Betty Ford

The Betty Ford Center (BFC) is a non-profit organization that provides residential treatment programs for substance dependence and addiction. The BFC is located in Rancho Mirage, just outside of Palm Springs, in Southern California. In addition to outpatient, inpatient, and day services, the Center also offers resources and activities geared towards families, with the goal of offering education and ultimately preventing drug and alcohol addiction. Since its opening in 1982, the BFC has become one of the most famous rehabilitation facilities in the world, receiving upwards of 5,000 calls per day.

Treatment Programs Offered

The BFC offers several types of treatment programs and services, all of which follow the Twelve Step philosophy. Programs are gender-specific.

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  • Inpatient Treatments starting from thirty days are offered for adults over the age of eighteen suffering from drug and alcohol addiction. They include a primary assessment, followed by detoxification and treatment services.
  • Residential Day Treatment (RDT) is available for individuals who are medically and clinically stable, but experience relapses. They may have made several ineffective attempts at treatment. Most candidates in residential day treatment programs have dual diagnoses.
  • The Professionals Treatment Program (PTP) is offered to individuals working in medical professions. Often, primary care workers dedicate so much time to caring for others that they may find themselves in the grip of addiction or substance abuse without being able to stop the disease from taking over.
  • The Young Adult Recovery Program is for individuals between the ages of eighteen and twenty-five and is designed to meet the varying needs of young adults with substance addictions.
  • The Pain Management Program (PMP) is a highly specialized program that simultaneously targets pain management and addiction. Candidates for the PMP use drugs and/or alcohol to cope with long-term pain or chronic stress.
  • The Intensive Outpatient Program offers a non-residential treatment option for individuals suffering from alcoholism or addiction. Patients live in their own homes and travel to the BFC for four hours, four days per week to access services.


Following admission, in most cases the patient must be stabilized. During stabilization, the patient undergoes detoxification, which may take several days or up to a week, depending on the severity of the addiction. Once the patient has stabilized, he or she is assigned a team to assist in his or her treatment. The team consists of a nurse, primary counselor, psychologist, physician, dietitian, case manager, spiritual counselor, family counselor, wellness trainer, chemical dependency specialist and later, an alumni services representative. The team works to develop a comprehensive, personalized plan for each patient. The team also determines when the patient is ready for discharge.

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At the Betty Ford Center, patients who have stabilized are woken up at 6:30 in the morning and must participate in a full day of treatment-related activities. These activities may include educational lectures, meditation, individual therapy sessions, group therapy, and wellness sessions, according to the plan laid out by the patient’s primary care team. Patients also have therapeutic assignments and tasks to complete over the day, most of which assist with the practical aspects of running the center, such as setting tables or restocking fridges.