Alan Downs is a clinical psychologist, sought-after speaker, and author of several books, including the groundbreaking, The Velvet Rage: Overcoming the Pain of Growing Up Gay In a Straight Man’s World, which is one of the leading self-help books for gay men. Dr. Downs earned a Ph.D. in psychology from the University of Nebraska in 1989. He has spent numerous years working as a clinical psychologist in private practice in Beverly Hills, CA as well as former CEO of Michael’s House Treatment Center in Palm Springs, CA where he also conducted weekend workshops for families of those struggling with addictions. Dr. Downs has been a guest on many media programs including, THE OPRAH WINFREY SHOW, TODAY SHOW, and NPR’s MORNING EDITION. He has also been a contributing writer to Mother Jones magazine and his work has been quoted numerous times in a variety of media, including The New York Times, The New Yorker, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Chicago Tribune, Attitude, San Francisco Chronicle and many others. He has made appearances on such programs as CBS Sunday Morning, Good Morning America, NBC Nightly News, and NPR’s Morning Edition.
Gay Men's Institute
Paying for Treatment
- Insurance is Accepted
- Financing is Available
- Medicare is not Accepted
- Medicaid is not Accepted
At Gay Men’s Institute, we understand the unique challenges of growing up gay in a predominantly heterosexual culture, in particular, the challenges of accepting one’s own sexual orientation, coming out to parent, friends, and others, and dealing with internalized feelings of shame and separateness. These challenges are considered when developing your treatment plan. Individual therapy, group therapy, and psychoeducation groups will be structured around affirming your sexual orientation, developing DBT skills, exploring personal and social triggers, and helping you find joy in recovery. Process groups will openly discuss topics of concern to gay men, such as social media, online (Apps) dating, HIV/AIDS, PrEP, monogamous and open relationships, healthy sexual behavior, and phase-life-transitions for gay men and our community. Our Family program allows you to invite your family of choice to assist your journey to recovery. Gay Men’s Institute staff is committed to creating a safe and supportive environment for you to promote acceptance and healthy recovery.
Gay Men's Institute Reviews and Ratings Details
The following is based on a combination of Surveys of Alumni, Staff, Loved Ones, and Reviews and Ratings from around the web.
Reviews at a Glance
This treatment facility is not licensed, nor is it accredited like it claims. I thought about referring a friend, but checked the licensing and accreditation they claimed they had on website and their...
Desert Palms isn’t bad. It’s safe, comfortable and food is good. I chose this facility because they advertised as Dual Diagnosis and specializes in DBT. That was not experience. I was serious abou...
This place saved my life and by the grace of God I have 2 1/2 years sober. I currently work at a non-profit detox facility for the indigent and the accommodations of Desert Palms were quite nice in my...
Patients were having sex with each other and getting high at the facility. There weren't enough counselors, and the counselors they had were only there 4 days a week.
Incomplete information given to clients. They state a gym on premises but it costs $25 per month and is of campus. Also out patient does not provide food even though it is providing housing , however ...
Strengths included the clinical Staff, Nursing, MD / Psychiatrist / Caring Technicians Would like to see more outside 12 steps meetings My experience at Desert Palms was beyond my expectations. In ter...
staffcant think of anyI took in as much as I could and partcipated
staff treated me with utmost respect they were very patient with us counselor was extremely educated and helpful with my problems great place to start a new life of recovery
staff at the time they weren't euip. to help with my spinal issuesI was taught the skills to help me stay xclean .. the alumi is so very important .
Activities, counseling, leisure time, core programI were all great. I didn't really think there were any weaknesses Desert Palms staff are very knowledgeable. The techs have real world experience and ...
This facility is organized and the staff is educated. Some were also in my shoes, so that made a difference too.This treatment center saved my life. It gave me a second chance at life and gave me back...
the facility's strengths include always having writing utensils.not enough arts supplies well im still sober
Privacy, compassion, understanding . Really liked that all staff were in recovery also. I learned a lot about my addiction and how to put what I learned into practice.
I don't know the other therapist but there were two other therapists that were really great they accompanied me with every aspect of recovery and support that I needed. The kitchen staff were awesome,...
This facility was great.
There are people that are truly concerned about your recovery and will do all that they can to help you accomplish that I cannot think of any weaknesses. The only thing I can say is that is the best ...
Sooooo bad, if you treasure your loved ones mental wellbeing don\'t send them here!!!
This program is a joke, they lie to you to get you there and take ur phone away ... treat you like sub par humans when it is suppose to be a \"luxury facility\"... the food is soooooo bad, basically n...
Compassionate, effective, accommodating, resourceful knowledgeable and a well-rounded program . Our 24 yr old son relocated to Desert Palm to enter an IPO program with Sunspire Rehab. He had done ...
The staff here are very educated In the addiction recovery field, my counselor help me to uderstand so much about my self the food was good, we learned to meditate and understand addiction and why we ...
Staff let me be heard and pointed me in a direction of continued action. Everything was fantastic but halfway through my stay a new kitchen manager was appointed and he seemed more concerned with cost...
Desert Palms is a beautiful facility with a wonderful staff. i can\'t say enough about the staff truly caring people with a passion for recovery. This program not only gave me tools to help with my ...
Desert Palms changed my life. The evidence based treatment and the knowledgeable staff were not only amazing, but went the extra mile to show you how much they cared. The people at Desert Palms change...
Excellent staff and environment comfortable living space and plenty of focus on treatment. Individualized treatment plan with amazing group sessions as well as one on one therapy to dig into root issu...
Excellent Councilors and staff.We went to alot of different AA and NA meetings.I had gender problems also and they helped me . No activities besides gym.Nothing really to do but stand around and smoke...
I had such an amazing experience and will forever be grateful, I look forward to the next alumni reunion to see everyone.
When I went there I was broken and dying. I felt hopeless and worthless. I had almost given up, but my family had not. They called an addiction hotline that got me in contact with this location. I ...
the staff and location, the best thing you can say about a place - it worked
It's small and personalized. Very focused staff. Felt well cared for. I didn't like cathedral city. Polluted, a bit depressing. I liked the small size and holistic approach, including meditation.
Strenghts: It worked. Weaknesses: Far away. If you are ready to go it will work.
Strengths: PATIENT FOCUSED, CARING STAFF, WILL TO HELP, STAFF QUALIFICATIONS. SAVED MY BROTHER-IN-LAWS LIFE
I would definitely reccomend the program to anybody looking for help. Overall the program really worked as a unit to help the people who went into their care. They set me up with a whole plan when I r...
I loved my time there and have not had to relapse since, two years later. The location and facilities were top-notch and very comfortable, allowing me to focus 100% on the process of saving my life. P...
It was in a nice location and had a good atmosphere. Lots of fun activities. Taught good coping skills. Individual needs weren't quite accommodated.
I must say how impressed I was when I went for Family weekend and how professional everyone is. The place is Beautiful and Clean and the food is Scrumptous. My Loved one is well and YOU ALL saved his...
DP OVERALL WAS SOMEWHAT SATISFACTORY. THE PROGRAM REALLY WORKS IF YOU GIVE IT 100 PERCENT AS I DID. THE INTAKE PROCESS WAS VERY EASY AND THE TECHS MADE ME FEEL VERY COMFORTABLE AS THEY SEARCHED MY BE...
- Sexual Orientation & Gender Identity
Gay Men's Institute works exclusively with gay men seeking treatment.
- Trauma Release
Gay Men's Institute staff is experienced in working with patients with a history of many types of trauma. Specializations include sexual trauma, military trauma and early life childhood experiences that must be addressed in therapy in order to attempt to overcome it and truly recover from addiction.
Alan Downs, Ph.D. - Executive Director
Gaetano Vaccaro, Ph.D. - Clinical Director
Gaetano Vaccaro is a licensed Clinical Psychologist and an expert in Program Management, Organizational Change, and Optimal Performance. Dr. Vaccaro has over twenty-five years of experience as a psychotherapist, clinical program director, workshop facilitator, life coach, and management consultant for program design and implementation. Dr. Vaccaro is a multi-disciplinary psychologist who received his doctorate at Pacifica Graduate Institute in Jungian Depth Psychology, and his Master’s degree in Positive Psychology & Spiritual Psychology from the University of Santa Monica. Dr. Vaccaro’s experience includes holistic multidisciplinary treatment of psychological disturbances and addictions as well as HIV/AIDS treatment and education, sexual compulsivity, addictive behaviors, and mood disorders.
This Center is Known For...
- Residential Treatment
- Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP)
- Yes Detox Services
- Yes Behavioral Disorder Treatment
- Yes Dual-Diagnosis Treatment
- Yes Outpatient Services
- Yes Sober Living Home
- No Day School
- No Private Rooms
- No Pet Friendly
- No Exceptionally LGBT Friendly
- No Men Only
- No Women Only
Licensing & Memberships
- Joint Commission
How Our Helpline Works
For those seeking addiction treatment for themselves or a loved one, the Recovery.org helpline is a private and convenient solution.
Calls to any general helpline (non-facility specific 1-8XX numbers) for your visit will be answered by American Addiction Centers (AAC).
We are standing by 24/7 to discuss your treatment options. Our representatives work solely for AAC and will discuss whether an AAC facility may be an option for you.
Our helpline is offered at no cost to you and with no obligation to enter into treatment. Neither Recovery.org nor AAC receives any commission or other fee that is dependent upon which treatment provider a visitor may ultimately choose.
For more information on AAC’s commitment to ethical marketing and treatment practices, or to learn more about how to select a treatment provider, visit our About AAC page.