From Receiving Help to Helping Others
As a little girl, Heather was molested and physically abused. As an adult, she could not escape the memory of those horrible encounters of her youth. Heather was a lost soul who drifted from one abusive relationship to another. She attempted suicide and would cut and burn herself.
Heather's long road to recovery began after being admitted to Butler's Partial Hospital Women's Program. Even when she relapsed and needed to be readmitted, Heather recalls that the program's clinical staff never gave up on her. They were thoughtful and caring and stuck by her.
During those times when she was readmitted, Butler staff were always there to stabilize her and help her resume her recovery. In addition to medications, she received cognitive behavioral therapy and dialectical behavior therapy. Heather also found the group meetings with other women, who had experienced similar problems in their lives, to be a big source of support for her.
Today, Heather has overcome her depression and has gained control of the emotions that tormented her for so long. She went back to school, earned her nursing degree and is working as a nurse at a hospital.
Helping a Retired Military Man Overcome Substance Abuse and Depression
Sometimes people will use drugs or alcohol to try to cope with psychiatric problems. That was the case for Mark, a retired military professional who had been seeing a therapist in the community for help with his depression. When a family tragedy struck, Mark's depression deepened. He and his therapist decided that the more intensive services offered by the Partial Hospital Psychiatric Program at Butler were needed to get him through the problems he was having and to develop a plan for living going forward.
As a former member of the military, disciplined and dedicated to his job, Mark was impressed with the level of professionalism that he found with the Partial Hospital staff. He recalls how he was surprised to see a level of “operational team skills,” which were reassuring to him and effective in encouraging patients to enter into a collaborative effort with their therapists. The treatment he received proved to be the answer to helping him begin to deal effectively with his depression. One particular feature that helped him during treatment was his participation in a men's cognitive behavioral therapy group.
“For many men, some of whom have never been able to really open up about their feelings before, the group can be a pivotal moment for them,” says Jeff McFarland, one of the Partial Hospital staff members who run the group. Even though Mark was struggling with the loss of a loved one, he was able to cope. But when he was unexpectedly laid off from work, his drinking began to increase to serious levels. At that time, he was transferred to the Partial Hospital Alcohol and Drug Program (ADP). He recalls that the first two days he was there he felt it was not going to help. But on the third day “everything clicked.”
The ADP professionals worked with Mark to identify and understand his substance abuse patterns. He began to develop healthy alternatives to coping with stress. At the same time as the treatment was taking place, he was introduced to twelve-step self-help programs such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). ADP patients also participate in such activities as mindfulness groups, functional analysis, and goal setting. Family support group meetings are also available.
The Partial Hospital Psychiatric Program and the ADP successfully offered Mark a full range of services to address his complex and changing clinical needs.
Individualized Care Helps a Young Woman Resume Her Pursuit of a College Degree
The focused care offered in Butler's partial hospital was particularly helpful to Jill, a young woman in her early twenties who had dropped out of college because she was unable to handle the stress of a full academic schedule.
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“Jill had basically been spending most of her time at home in her bedroom because of the depression and intense anxiety that she was dealing with,” says occupational therapy manager Barbara Ostrove, who works with patients in the Partial hospital. Jill was admitted to the Partial Hospital following a suicide attempt. After diagnosing her as suffering from a psychosis and severe depression, the clinical staff determined a treatment plan that would best meet her needs.
In the early stages of her treatment, Jill was very reserved and unsure of herself. Patients with severe depression are particularly vulnerable, withdrawn, and fragile,” says Lois Montefusco, COTA/L, an occupational therapist in the Partial hospital. “Our patients may have difficulty participating in larger group settings and typically do better in one-on-one or small group interactions,” Lois explains.
In Jill's case, she was able to find the courage to speak up and interact with staff and other patients. The first phase of her care included a combination of medications, small group therapy, and structured skills-building exercises. As she progressed and started feeling better, family therapy was introduced to provide the long-term support and understanding that she would need in order to live. Today Jill is taking a limited course schedule in night school and is doing much better.