Basic Steps: You seem very happy.

Dr. Alpert: 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. Alpert: I do, which is why people like me, who have been there become the best teachers. I can relate to people who have both substance problems and depression because I too have suffered from this.

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

Dr. Alpert: No. Not quite. I actually used Spiritual Psychology, which was very new in the industry as a fluke. A friend kept telling me about a seminar that presented the subject and when I attended it I was blown away! It stopped me in my tracks of pursuing a career in Architecture and found me in the classroom studying the Spiritual Psychology approach. I still am amazed on how I healed issues I thought I was over with years ago.

Basic Steps: Is that what you present at Basic Steps?

Dr. Alpert: Oh, absolutely. In fact, the curriculum of the University was given to me by permission of the owner of The University of Santa Monica, where I attended Graduate School. The program presented their was so impactful that I thought it would be an amazing treatment program which I have adapted to Residential Treatment and now to Outpatient Treatment.

Basic Steps: Can you talk about the Outpatient treatment you provide?

Dr. Alpert: Sure. Treatment at our program doesn't have a therapy feel to it. Well at least in the pure sense. It has more of an educational seminar feel in which people learn a variety of Psychological approaches, practice these approaches on each other, and in doing so understand the practical application of it. More or less it is like a counseling school. I love the fact that we employ interns at our facility because they sit in the Duo sessions and practice the approaches they learn in school but get to really understand from a client's perspective what it feels like.

Basic Steps: It sounds like you are trying to train people to be counselors.

Dr. Alpert: In a sense, that is right. Though the intention is for people to learn these skills in order to on paper, counsel themselves using our "Self-Counseling method. When they showed me this at the University I was completely amazed! I had no idea a person could counsel themselves. I often wondered what this world would be like if in grade school they were teaching children how to process through their upset.

"I had no idea a person could counsel themselves"

Basic Steps: So you basically have clients counseling themselves?

Dr. Alpert: Not really. We are with them every step of the way. It is just a small part in the program where people counsel themselves and in fact they do great at it in the end. If I was a client and had some sensitive issue I didn't want to discuss with a professional, it is natural to reach out to a friend and this is the spirit behind what we do at Basic Steps - we provide the space for people to work through problems together. As for the staff, we provide individual treatment a few times a week. We oversee the sessions or sit in them in hopes of making sure people understand the approach that is being highlighted that day. But I have to tell you there is a special satisfaction I get when I see people in the program using Gestalt therapy. I also have to confess that many of the client sessions with each other rival the sessions I provide. Honestly, It doesn't matter to me if a client does a better job than me, just as long as the person who is attending the program has a meaningful treatment experience.
"Pscyhology is a very interesting subject"

Basic Steps: Tell us your challenges in presenting the Basic Steps program.

Dr. Alpert: I think my ultimate challenge is with my own teaching style. I actually look at myself as a teacher. I am attempting to teach people how to be a counselor and many times I present things once and believe that people really understand it on the first pass. Well to be honest, I wasn't that smart in grad school. It had to be repeated to me over and over again. So lately I have been making it a priority to recap what was taught the day before. In doing so, more information tends to be presented. Psychology is a very interesting subject. It is so important for me to not make any assumptions and to literally slow down so that the message sent by me is being recieved.

Basic Steps: What does a typical day look like at your outpatient program?

Dr. Alpert: We tend to shake things up daily to avoid getting into a dull routine. One day we may start with a Closed Eye Visualization exercise using a Psychosynthesis approach. Some days we may do a Family Sculpting approach using a Virgina Satir Approach. The other day we went bowling. But basically an approach is taught, the clients practice it on one another, then people talk in the group about their experiences and the staff provides a input for them to complete the process. Usually in the afternoon we have a process group, individual therapy, or a lecture that the State Mandates. By the end of the day, people in the program realize that they are having a unique treatment experience that takes them on an incredible adventure to and through their innermost problems.  

Basic Steps: What do you recommend for people who are searching for a Treatment Program? 

Dr. Alpert: 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. There are other Alternative programs out there and some are quite good. I recommend for people that have located a facility but can not afford it to keep calling them. Sometimes their census is low and they are willing to lower their price for you. But see if you can talk to the Director of the program. After talking to that person ask yourself if you feel a connection. The first step in treatment is building trust. If you don't feel like you trust the staff who runs the program it will be hard for you to open up to them. I assure you our staff has gone trough this program, has used it on themselves and in doing so loves to present it because of the impact it has had on themselves - me included. 

Basic Steps: Well thank you so much for your time.

Dr. Alpert: Thank you for your time too.

Our Staff

Dr Scott Alpert - Director
Since 1994 Scott Alpert, PsyD has been treating people with mood disorder and addiction problems. He has worked in the Residential Treatment field, worked at the first Mental Health Urgent Care Center in the country, and in 2013 he co-founded the first Residential Treatment Center using Spiritual Psychology in the great Northwest. In 2017 Basic Steps Mental Health Outpatient program was created by Dr Alpert for ongoing treatment. Understanding that 60% of people relapse in the first year of recovery, Dr. Alpert opened a clinic for people to receive ongoing care. Dr. Alpert has appeared on Radio, he is a Lecturer, an Author, and has been an advocate of alternative methods towards mental health.  Dr Alpert has treated over 7,000 people and has one mission - spreading the word of Spiritual Psychology.
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.
Change is a Just a Phone Call Away - (425) 588-8438

Social Purpose Annual Corporation Report

General Description

Basic Steps Mental Health, SPC is an Outpatient Treatment Center that treats the underlying causes of addiction and mood disorders through the use of Spiritual Psychology. Spiritual Psychology has been in use since the mid 1980’s and Dr. Scott Alpert has field tested this approach in over 7,000 crisis sessions from 2002 to 2012 at the Mental Health Urgent Care in Long Beach California, in residential treatment for five years on the San Juan Island in Washington, and now in its outpatient form in Mukilteo Washington at our facility.

Spiritual Psychology is an alternative to the 12 Step approach, treating problems on the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual levels. Most common treatment of addiction uses the 12 Steps which is a behavioral approach – treating problems on the physical level. Standard mental health treatment, most commonly uses Cognitive Behavioral Therapy - addressing issues mentally and physically, and Dialectic Behavioral Therapy - which is a mental approach. The strength of our program is addressing issues emotionally. Therefore, we have taken it upon ourselves to do something about the low success rates in King County and Snohomish County by addressing the whole person.  

Our program empowers clients by teaching them how to be counselors to themselves. This type of approach helps people long term because they learn the real tools professionals use.  Our program also provides practical field experience to interns just getting into the industry. We have dedicated ourselves to impact both client and budding therapist by conducting our program like a psychology school.

Short term goals

Attract a minimum of four clients to our program each month and provide them treatment for their addiction and mood disorders in our four-week course.
Provide 1 ½ hours of ongoing treatment in our aftercare program once or twice a week.
To secure funding for operating and advertising purposes through loans and program fees.
To hire interns in order to give students practical field experience.

Long Term Goals:

For each workshop to house between 8 to 12 clients regardless of the ability to pay.
For the aftercare program to be conducted everyday of the week and limit the occupancy to 12 individuals per session.
To have interns teaching the curriculum of the program and improving their therapy skills
To expand operations and open Basic Steps Mental Health clinics into other cities.

Actions Taken:

Five individuals have gone through our intensive program for no cost or at a maximum of 1/10th the cost.
Four individuals are attending our aftercare program free of charge because of their inability to pay.
Four staff members have been under the supervision of Dr. Scott Alpert and have been learning the practice of Spiritual Psychology
We have secured a credit card to establish business credit.
We have secured a line of credit from the bank to assist with our marketing efforts.

Future Actions to Take:

For Basic Steps to create a scholarship fund to assist low income individuals.
To continue to train Psychology interns
To provide another day or two of treatment for individual counseling sessions to be conducted by Psychology interns for practical field experience.
To expand our marketing efforts and get involved in community health fairs.
To institute a second start day each month and have two groups simultaneously going through the program serving a maximum of 20 clients a week in the PHP program.

Performance Evaluation:

In our first year in business, Basic Steps Mental Health, SPC has served 12 people in our PHP program and saw seven individual clients. In our community outreach Dr. Alpert has been the key note speaker at the Mukilteo Chamber of Commerce on two occasions.
It is our policy to contact clients that have completed our program once a week to evaluate their progress. With our initial rate of relapse at 66% after our first few months of operation, we launched our aftercare treatment program of 1 ½ hour groups twice a week for “Graduates” and have seen substantial positive results of 100%!  We have learned that ongoing support is necessary to the success of our clinic and now emphasize it for every client. The benchmark of our company is to achieve an 80% success rate in the first year of recovery and are dedicated to achieving this percentage through customer service, offering free service for the continuing care, and keeping our program up to date and easy to understand.