Partial Hospitialization Program Helps People Learn to Cope With Life CircumstancesSpringfield, VT — We’ve all known someone that fits this description: “The person who can’t sleep... who has no interest, no hobbies, no energy. They feel totally helpless and completely hopeless, perhaps even suicidal.”
These feelings are completely non-discriminating and come upon people of any sex, any age, and any lifestyle. Over time, people become isolated. Friends and relatives don’t understand what they are going through... Yet, somehow, they just can’t get out of their own way. The days drag on... until sooner or later, they start to have trouble at work or in their marriage. Before you know it, they are in serious trouble.
For many who fit this description, the cause is depression. Depression will continue to rob these people of the joys of daily life until they find the courage to make the commitment to healing.
The only one of its kind in the area, the Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP) at The Windham Center in Bellows Falls, VT offers help and hope for those suffering from depression. Over a period of four to
six weeks, this intensive, short-term program provides stabilization for those with psychiatric disorders. The program helps people learn the skills they need to cope with the circumstances causing their crisis.
PHP is an alternative to hospitalization and is also used as a step down from inpatient care for the person who needs help re-entering the community, going back to work, and/or resuming routine responsibilities of work and home. Part of The Windham Center’s Outpatient Services, which provides an array of outpatient care including Psychiatric Services, the partial hospitalization program offers five-day-a-week availability, from 10:00 a.m. - 2:30 pm and is covered by most insurance providers.
The PHP process starts with a referral from medical personnel or a mental health practitioner. An interview is then set up between the participant and their personal primary contact person who explains the program in detail. During this initial meeting, symptoms and disruptive parts of life are identified as primary areas of focus. Beginning with four and perhaps five sessions the first week or so, regular weekly assessment will determine the ongoing need and frequency of future sessions, which may soon decrease to three days per week.
Depression, frequently a symptom of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), can also be closely intertwined with co-occurring substance abuse. Whether overcoming rape, death, abuse, or some other traumatic life experience, people can benefit from the support available to them every day as they work on what brought them to PHP.
Participants generally find comfort in the fact that they work as a group, sharing experiences with others who are going through similar circumstances. The group setting helps minimize any perceived stigma
associated with receiving mental health services. The fact that they help each other is a very important part of the therapy for all parties involved. In the morning, two discussion groups identify goals for the
day and staff guides and gives feedback to the group.
After lunch, a cognitive therapy group looks at distorted thoughts and learns how to look at things more realistically. They learn to study patterns; identify negative thought processes, fears, and behaviors; and learn how to develop a positive approach to various situations.
And what comes after PHP? Participants may be referred to the Dialectic Behavioral Therapy (DBT) program or individual therapy as needed. Some may need support from the Relapse Prevention group - a one-afternoon-a-week therapy group that helps participants to review skills and make
plans to progress. They may need Seeking Safety Group for PTSD and co-occurring disorders. These are all outpatient programs designed to fit the busy lifestyles of working families and are generally covered by insurance.
The magic of the group is the bonding that takes place and the fact that people in the groups are learning to cope with the same issues. The group situation dispels isolation and stigma.
The Windham Center helps everyday people - with everyday problems - and prepares them to live in the everyday world... one day at a time. For more information on the PHP program, contact Jean Etter at 802-463-1292.