Basic Steps: You seem very happy.

Dr. Scott: I guess I am. I have come a long way in my life and "if I was able to go back in time" and tell myself 30 years ago that I would be a Doctor who successfully treated over 7,000 people I would have thought I was crazy. At the time I was in the darkest place in my life, literally sleeping on a doorstep in Hollywood. I cringe thinking about it now, but that was my bottom.

Basic Steps: So you have a substance use history yourself?

Dr. Scott: I do. And it's funny to think of the time I volunteered at Tarzana Treatment Center in 1994 when my supervisor asked me if I has a substance use history and hesisitated, wondering if told the truth would they accept me? I laugh now because people with a past history are the best people to help others because they've been through it.

Basic Steps: Did you use the 12 Steps to heal?

Dr. Scott: No. Not quite. I actually "white Knuckled it" but to be honest, comedy saved my life. No kidding. I got off that doorstep and rode my bicycle to an old sober friend and suddenly other friends were back in my life. We used to do comedy recordings years before that and started back up. I was so slow in my thinking and being sober was a necessity! But it was worth it. We ended up performing on stage at some of the top clubs in Hollywood! One of the best times of my life! Literally I laughed my way to wellness.

Basic Steps: Is that what Basic Steps is all about?

Dr. Scott: It's not all about that, but it is a big part of what we do. We like to shake things up a bit and have a good time. Laughter is the greatest medicine, but we are known for teaching people counseling skills.

Basic Steps: Did you ever go through treatment?

Dr. Scott: Not in the pure sense. I did go through personal therapy and attended a lot of personal growth seminars, like Insight and Get High on Life, but life suddenly changed drastically when I attended the University of Santa Monica - where I learned Spiritual Psychology.

Basic Steps: What was your experience like at the University?

Dr. Scott: It was in one word INCREDIBLE! A whole world opened up to me. The world of emotions especially. I was blown away. I had been drawn to the study of Spirituality because of an acute fear of death at the time and my church helped to a point but but I needed to learn more.

"A Whole World Opened to Me"

This is funny because I thought we would be talking about Basiic Steps Mental Health but I guess this is really the roots of our program. The University's slogan is "Education the way you always wanted it to be" and that was so true. Psychology was given life. We practiced a lot of approaches on one another, a student body of over two hundred people became very close, and it felt like I had a new family, and issues that I had ever since I was a young boy were being healed. I couldn't get enough of it. I even volunteered after graduation just to stay connected.
"I laughed my way to wellness"

Basic Steps: In one statement what would you say you left the University with?

Dr. Scott: That's a loaded question because I learned so much about myself, about life, about Psychology... but I guess I left there with a yearning to share this approach to everybody. I was literally transformed and I guess my personality type is to help others. I feel I have only scratched the surface in this area and in moving to the Seattle area I see the desperate need for treatment up here, but I need help. I have recently focused my energy on training Interns to do this work and am watching the word now spreading. It is pretty exciting.

Basic Steps: Is the Outpatient Program strictly run by Interns?

Dr. Scott: Not yet. But that's the vision. I feel that it is a community effort to help people out in the first place. But if you want to learn about counseling - whether you are a participant or an intern, this is the place to be. I have been training therapists since 2008 when I worked at The Mental Health Urgent Care in Long Beach, California. But a heads up is in order - I have a lot of field experience and am known to talk at length about sessions and the challenges in this profession. When the staff gives me that look like I am going off in a tangent again I tend to laugh at myself and get back on topic.

Basic Steps: What do you recommend for people to do if they are looking for a Treatment Program? 

Dr. Scott: First of all it is important to research facilities. See if their approach matches your needs and your personality style. Some people do well with twelve steps because with it is an entire social network. Plus this approach will save you a lot of money. If you want to get to the heart of the issue and process through it, then our program would be a match. Ours is not an easy program. It can feel like school because you learn how to be a counselor to yourself. Unfortunately all of this stuff should have been taught in grade school anyway. When I graduated from High School I didn't know how to work through anger, anxiety, or depression. Learning how to do so was an amazing experience! Next you need to decide if you want inpatient or outpatient care. This depends on how severe the problem is or what your budget is.

Basic Steps: Well thank you so much for your time. This was very enlightening.

Dr. Scott: Well thank you for your time too.


Our Staff

Dr Scott Alpert - Director
Dr Scott Alpert has been treating people since 1994. He started working in Residential Treatment using the 12 Steps approach where he helped people infected with the HIV Virus, and those with Dual Diagnosis. From there he worked with the Learning Disabled and learned the value of Karaoke Music to heal. Next he worked at a Mental Health Urgent Care Center seeing individuals in crisis. In 2013 he co-founded a Residential Treatment program. In realizing that Residential Treatment only lasts a month and ongoing care was crucial for long term success, he created the Basic Steps Mental Health Outpatient program. Dr Scott is a Lecturer, Author, and advocate of mental health. 
Judith Holtz - Administrator
Judith Holtz has worked in the Mental Health, Recovery field for over 14 years. Her work has ranged from co-writing the first Peer to Peer employment program in Los Angeles County, assisting people with persistent mental health and recovery problems, helping guide people back into the workplace, and has extensive experience in helping people with obtaining benefits. Judith has been awarded for her advocate work with the Department of Mental Health in Los Angeles. Judith has been an instrumental part of the growing peer and advocacy programs in Los Angeles County with an emphasis in the mental health recovery field. 

Judith's philosophy on recovery is healing takes patience, and love, and guidance by people who have been there and experienced that.

Pamela Johnson - Office Manager

Pamela Johnson has followed her heart to join Basic Steps Mental Health and be of service to people  dealing with mental health and substance use problems.   She is a Certified Nursing Assistant and Mental Health Affiliate Couselor. She has had intensive training in Spiritual Psychology. She has worked with seniors and developmentally disabled adults.  While she is working at Basic Steps, she is continuing her education as a counselor and is taking the opportunity to continue working on her own wellbeing.
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