By Dr. D. Shawn Harvey, M.D.
Many health care providers are unaware of a growing form of mental health treatment through a partial hospitalization program (PHP). Its popularity stems largely from its cost-effectiveness and accessibility for patients. PHP is for medically stable patients who do not require an inpatient stay, but may benefit from more intensive, daily therapy. Patients also benefit from returning home in the evenings and maintaining important connections to family, friends and the community. I’m able to meet with PHP patients regularly to assess how well they are responding to therapy and adjust medication if needed.
Our treatment team at Brookwood Medical Center’s PHP uses multiple treatment modalities such as, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Dialectical Behavior Therapy and Expressive Therapy. The group therapies are a mix of process-oriented, talk therapy and education. The patients have an opportunity to address deeper issues and practice new ways of coping in a safe and supportive environment.
One of the most beneficial aspects of our program is teaching the practice of mindfulness. Every morning, the patients begin the day by practicing some form of it. Mindfulness teaches patients how to change their relationship to their thinking and brings someone into the present with heightened awareness and focus. Practicing mindfulness has been shown to reduce symptoms of depression and decrease the risk of future relapses.
Brookwood Medical Center’s PHP is called the Inner Path and is located on the hospital’s main campus. It’s a short-term, outpatient program lasting up to two to three weeks, providing treatment for adults experiencing issues that interfere with their ability to function on a daily basis. Many of the patients we see are seeking better ways to cope with mood disorders such as major depression, anxiety, panic and bipolar. Other issues addressed include: grief and loss, trauma, chronic pain, life transitions and adjustment, work-related stress and relationship conflicts. Our program is not a treatment for substance abuse; however, some of the patients may have a history of alcohol or drug dependence.
Admission Criteria for InnerPath Patients:
· Patients must be 19 years of age or older
· Dealing with ongoing mental health issues such as depression, anxiety or panic
· Medically stable and cleared for ambulatory care level
· Psychiatrically stable and able to maintain safety in an unlocked setting
· Able to hold and self-administer medication, handle self-care and function independently
· Cognitively capable of participating in and benefitting from intensive group therapy sessions daily
· Clean and sober and actively engaged in recovery through 12-step or recovery groups
Any health care provider may make a referral and in some cases, the patient may refer him- or herself. If you would like to make a referral to The Inner Path, download the referral form at bwmc.com/psychiatry.
Dr. Shawn Harvey is a board-certified psychiatrist and medical director of Brookwood Medical Center’s Partial Hospitalization Program.