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Finding the Perfect Fit: Niche Treatment Models

Written by O'Connor Professional Group
Published on March 18, 2016

No two people are the same. Every individual has their own specific history, experiences, and perceptions. In a similar regard, no two mental health conditions are the same. Even if two people are diagnosed with the same mental illness, their own experiences and perceptions can mold the way that illness manifests and presents itself. For this reason, there is no one-size-fits-all model when considering the best treatment modality for a particular individual. Here, we breakdown a few different niche treatment models and what they have to offer.

Wilderness Therapy: Wilderness therapy is typically a modality for adolescents who struggle with substance abuse or emotional instability. The idea is to surround the individual with empathic, trained staff in a rugged, outdoor environment. Individuals work with the land and their mentors to learn, problem-solve, and overcome situations posed by Mother Nature. The hope is that individuals foster self-confidence, learn self-soothing mechanisms, and build a strong capacity to work with and relate to others.

Work-Based Treatment: Often times, we hear about individuals struggling with a certain mental health diagnosis who have lost sight of what brings them joy or what makes them a unique. Certain diagnoses, like Bipolar disorder or Borderline Personality Disorder, can be stigmatizing and can feel condemning. When a person feels like they have lost sight of who they are, they may need a little help in rediscovering themselves and what makes them tick. Certain treatments for people with mental health diagnoses such as depression, schizophrenia and personality disorders, focus on implementing work, structure and routine back into a person’s life when a diagnosis may have otherwise derailed their daily life flow. Places like Spring Lake Ranch in Vermont, or Gould Farm in the Berkshires, assign tasks and jobs to patients, such as farming or tending to animals. As individuals work together from the land, they learn to problem solve in a team environment, while reaping benefits that they sow.

Dual Diagnosis: When you have multiple mental health diagnoses, finding the right treatment center can be a challenge. Often times, it may seem like a program might be a great fit for a primary diagnosis, but does not meet the needs of other outlying issues. For instance, if an individual is suffering from both an eating disorder and a substance abuse disorder, what should the primary focus of treatment be? Should they go to a program to treat their eating disorder or their substance abuse problem? Thankfully, there are programs out there that specialize in simultaneously treating dual-diagnoses. Check out treatment centers like Timberline Knolls in Chicago. They offer treatment for a variety of co-occurring diagnoses like eating disorders, mood disorders, addictions, and PTSD.

LGBTQ Population: Individuals within the LGBTQ community may struggle with a unique set of mental health concerns. Trauma, sexual abuse, social isolation, addiction, and HIV infection are just some of the various afflictions that challenge the wellbeing of LGBTQ individuals. Sophisticated evaluation and knowledge of complex sexual health issues are a must when providing proper treatment within this population. It is also important for individuals to feel accepted, valued, safe, and understood while in treatment. For that reason, being in an environment that fully understands the specific needs of LGBTQ population is key. The Triangle Program is the first partial hospitalization program in Boston specifically designed for LGBTQ individuals. They offer groups around mindfulness, healthy thinking, self-esteem, anger management, trauma recovery, family issues, etc., led by professional clinicians.

The above modalities and highlighted treatment centers are just a few of a wide array of specialized treatment programs across the country. At OPG, we understand that when individuals seek help in finding the right treatment for their needs, they want to be seen as a person and not a diagnosis.

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