Minnesota Alternatives, Spring Lake Park, Minnesota

lake landscape in the north
7766 NE Hwy 65
Spring Lake Park, MN, 55432

Minnesota Alternatives Overview

Located in the city of Spring Lake Park, Minnesota, Minnesota Alternatives is a unique outpatient treatment facility for adults looking to overcome substance abuse and/or mental health issues. The facility was founded by Paula DeSanto, a licensed social worker, and a certified co-occurring disorder professional has an MS degree in Psychiatric Rehabilitation. The center provides consultation services and programs which emphasize skill development, healing trauma, personalized interventions, and neuroscience. The facility is also a certified provider of co-occurring services. Additionally, the center utilizes evidence-based treatment methods such as motivational enhancements, mindfulness meditation, cognitive behavioral strategies, imagery, and multiple trauma therapies with the help of a multidisciplinary treatment staff consisting of Mental Health Practitioners, Alcohol and Drug Counselors, Peer Recovery Coaches, Psychologists, Peer Specialists, and Addiction Psychiatrists all formally certified and licensed. In addition, the center recognizes the distinct needs of persons suffering from addiction and mental illness and does not utilize a one-size-fits-all treatment method. Patients are given customized treatment plans which meet the unique needs of each individual patient. The outpatient treatment center boasts of having successfully treated about 60% of its clients up the stage of completion. The center, unlike other treatment establishments, focuses less on abstinence and more on a harm reduction approach.

Treatment & Therapy

The center offers some treatment and therapy services depending on the unique needs of the client. Some of these are:

  • Treatment Options
  • Outpatient Mental Health Treatment
  • Peer Support Services

Outpatient Mental Health Treatment

The outpatient treatment program focuses on persons dealing with substance use and co-occurring mental health disorders. The program is designed to be holistic and does not offer a 12-step approach to treatment although, for patients who find the 12-step model helpful, their treatment plans can be integrated with it. The program is also tailored to the needs of each patient and focuses on areas like skill development and engagement. The program incorporates a 15-20 minute meditation session, educational classes, weekend planning, and group meetings. The group meetings are mostly kept to a small number of about 6-8 people in order make clients more comfortable talking.

Peer Support Services

The center offers a peer support center for clients adults dealing with substance abuse problems. The services are offered from Monday to Thursday and offer medication-assisted treatment for substance abuse.
The following are a list of conditions treated at the facility:

  • Substance abuse
  • Co-occurring disorders
  • Anxiety
  • Bi-polar illness
  • PTSD

Therapy Options

The facility offers various options of therapy which include:

  • Individual therapy
  • Group therapy
  • Mindfulness meditation
  • Motivational Enhancement Therapy (MET)
  • Group therapy


Minnesota Alternatives cost vary greatly depending on the type of treatment required, resources, and level of care. The facility can operate on a sliding scale basis for clients in need of such. Payment plans are also available for easy convenience. Short-term or Relapse prevention costs $1,200 for a 48-hour period and $600 for a 24-hour period. It costs $125 for a private assessment as well. These prices are subject to change as it is dependent on treatment. Insurance is accepted and clients are advised to contact the facility for more information on payment and admission. Health insurance plans accepted include Aetna, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Cigna, U Care, Medica, and more.

Minnesota Alternatives Advantages

After completion of a primary program, clients are given aftercare or a discharge plan as a way to continue treatment even after admission. Marriage and Family therapy programs are also offered as family involvement is an important part of recovery. Clients who have been ordered by the court to find treatment are welcomed at the facility.
Other mental health treatments such as somatic experiencing and prolonged exposure therapy are also offered to clients, but through a nearby facility called Alltyr Clinic that offers similar treatments to the facility. Intervention services ranging from 24 to 48-hour intensity levels are offered on a short-term duration period at the facility.
The facility, in entirety, provides multiple treatment programs with a solid range of evidence-based modalities and holistic therapies. Although treatment at the facility is quite unorthodox, these practices are backed by trained and professional staff members. Clients seeking a facility that offers that offers a one-one-relationship with the counselor and patient in a non-traditional treatment environment will find Minnesota to be a good option.


Paula Desanto
President and Founder

Paula holds a Master’s degree from Boston University in Psychiatric Rehabilitation and is licensed to practice Social Work. She is also certified to be a Co-Occurring Disorder Professional and a Psychiatric Rehabilitation Practitioner. She is passionate about providing substance abuse and mental health treatment to individuals suffering from such.

Barry Brandt
Peer Specialist & Mental Health Practitioner

Barry holds a degree from the University of Minnesota and has years of experience working in behavioral health settings, residential or otherwise. He is passionate about providing one-on-one support to clients and even providing support in group settings.

Peter Bruhn

Peter holds a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin in Psychology and then furthered his studies, by getting a Master’s degree from the University of Minnesota within the Integrated Behavioral Health program. He is licensed to practice alcohol and drug counseling and is currently completing the process and coursework needed to be a Professional Clinical Counselor.

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