May Mental Health Awareness
In honor of mental health awareness month, the team at Jefferson Oaks Behavioral Health wanted to address the alienation persons served often experience before seeking help. Feeling alone or like the “only one” is common when experiencing depression, anxiety, grief and loss. The isolation that often comes with the symptoms of depression, anxiety, grief/loss separates us further. The isolation initially may feel safe, but over time, the isolation becomes a wall, a barrier.
At Jefferson Oaks Behavioral Health, our primary form of treatment is group therapy. Our clinicians are well versed in DBT, CBT, ACT and many other models of effective forms of psychotherapy. Persons served are often initially fearful of joining a group. The people are strangers after all. In many ways because we do not know those in the group, is precisely why group therapy works. Group therapy is an accelerated microcosm of the real world- a safe world, a sacred space where all the work is done in this space. At Jefferson Oaks, we emphasize the importance of the confidentiality of the group and the no connection “rule” outside of group to keep the space free of outside influence and to keep the focus within. Also, this “rule” decreases the risk of trying to help each other when the patients in the group are often in a vulnerable place.
Those in the groups at Jefferson Oaks are in different stages of the therapeutic journey. Some are nearing graduation, some are beginners, some are midway. This creates a beautiful balance of support as those who are just arriving need the most support and those that are later in the process have new tools and are generally feeling stronger and ready to return to their lives with a renewed sense of purpose. In this way, persons served truly connect and support each other as they move through the group therapy process.
Group therapy is essential to the therapeutic process. We are social beings and being separated from others hurts. The need for the “group” is innate to humans. We have met in groups in circles since the beginning. We still meet in the circle at Jefferson Oaks as this shape helps further unite us and enables us truly “see” each other. The ritual of the group space becomes a place of safety, vulnerability and honesty. For without vulnerability there can be little honesty. In closing, I often tell patients to try one group. Listen and observe. Just being with others is often therapeutic after feeling alone for so long. The act of being seen itself is healing. We all need to be seen, noticed and supported. We all need our groups
At Jefferson Oaks Behavioral Health, we work within a multidisciplinary team, which includes the use of the expressive therapies. Art therapy has been greatly beneficial to persons served due to the experience of creating imagery that addresses reasons for admission, such as anxiety, grief, loss and depression. Art therapy helps-but how?
Art Therapy is an integrative mental health and human services profession that enriches the lives of individuals, families, and communities through active art-making, creative process, applied psychological theory, and human experience within a psychotherapeutic relationship.
Art Therapy, facilitated by a professional art therapist, effectively supports personal and relational treatment goals as well as community concerns. Art Therapy is used to improve cognitive and sensory-motor functions, foster self-esteem and self-awareness, cultivate emotional resilience, promote insight, enhance social skills, reduce and resolve conflicts and distress, and advance societal and ecological change.
Art therapists are master-level clinicians who work with people of all ages across a broad spectrum of practice. Guided by ethical standards and scope of practice, their education and supervised training prepares them for culturally proficient work with diverse populations in a variety of settings. Honoring individuals’ values and beliefs, art therapists work with people who are challenged with medical and mental health problems, as well as individuals seeking emotional, creative, and spiritual growth.
Through integrative methods, art therapy engages the mind, body, and spirit in ways that are distinct from verbal articulation alone. Kinesthetic, sensory, perceptual, and symbolic opportunities invite alternative modes of receptive and expressive communication, which can circumvent the limitations of language. Visual and symbolic expression gives voice to experience, and empowers individual, communal, and societal transformation.
~Adapted from the American Art Therapy Association
At Jefferson Oaks Behavioral Health, we work within a multidisciplinary team that includes the use of the expressive therapies. The benefits of music therapy are numerous but how does it work?
What is Music Therapy?
Music Therapy is the clinical and evidence-based use of music interventions to accomplish individualized goals within a therapeutic relationship by a credentialed professional who has completed an approved music therapy program.
What do music therapists do?
Music therapists assess emotional well-being, physical health, social functioning, communication abilities, and cognitive skills through musical responses; design music sessions for individuals and groups based on client needs using music improvisation, receptive music listening, song writing, lyric discussion, music and imagery, music performance, and learning through music; participate in interdisciplinary treatment planning, ongoing evaluation, and follow up.
Who can benefit from music therapy?
Children, adolescents, adults, and the elderly with mental health needs, developmental and learning disabilities, Alzheimer's disease and other aging related conditions, substance abuse problems, brain injuries, physical disabilities, and acute and chronic pain.
Who is qualified to practice music therapy?
Persons who complete one of the approved college music therapy curricula (including an internship) are then eligible to sit for the national examination offered by the Certification Board for Music Therapists. Music therapists who successfully complete the independently administered examination hold the music therapist-board certified credential (MT-BC).
What are some misconceptions about music therapy?
That the client or patient has to have some particular music ability to benefit from music therapy -- they do not. That there is one particular style of music that is more therapeutic than all the rest -- this is not the case. All styles of music can be useful in effecting change in a client or patient's life.
~Adapted from American Music Therapy Association