ABOUT NOVA COUNSELING SERVICES, INC.
Located on the outskirts of Oshkosh, Wis., near Lake Winnebago, Nova Counseling Services, Inc. provides residential treatment, outpatient programs, aftercare, and transitional living for adults seeking recovery from substance use disorder. The state-licensed center is not a dual-diagnosis facility, though it can accept some clients struggling with depression, with such admissions determined on a case-by-case basis. Medical detox is not available on-site, but Nova can provide referrals to detox providers when necessary.
Nova provides an abstinence-based program. Though clients are permitted to take antidepressants, all other medications must be pre-approved, and methadone and Suboxone are banned. Nova is among the 42.9 percent of Wisconsin-based rehabs that operate as private nonprofits.
TREATMENT & ASSESSMENT
According to the center’s website, treatment is based on the principles of the 12-Steps and the disease model of addiction, and the residential program is structured as a therapeutic community. Clients seeking admission to the residential treatment program must be examined by a physician either prior to or upon entry to determine their fitness for treatment and freedom of any communicable diseases.
Programming typically combines individual and group counseling with 12-step meetings held both on- and off-site. As clients work through the steps, emphasis is placed on the first one: admitting powerlessness over addiction.
Beginning with a 6:45 a.m. wakeup, a typical day in residential treatment offers opportunity for meditation, community meetings, educational lectures, gender-specific groups, chores, and writing assignments. Family sessions assist those interested in learning more about the recovery process.
Following their residential stay, clients in need of additional care may enroll in the 90-day program at Terra House, the facility’s sober living program. Terra offers a four-stage program that emphasizes employment, volunteering, and/or school. Another program option is Focus, an intensive outpatient program (IOP, offered at 35.5 percent of Wisconsin-based facilities) that meets weekday mornings. Successful graduates of Nova programs may attend group aftercare meetings once or twice a week.
Nova Counseling Services’ employs a team of nine addiction counselors, some educated to master's level. The staff received good reviews from the eight individuals polled by Rehs.com to date on their performance:
Staff Experience and Training: 4.5/5
ACCOMMODATIONS & AMENITIES
Daily schedules are highly structured, keeping clients engaged from 6:45 a.m. until 10:30 p.m. The main facility can house as many as 50 men and women at a time (making it significantly larger than the state average of 23 beds), and Terra House has room for up to 12 people. The eight individuals Rehabs.com polled on the physical facility indicated that it was clean, with adequate amenities:
Exercise and Leisure: 3.4/5
WHAT ALUMNI SAY
Nova has mostly positive feedback from alumni polled by Rehabs.com. All eight of the alumni who were asked whether they would recommend the facility indicated that they would. In addition, the two alumni polled on the center's family participation gave it a four-star rating and a five-star rating, though the rehab's holistic offerings and ability to treat co-occurring disorders received lower ratings of one and two stars.
In their commentary, the reviewers tended to praise the program's efficacy. Alum Stan described the center as “one of the best facilities in the Midwest”, while Jim reported that treatment at Nova saved his life.
In the only note of strong complaint from an alum, Nik wrote "The counselors do not care about patients and spend little to no time with them," and added complaints of inadequate programming and dirty conditions. However, these complaints aren't borne out by other alumni comments.
On secondary sites, Nova had mixed feedback, skewing positive, with average ratings of 4.3 stars based on 11 reviews on Google and 4.8 stars based on 74 opinions on Facebook (where the facility can manage its own page), plus three one-star ratings, a two-star rating, and two five-star ratings spread between Yelp and CiteHealth.   
The negative reviews repeatedly cited unhelpful employees and, in reviewers' eyes, unfair discharge practices. In positive reviews, alumni repeatedly thanked the facility for their long-term sobriety and for saving their lives. "Literally saved my life. Best treatment by far that I have ever been too. The counselors and staff are phenomenal and I was always treated with kindness and respect," Noah wrote in a typical comment on Facebook.
WHAT FRIENDS & FAMILY SAY
The loved ones polled by Rehabs.com to date gave mostly positive feedback. The five loved ones polled on the facility's performance in a variety of metrics indicated that, on the whole, they would recommend Nova, and that it had good family programming but (as also indicated by alumni) less impressive holistic offerings:
Would Recommend: 4.4/5
Family Participation: 4.2/5
Holistic Offerings: 2.8/5
The reviewers repeatedly praised the center's staff, family participation, and effectiveness. “Great family involvement and after care,” an anonymous reviewer wrote. “Wonderful facility with very dedicated staff," added Charlie.
However, both Robert and Brian offered harsh criticism of Nova. Parent Brian complained of a cookie-cutter approach and a lack of attention paid to the root causes of addiction. "Cold, impersonal and stern, often to the point of being militant," he added. Robert reported that the facility seemed more interested in securing clients for longer stays than in caring for them. And in a mixed review, Julie complained of a lack of communication from staff and inadequate discharge planning.
Treatment costs $200 per day out-of-pocket. Nova also accepts private health insurance, but does not offer any sliding-scale fees. The eight individuals polled by Rehabs.com to date on the center's affordability gave mostly positive feedback:
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