People with personality disorders require considerable time and resources from the Mental Health system. The unique features of day treatment help to make it effective for patients with personality disorders and in turn help to improve skills in coping with stress, navigating relationships and dealing with emotions. Day treatment is able to offer treatment intensity not possible in most outpatient settings. We work with people living with many different types of mental illnesses to provide them with skills and knowledge to assist them in achieving daily routines and lead a more rewarding life.
Our hope is that the people we serve come away from the program changed and see their futures in a more positive light.
We view the world, and ourselves within it, as a whole, dynamic and self organizing system. We view the emergence of problematic behaviour as resulting from an inability, despite our best attempts to cope with life’s stressors. We all recognize aspects of our personalities which are self-defeating whether negative thoughts, or self destructive behaviour or our struggle to understand our emotions. For some people these issues are life threatening. They find themselves stuck in difficult life circumstances, unable to cope in a crisis, unable to recover from illness, despairing and losing hope. They live in pain and in a battle with themselves and the world.
We offer an intensive six-week group therapy program which specializes in helping people with acute and long-term psychiatric disorders to deal with these painful struggles. A person comes to the program wanting to change aspects of themselves but not knowing how to do it. The person is helped to understand their dysfunction and reframe it in a way that allows them to set specific behavioural goals for the therapeutic contract. The person works on healing the pain from the past and setting goals to develop a healthier way of coping in the future.
Peer support is built in as a key component of learning and recovery. We offer a wide range of psychotherapy and skill building groups, individual therapy, pharmacotherapy, recreation, acupuncture and relationship training. Quality assurance is maintained through on-going research. The groups are linked and as a person goes through each one they unlock a part of their own puzzle.
About 2500 years ago the philosopher Heraclitus said “A man’s character is his fate.” It follows that by changing ourselves we can change the direction of our lives.
As the Mental Health Day Treatment Program we see people make fundamental changes to their personalities in the space of six weeks. We see people find a new sense of hope. We see people discover new choices and rediscover themselves. We see the strength of the human spirit.
Our day treatment program uses an integrated systems approach based on psychotherapeutic and milieu principles, and using group psychotherapy, biological psychiatry and individual therapy. Patients typically participate in a variety of therapy groups several hours each weekday for a six week period. We are unique in our brevity; similar programs last 18 months or longer. The therapy groups draw from different technical orientations. For example, behavioural and cognitive interventions can be used in structured, skills-oriented groups, whereas dynamic interventions are used in unstructured, insight-oriented groups. Family and couple interventions may also be employed. The goals of such program include:
reduction of problematic behaviours
modification of maladaptive character traits
relief of symptoms,
facilitation of psychological maturation
Personality disorders are difficult to treat. However, there are unique advantages which make this program effective. Our research indicates that day treatment has effective features in dealing with people who have both a personality disorder and other types of mental illness. The intensity of the program is quite high which is not always possible in outpatient environments. The groups vary in structure, objectives, and processes. Such diversity provides a comprehensive approach to treatment. The different groups in the program are integrated and work together. Issues raised in one group may be addressed using different approaches in subsequent groups. In this way patients are encouraged to understand and address in a multi-dimensional manner, they are encouraged to look at the emotional, cognitive, behavioural and social aspects of their lives. Patients benefit from working with many staff members and a large number of other patients. Emotionally inhibited patients can benefit from observing emotionally expressive ones and vice versa. Day treatment capitalizes on the traditional characteristics of a therapeutic community (democratization, permissiveness, communalism, reality confrontation) and these features serve to strengthen cohesion, which helps to retain patients in treatment during difficult periods. Because it is a time-limited program there is a clear sense that much needs to be done in a finite and relatively short period of time. This puts pressure on patients (as well as staff) to work hard. The culture of the program encourages patients to be responsible, engenders mutual respect between patients and staff, and facilitates patients’ participation in the treatment of their peers. The group format of Day Treatment offers a number of advantages over individual therapy, such as the dilution of intense transference feelings toward the therapist, more-controlled therapeutic regression, and increased opportunity for feedback. Patients in the group setting observe and take on many social roles, which lead to increased opportunity for change. In addition, treating patients in a group, rather than individually, is appealing for economic reasons.