Cliffside Malibu - Hazy Beach Cliffs

Dual Diagnosis

Cliffside Malibu is a licensed and Joint Commission Accredited drug and alcohol treatment center where cutting-edge, evidence-based psychotherapy and analysis meet world-class drug and alcohol addiction treatment, medically supervised detoxification and holistic medicine. The individualized and specialized approach each person receives who walks through our doors is what makes this Malibu oasis more than just a place of luxury and serenity.

Those suffering with dual diagnosis experience not only the pain of chemical dependency and addiction but also a co-occurring emotional or psychiatric illness such as depression, bipolar disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, social phobia, post traumatic stress disorder, personality disorders, and eating disorders, to name a few.

Both illnesses may affect an individual physically, psychologically, socially, and spiritually, and each illness has symptoms that interfere with a person’s ability to function effectively and relate to themselves and others. Furthermore, with dual diagnosis, not only is the individual affected by two separate illnesses but also each illness interacts with the other, potentially exacerbating symptoms on each side and predisposing the individual to relapse in each of the illnesses.

At times the symptoms associated with dual diagnosis can overlap and mask each other making diagnosis and addiction treatment more difficult. Cliffside Malibu has created an exceptional team of medical and psychiatric doctors, psychologists, therapists, chemical dependency counselors, and personal trainers to address the complex physical, emotional/mental and spiritual components of those with a dual diagnosis.

Help is a phone call away. If you or a loved one is in need of immediate treatment for addictions and other problems associated with dual diagnosis, please call Cliffside Malibu today at (424) 320-3061.
Cliffside Malibu - Dual-Diagnosis-Intake-Process

Extensive Dual Diagnosis Intake Process

Upon admission for a dual diagnosis condition, there is an extensive intake process, where information is gathered and the individual is compassionately welcomed into the home. Then they meet with their primary therapist who serves as a primary source of support and guidance throughout their treatment process, and who formulates an extensive clinical assessment based on the individual’s history, self-report, report from prior professionals and family members (as permitted by the individual) and based on the clinician’s observation and expertise. Not all clients will meet with a psychiatrist. This is determined at intake by the MD and therapist.

Cliffside Malibu - Beach Yoga

The clinical team collaborates throughout the individual’s treatment as the individual’s symptoms are stabilized, engaging in a process of differential diagnosing to methodically separate out the dual disorders and any overlap and exacerbation of co-occurring symptomatology, thereby establishing the most effective and appropriate course of treatment. This, of course, can take time, as a key part of treating dual diagnosis is allowing an individual to safely detox and stabilize before any conclusions are drawn, and the clinical team engages in the intensive assessment process while the person is removed from any external stressors in their life. The symptoms thereby come out in a sober environment and more pure form, allowing for more accurate assessment and diagnosis that ultimately informs the course that treatment takes in all its forms – psychiatrically and therapeutically.

Group Therapy And Individual Therapy At Cliffside Malibu

Group therapy sessions for both dual diagnosis residents and other residents are offered three times per day and can be comprised of: Experiential, Process, Art Therapy, Music Therapy, Psychoeducational Groups, Life Skills, Journaling, Spirituality, Boundary Power, and Relapse Prevention. The group experience can be a powerful vehicle, bringing a population of different people, experiences and cultures together, thereby often creating a parallel process within the group dynamics where family of origin dynamics, life themes and issues underlying addiction and disorders such as depression and anxiety come to the surface allowing for direct intervention, interpretation, and integration of the individual’s experience. The group also provides an avenue for individuals to grieve, to find resolve, to connect, and to learn healthy and more adaptive ways to cope versus utilizing previously learned maladaptive and self-harming means of coping.

Psychoeducation groups also provide a means to learn and empower oneself with knowledge of addiction, community support, psychological disorders and dual diagnosis. Furthermore, individual therapy is the clinical cornerstone at Cliffside Malibu where the individual meets a psychologist from three times per week to daily. A clinical assessment is created and specific treatment goals are thereby derived to effectively and systematically treat the symptoms,

underlying causes, and short and long-term goals for the individual within all domains of their life. The clinical team of doctors and therapists all collaborate closely and continually throughout this dual diagnosis treatment period to be sure to treat the individual according to the intersection of medical and clinical data that are obtained through thorough extensive assessments and evaluations. Individual psychotherapy is then conducted with an integrated approach designed through the information gathered, and consists of a blend of intensive short-term dynamic psychotherapy, cognitive-behavioral therapy, behavioral modification and systems family therapy, the latter addressing the entire family system and any boundary disturbances and roles that may be contributing to the individual’s dual diagnosis symptomatology.

Furthermore, Cliffside Malibu’s dual diagnosis drug and alcohol treatment program offers step down levels of care beginning with primary treatment followed by extended care and then sober living. Each phase is structured according to the needs of the individual and allows for a slight reduction in structure each time and a gradual acclimation back to their life and society while still maintaining a strong focus on their recovery.

Cliffside Malibu - Dual-Diagnosis-Treatment-Plans

Individual Treatment Plans For Our Residents

Therapeutically, we at Cliffside Malibu have created a compassionate, yet intensive environment to address the complexities of those with a dual diagnosis. We do not subscribe to traditional or cookie cutter methods of treating addiction or psychiatric disorders that presume all addiction and disorders can be treated the same, but instead, recognize the distinct needs of each individual and treat them accordingly. We incorporate motivational interviewing to engage the individual who may be in some degree of denial and not yet ready to address all elements of their diagnoses and we assist them in untangling these elements, allowing them to create a greater understanding of what is going on and how to move towards healing and recovery. A personalized alcohol and drug rehab program is the best chance at a full recovery.

Developing A Comprehensive Dual Diagnosis Exit Plan

Nearing the close of treatment for addictions including our dual diagnosis residents, whether that be 30 days, 90 days or 6 months, a comprehensive exit plan is executed with the clinical team and the individual addressing all aspects of their life: living arrangements, support system, triggers, relapse prevention, safety plan, aftercare structure, therapy, medical care, and next steps towards areas of life such as career, family, school, and recreation. Our alumni program then welcomes all our residents back every Wednesday night for our in-house meeting to continue to support them in their journey towards long-term recovery and sobriety.

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

Who Are You Inquiring About?

Treatment Program of Interest*:

How Can We Help You?

Patient, Family & Staff Safety is our Priority: COVID-19Update