The Clinical Program at Brookhaven Retreat has been specifically designed to provide core coping skills for all clients, but also provide individual therapies that specifically address each client’s individual needs. The basis of much of the program is Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) but other therapies are used as well. The Clinical Program includes the following:
“Core Group” Psychotherapy
“Core Group” is held twice daily Monday through Friday with the primary therapist. Approximately 4- 8 clients work with one primary therapist and each hour-long process-oriented session provides opportunities to practice new skills, explore relationship issues and process difficult events. Many of the objectives and interventions on a client’s treatment plan can be addressed in these groups and what is shared in these groups is kept confidential and not disclosed to the other women in the program. Relationships formed in this group are very powerful as the safety that is built into these groups allows clients to feel comfortable sharing things that they never have to anyone before. The level of disclosures and depth of processing can be more therapeutic than that of an individual session.
DBT Skills Groups
DBT Skills groups teach Mindfulness, Distress Tolerance, Emotion Regulation and Interpersonal Effectiveness skills which form the basis of the DBT approach. In turn these skills are practice in both “Core Group” and individual therapy sessions.
The treatment at Brookhaven Retreat is highly individualized and a number of different therapeutic approaches may be used depending upon the specific needs of the client. Individual Therapy will occur once weekly with the Primary Therapist and will consist of one or more specific therapeutic approaches that are described here. The Primary Therapist will also assign variousbook reading assignments, workbooks, and projects that clients work on independently between sessions in order to process the gains made in therapy.
While it is essential for our treatment team to work with the individual to reach their goals, we believe it is equally important to assist family members in understanding how to help foster the gains made during treatment at home. Family Therapy occurs once a week for clients that participate in this aspect of the program. Therapy sessions can take place either in person or by telephone and are conducted by the Primary Therapist. Common targets for family therapy include: increased understanding of mental illness, improved communication skills, reconnection of a strained marital relationship, increased expression of feelings and needs, and setting healthy boundaries.
Experiential Therapies provide opportunities to identify emotional issues and to practice new coping skills. Experiential Therapies provided at Brookhaven Retreat include:
- Equine Assisted Therapy: Brookhaven Retreat offers Equine Assisted Psychotherapy (EAP) as part of our emotional wellness treatment program. EAP has proven successful in treating those with mental health issues by providing a powerful opportunity for trauma and conflict resolution that incorporates teaching and practicing essential life skills. Typically conducted in groups, a highly trained equine therapist and psychotherapist are responsible for facilitating the development of a relationship between a client and the horses. Individual therapy sessions to target specific issues are also available as recommended in the treatment planning. Equine therapists at Brookhaven Retreat have received their certification for EAP and follow Equine Assisted Growth And Learning Association recommendations.
Horses provide highly accurate feedback about personalities, attitudes and moods by mirroring human body language. The therapist observes the client interaction with the horses and helps to assess and process feelings, behaviors and patterns. A client who finds it difficult to set healthy boundaries in relationships may also allow a horse to nip at her hands or clothing. The client may misinterpret the aggressive behavior as affection, allowing the therapist to explore this misconception as a clinical issue.
With this unique therapy, talk is replaced by touch; movement and other elements are not part of the traditional therapeutic environment. While riding is not incorporated into EAP, activities such as the grooming process - picking mud out of feet, untangling manes and tails and brushing the horse's coat - can help clients to work on issues such as nurturing, asking for help, isolation, dependence, performance anxiety, connection and intimacy.
- Art Therapy: Art therapy can be beneficial to anyone but is particularly helpful for those who just aren't able to express their feelings with words. We use several mediums of art as therapy that allow our clients to express what they can't say. Art therapy is based on the belief that the creative process involved in artistic self-expression helps people resolve conflicts and problems, develop interpersonal skills, manage behavior, reduce stress, increase self-esteem and self- awareness, and achieve insight.
- Experiential Groups: In addition to the “Core Group” therapy described above, Brookhaven Retreat offers many other groups throughout the week. Group therapy is the heartbeat of any good therapy center. The power of group psychotherapy is that the group becomes a microcosm for the larger world and how a client interacts in the group is often a mirror for how they interact in other relationships. The group is a necessary tool to really understanding this aspect of a person's overall ability to live a meaningful and productive life.
Some of our groups are process oriented and offer tremendous depth to the processing that most are often more comfortable with in individual therapy. Many of our groups, however, are focused around a specific topic such as trauma, grief/loss, self-esteem and healthy families. These groups include educational and experiential components so that each client leaves with a toolbox overflowing with skills that she is ready and experienced at using.
- Mindfulness: Mindfulness begins each day at Brookhaven Retreat and is a mindful grounding for the day to ensure focus, affirm self and find readiness to start the day with a sense of peace and connection. Each client is taught specific mindfulness techniques by their Primary Therapist and is encouraged to practice mindfulness as a coping skill regularly.