Yellowbrick’s experience is that it is crucial to embrace the moment when individuals and/or families feel ready to start treatment regardless of the source of motivation. It is a big step and taking action when readiness comes together can spare a lot of future suffering, conflict, and regret. Yellowbrick does all it can to facilitate getting started. Call an Admission Coordinator at 847 869-1500 ext 233. The Coordinator will speak with you about your individual and family context and refer you to the Business office for a discussion of financial and administrative matters. Yellowbrick will check your Verification of Benefits, usually on the same day, so send a copy of the insurance card to firstname.lastname@example.org. This usually gives an estimate of how much insurance is likely to reimburse families for fees paid directly to Yellowbrick.
The greatest challenge, and the central source of therapeutic power within intensive program treatment, lies in the effort to create a community experience that includes both staff and patients. Community is the heartbeat of the therapeutic process because it offers so many naturalistic opportunities for human interaction. This is true all the more when the model of treatment is that of an open therapeutic community within which relationships are established on the basis of collaboration rather than on power, control, or responsibility for patient choices being located within the staff. Such a community provides multiple opportunities for patients to learn to face and resolve conflicts, to use words rather than actions to ask for what they need and to begin to empathize with others. The community also allows for young people who are struggling to meet kindred spirits, to feel less alienated and be less alone, to make friendships, to find support, and to substitute human relationships for substances, compulsive behaviors, and symptoms.
What You Can Do to Help Make Treatment Work for You
Patients sometimes experience the community as “living in a bubble,” different from the real world in that peers and staff are more understanding and tolerant of people’s issues than they believe people in the “real world” are likely to be. Alternately, sometimes people experience the community as all too real, bringing up painful realities that they may have preferred to avoid facing or thinking about. The fact is that there is truth in both of these perceptions. An open therapeutic community can be a place where people have deep empathy, understanding, and tolerance for others’ struggles and, at the same time, it involves a process that asks people to learn to talk about their conflicts with others, their own troubling inner world, and the problematic behaviors which communicate from disconnected parts of self.
Clinical experience informs that it is inevitable that individual core difficulties that bring a person to treatment will emerge in the cauldron of community life. If a person has been lonely and has had difficulty feeling a part of things, these feelings of alienation are likely to emerge at some point, in some fashion. If a person has had issues comparing themselves to others or with competitive feelings, these are bound to come up. If anger has been a problem, or if the way a person has expressed it has pushed people away, it is almost certain that this problem will be expressed in that person’s relationships within the community, and so forth. In fact, it is common that the peer with which one has the most upset, or even hateful feelings, is the one who often has the most to teach you! Core repeating patterns in our relationships, which express important, and usually unacknowledged aspects of ourselves outside of our conscious experience, often hold the troubled but encrypted feelings which have been the engine of our emotional and functional difficulties.
Sometimes when these patterns emerge in treatment, often with self-damaging or risky consequences, the patient (and his/her family) feel worried and discouraged. “This is a therapeutic community! Why am I still feeling this way? Why is this still happening?” The answer is, though it may not feel consoling at the moment, that all of us, as humans, have a remarkably tenacious tendency to repeat our own long-practiced patterns of relating to others, to ourselves, to our own feelings, even if these patterns have led to disappointment, danger or destructiveness. We all bring ourselves and our core patterns with us wherever we go. They will not change by the magic of being in the presence of supportive others. The advantage in treatment within an open therapeutic community is that these patterns become part of the process of a “living laboratory in real-time treatment” where there is an opportunity to be curious, explore, challenge, and otherwise work with them in vivo, in real life, in real-time.
The open therapeutic community and treatment program is designed to take advantage of the reemergence of these core troubles: as opportunities to witness them as they are occurring in our midst; to understand them more deeply; to see how they may have been a person’s adaptation to difficult circumstances; to help the person judge for themselves if these ways of being are getting them where they want to go; to help the person see and to learn alternative ways of coping or relating.
A note about feelings: While therapeutic work frequently focuses on helping patients to recognize and to articulate their feelings, our goal is to assist the individual in bringing emotions back into their rightful place as a part of the understanding of the self, alongside the person’s values, needs, wishes, and thoughts. We recognize the importance of emotions, but we don’t value them as truth anymore or less than we do the person’s ideas or their value system. Knowing one’s own feelings is an essential part of decision-making, but feelings alone can also lead us astray. We know, for instance, that the person with anorexia feels fat while actually starving to death. The open community model is designed to help individuals learn to exercise their judgment, identify their core values, as well as to be in touch with their feelings.
Working to Earn Secure Attachment
Many people who come to intensive program treatment have significant difficulties in their relationships with others. Sometimes these problems cause patients to isolate and avoid connecting, or to engage in destructive relationships, or to believe that their self-worth depends on a connection with a romantic partner. Frequently patients report that they have a hard time trusting others; that is difficult to depend on others or to allow others to depend on them; that they worry about not being accepted; that they worry about being or ending up alone. A growing body of research points strongly to the fact that these kinds of difficulties have profound effects upon life satisfaction, self-esteem, the ability to feel comfortable with intimacy and with independence: all core concerns for emerging adults. The literature also clearly indicates something that is extremely hopeful: it is quite possible to develop secure attachment as an adult and an open therapeutic environment is well suited to facilitate this process.
Here are some examples of ways that you can help yourself to work on this dimension of your life:
How You Will Know if You Are Progressing in Treatment
We all hope that treatment will help every patient both to function and to feel better. We know, though, that even in the most successful, best-conducted treatment, progress is not linear but may happen in fits and starts, or involve periods of progress and regression, or may cause some people to feel worse before they feel better. These phenomena may make it difficult for a person, and for their family, to judge whether genuine progress is occurring. Here are some indications that a person is making progress:
It may be apparent from the above signs of progress, why it is that sometimes a person engaged in deep treatment may feel worse before things improve. Approaching those things that have been avoided, while an essential part of recovery, almost inevitably is uncomfortable or frightening or painful in some way. If a person has tended to avoid conflicts then beginning to address these is likely to raise anxiety and discomfort. If a person has used drugs or alcohol to manage their own emotions then being sober may leave a person with intense feelings that they may not yet know how to handle well. If a person has had a history of trauma and denied or minimized its impact then beginning to face what happened and the toll it has taken will, of course, be a painful process.
Yellowbrick collaborates with adolescents and emerging adults, ages 16-30's, their families and participating professionals toward the development and implementation of a strategic “Life Plan.” An integrative, multi-specialty consultation clarifies strengths, limitations, and risks, and defines motivations, goals and choices.
A mental health condition that’s characterized by intense shifts in mood including both manic and depressive episodes.
People living with Major Depressive Disorder, or MDD, experience episodes of depression and sadness that are debilitating to daily life.
Those living with anxiety disorders experience high levels of anxiety and stress that interfere negatively with daily life.
A mental health issue in which a person’s cognitive function is impaired, resulting in symptoms like experiencing challenges with conducting speech, reading and writing, and behavior.
Mental health disorders that negatively affect a person’s behaviors, thought patterns, and function. People diagnosed with these disorders experience challenges with managing relationships and understanding various situations.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is a mental health condition that people can develop as a result of experiencing traumatic situations, characterized by symptoms including flashbacks, avoidance behaviors, and more.
A mental health condition that is characterized by specific symptoms of forgetfulness and lack of concentration, which makes it challenging to complete necessary tasks.
Mental health conditions that interfere with a person’s eating habits, thought patterns, and behaviors in negative ways.
A mental health disorder diagnosable with the DSM-5 that is characterized by both obsessions and compulsive behaviors.