Help for Teens in Trouble

As anyone who has been there knows, watching talented, promising kids lose their way to drug and alcohol abuse is heartbreaking. Torrance Memorial Medical Center offers a program that can help -- the Thelma McMillen Teen Outpatient Program.

For over 23 years, Thelma McMillen Center has been successfully treating adolescents suffering from alcohol abuse, substance abuse, or addiction. Through the Outpatient Program, teens make lasting changes in the their own lives and the lives of their loved ones. The Center, which is housed in a 10,000 square-foot, free-standing facility, is dedicated to offering a full array of programs, from our early prevention services and education to state-of-the-art outpatient treatment. This is where the devastating pattern of addiction ends.

Why Outpatient Treatment?

Outpatient treatment is designed for adolescents, ages 13-18, and their families, whose goal it is to allow the teen to stay in school and become sober within their community. It is the preferred treatment of choice in cases where the adolescent needs an intensive and structured program for recovery, but not inpatient care. Outpatient treatment has long been recognized as an effective method for treating addiction because teens can get clean and sober in THEIR real world. The program is recognized for its success and is covered by most insurance plans.


The road to recovery begins with the first step – recognizing that there is a problem. At this crucial point, the Center provides comprehensive consultation, at no charge, to determine if the teen is appropriate for outpatient care.

Individualized, Multi-Phased Treatment

Those individuals who are appropriate for outpatient treatment find assistance through a six month, three-stage outpatient program that addresses the needs of both substance abusing and dependent individuals and their families.

There is no question that a strong support system is vital to recovery from substance abuse problems. This can be particularly true of adolescents struggling with peer pressure to use drugs and alcohol. The Thelma McMillen Teen Outpatient Program provides a wide variety of support and therapy options, including teen group therapy, parent support groups, teen peer support groups, and individual, family and multi-family therapy groups.

Because the Thelma McMillen Teen Outpatient Program is dedicated to healing the mind, body, and spirit, a variety of unique resources are available during the treatment and recovery process, including:

  • Music therapy
  • Yoga
  • Fitness training (in-house fitness room)
  • Nutritional counseling
  • Total health and well-being techniques focused on body awareness, stretching, and breathing
  • Relationship and communications skills training
  • Coping skills training, including the identification of triggers and response regulation
  • Access to the Center's library and reading room, which provide valuable resources for program enrollees and their family members
  • Upon graduation from the program, teens have continued access to the Center's resources and support groups, and can participate in weekly aftercare which provides a sober support network

The Team

The treatment team headed by Moe Gelbart, Ph.D., the Executive Director since 1991, is comprised of expertly-trained and experienced psychologists, counselors, and support staff whose goal it is to provide the highest level of care and confidentiality to our clients.