and sober at home.

Why Cliffside?


The answer is simple. We want you to go to treatment once and recover for good.

View Our Facility


Cliffside Malibu is a beautiful luxury estate, situated on two acres, overlooking Zuma Beach.


Call now to speak confidentially with an admission counselor.

(424) 320-3061