Sunrise Center FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions – Pajaro Valley Sunrise Center

What is your governance?

We have a Board of Directors and a sub committee of the board that is an Executive Committee. Janet Foner is the Chair of the Board and will be an ongoing consultant to the project. The center director will answer to the Executive Committee.

What will happen if people will need to discharge at night?

We will staff expecting that to happen.

What would a regular day at the center look like?

Residents and Staff will share the cooking, cleaning, etc. Residents will have three or four co-counseling sessions per day. A minimum of these sessions will be one way attention from staff to the resident. As soon as possible the sessions will be two way co-counseling sessions between residents and staff as well as residents and residents. Staff members will have at least one session a day with another staff member or volunteer. There will be lots of opportunity for residents to get their attention off their emotional work (e.g. exercise, the beach, gardening, art work, music, movies).

Will other doctors be involved?

Yes, We hope to have doctors come and participate in what we are doing in order to help demonstrate to the medical profession that psychiatric drugs are not helpful

Will there be volunteer staff?

Yes, in addition to paid staff, we hope to have a large number of volunteers and interns who are learning what we do and are an integral part of the center.

How will the center be insured?

We are assured by a local insurance agent who works with many non-profits, that our center is insurable for liability and for “malpractice”.

Where will the staff come from?

All of the staff will be experienced co-counselors.

Where will the money come from?

We expect to raise most of the money we need to run the center from private donations. We are in the process of raising 3 million dollars for the initial three years of operations. We also plan to apply for grants from foundations. Residents’ health insurance is not a viable source of income for the center since insurance payment for “mental health” services is extremely limited and based on drug treatment.

How will the center be licensed?

Since our center will not be using diagnoses,under California law, it falls in the same category as rehabilitation facilities and not counseling centers. This means licensure and staffing issues are less complex.

When do we expect to open?

We expect to be open sometime after 2014.

Will former residents have ongoing support?

One of the requirements for coming to the center is setting up a support team at home. Our expectation is that the support team will counsel the former resident in person When that is not possible, phone counseling may substitute. It is expected that support team members will need to do their own ongoing emotional work in order to be able to counsel the former resident well. There will also be a staff person at the center, assigned to handle phone calls from former residents and members of their support teams. Some of these phone calls will be scheduled follow-up calls and some, on an as needed basis.

Will prospective residents need approval to come?

For prospective residents who are already in Re-Evaluation Counseling, they will need the approval of their Area Reference Person and/or their Regional Reference Person. For prospective residents who are not in Re-evaluation Counseling, the application process will include input from the applicant’s friends and family

Will some people be excluded from coming to the center?

At this time, we may need to exclude some people, if we feel that their difficulties are such that we do not think we can assist them. These decisions will be made on a person by person basis.

How many residents will be at the center at the same time?


The center will be capable of housing six residents at a time.

What will residents pay?

Residents will pay on a sliding scale. No one will be denied access to the center for lack of money.

How long will residents stay at the center?

Residents will stay at the center somewhere between two weeks and six months. The short stay would be to make sure that people get an initial hand with their hard emotional issues and the drug withdrawl. They would then go home to their support team and work through the process of getting off drugs and building a life they want. They may return to the center for short stays if needed. The longer stays of up to several months would be for people who require full time support while they get off drugs and work through their hard emotional issues.

Who will be the clients at the center?

At first, the clients will be people who already know how to co-counsel. After we gain experience with this group, we will then open the center to people who need to learn co-counseling as they are coming off drugs.

More questions?

We can be reached via post or email: The Sunrise Center c/o Jean Hamilton 591 Stanford Ave. Palo Alto, CA 94306 USA

Will there be centers elsewhere?

In the long run, yes. Several people who have been involved in the planning have expressed an interest in learning what we do in order to take their knowledge home and start centers where they live.