One treatment center does not fit all. That’s the mantra at PRIDE Institute near Minneapolis. The facility opened its doors in 1986 as the nation’s first treatment center dedicated to providing services exclusively for the LGBT community. Since then, PRIDE has graduated more than 14,000 people hailing from every state in the country and even some from Canada.

PRIDE Institute now features a 42-bed residential program and intensive outpatient service for adults. In addition PRIDE offers the only program of its kind for working with LGBT people with sexual health concerns including sexual compulsivity and sexual anorexia.

Some studies suggest that up to 33 percent of the LGBT population have difficulty controlling their drug or alcohol use. Scientists believe that societal factors affect the relationship between chemical abuse and the experiences of members of the LGBT community. The society in which we live marginalizes the LGBT community. Under such conditions, members of the LGBT population can experience varying degrees of heterosexism.

Heterosexism is defined as the stigmatization of non-heterosexual forms of emotional and affectional expression, sexual behavior or community. It also plays a part in the chemically dependent LGBT individual’s inability to access effective treatment services. Substance abuse treatment facilities are often not able to meet the needs of this special population. That’s where PRIDE’s approach makes a difference.

“Clients at PRIDE Institute have the opportunity to face their internalized homophobia head on in both individual and group sessions. One’s sexual identity is not an issue to be ashamed of at PRIDE Institute unlike many mainstream or ‘ally’ programs. When clients are able to be open and honest about their authentic self, they are then able to focus solely on their recovery. After all if it is OK to keep one’s sexuality a secret, then why not keep one drink or one pill a secret, too? At PRIDE Institute, honesty is a key to recovery,” said Molly Gilbert, PRIDE Institute’s Director of Business Development.

Despite its 28 years in business, PRIDE Institute is not resting on its laurels.

“In March we opened an Intensive Day Program/PHP (Partial Hospitalization Program) with Lodging located within one mile of Pride Institute. This offers out of state clients or those not yet ready for outpatient care only an option to have a beautiful home to stay in overnight, with up to 7 other clients from PRIDE,” Gilbert said. “This is exclusive, LGBT sober housing provided for by PRIDE in a quiet, wooded, residential area, which allows clients to spend time with family and friends when applicable.  This allows us to offer an intensive, psychotherapeutic based treatment program for clients who do not need the security of 24-hour care, but require more than a traditional outpatient program. Clients are very excited about this wonderful new option, and are referring to the property as the Spring Hill House.”

It appears many other treatment facilities are taking notice of PRIDE’s success. Within the last ten years, many mainstream treatment programs have opened LGBT-affirming programs, trained staff to be affirming, and have tried to emulate what is offered at PRIDE Institute.

“We are supportive of this development as we believe there can never be enough people serving our communities. However, nothing can replace the safety and comfort of knowing the exclusive, shared experience of other LGBT people during the treatment stay,” Gilbert told SFGN.

Visit Pride-Institute.com for more information on the their national based facility in Minneapolis. Or visit PrideInstituteFlorida.com for information on their local facility.