Residential Treatment

Residential Treatment:

Rogers is a comprehensive psychiatric hospital, nationally recognized for specialty residential treatment programs for eating disorders, addiction, obsessive-compulsive disorder and anxiety disorders for children, teens and adults.

Life. Worth. Living.

December 1, 2015 - 7:55am

Michael M. Miller, MD, medical director of the Herrington Recovery Center at Rogers Memorial Hospital and attending physician for the adult dual diagnosis partial hospitalization program at Rogers’ new Silver Lake Outpatient Center in Oconomowoc, has served a leadership role in the research and writing process of the American Society of Addiction Medicine’s (ASAM) new policy statement on marijuana, cannabinoids and legalization. The statement was written to inform Congress, the media, the general public and especially physicians and other healthcare professionals about cannabis and cannabis products and the health impact of expanded access to these substances.

Taking several months to draft, the policy statement addresses the most recent research from medical science on the potential positive and negative health effects of marijuana use, the climate of the current national debate over legalization, the differences between policy initiatives of decriminalization and full legalization, and possible future public health and safety measures.

As more states begin legalizing marijuana use for medicinal or recreational purposes, some public leaders believe there are no reasonable arguments to limit the public’s access to marijuana and they look to legal, commercial sale as a means of generating tax revenues. The writing committee that Dr. Miller led and the Board of Directors of ASAM sought to inform decision-makers that there are potential harms that they and the society believe require further research and cannot be ignored. 

“This new policy this can help educate young people, parents and others that America’s relationship with marijuana are more benign than is justified by the medical facts,” he says.

Dr. Miller strove to assure balance in the document to provide an accurate account of the medical and psychiatric actions of cannabinoids including THC, cannabidiol and synthetic cannabinoids, as well as the potential health consequences of expanded access, especially for youth.

“This policy might be useful as a patient education document in any clinical setting where persons with addiction or psychiatric conditions are receiving treatment.” Besides the possibility of developing an addiction, several long-term health effects of marijuana use have been documented, including adverse psychiatric effects, such as impairment of motivation and learning. “Identifying at-risk groups is an important prevention strategy. Children and adolescents are particularly vulnerable to health risks and they should not use these products,” says Dr. Miller.

With an extensive history of providing addiction treatment, Dr. Miller was able to add another experienced medical opinion to the committee. Other members of the writing team were Norman Wetterau, MD, the president of the New York Society of Addiction Medicine, and Jeff Wilkins, MD, the past president of the California Society of Addiction Medicine. “It was an honor to be asked to take the lead in drafting a document that we expect will be referenced quite often. I have known each of my colleagues in the writing team for a number of years, but this was one of our closest and most important collaborations,” he says.

Rogers provides comprehensive, evidence-based treatment for individuals suffering from cannabis use disorder as well as a wide range of psychiatric conditions and other aspects of substance abuse or drug addiction.

November 19, 2015 - 9:21am

Now approaching its first anniversary of providing comprehensive residential programming to adolescent girls, Nashotah has proven to be a valuable service to patients from all across the United States who are ready to make real change. Serving about 50 patients in its opening year, the program helps young women improve their personal safety and quality of life by validating their emotions which may lead to dangerous behaviors and teaching skills to help them express their genuine feelings. While in treatment, the safety risks associated with emotional dyregulation are decreased and preventative measures are used to to help many of the girls who are at risk of developing personality disorders.

“Oftentimes, the families of the girls in Nashotah have a hard time understanding how their daughter can have strong, unexplainable emotions or not act like themselves,” says Erik Ulland, MD, medical director of Nashotah. “Families may think that their child is intentionally trying to be manipulative or controlling, when in reality they are actually feeling these emotions and can even feel ashamed for it.”

 The goal of the Nashotah program is to practice dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) the way it was originally designed to assure girls achieve the greatest gains possible. Clinicians were trained by Marsha Linehan’s Behavioral Tech, and follow all required components of DBT. Girls in Nashotah are self-motivated and have spent an average of 60 days in treatment in Nashotah’s first year. When in programming, they work towards becoming comfortable with expressing genuine vulnerability, instead of expressing less genuine emotions that feel less intense. 

There is a considerable focus on mindfulness within the program, which is the core skill of DBT. It is explained as being aware of the current moment in one’s body and senses—observing, and describing events nonjudgmentally. Without mindfulness, one does not have choice. Girls in the program work on their private journeys, but find comfort in knowing that others are working towards similar goals.

The program also emphasizes the importance of active family involvement and that all patients, staff and families follow the therapy guidelines of DBT. Dr. Ulland explains that when adolescent girls seek treatment for emotional dysregulation before becoming young adults, they have a greater likelihood of creating behaviorally healthy lives. “When these young women receive early programming, our treatment in Nashotah can even be preventative—protecting a patient from developing depression or more severe symptoms down the road.” 

When leaving the program, many patients self-report significant gains across the board and are able to reduce their symptoms. “It’s been clear that this program doesn’t just help someone’s daughter, it may allow parents to be able to connect with their child in a way that they may not have been able to for a year or more,” says Dr. Ulland.

He also has hopes for Nashotah in the years to come, “In the future, it will be very helpful to collect data on how well these young women have been able to maintain their skills learned in the program. If they and their families have continued practicing mindfulness, I believe that they will be have more successful lives and reach their potentials.”

November 19, 2015 - 8:56am

Offering young adults with depression or other mood disorders specialized residential programming since February of 2014, FOCUS in Oconomowoc, WI, has created a pattern of positive patient outcomes. Recently, the program added a second track for adults over 30 years old. 

“Though the program is still fairly young and our results are unpublished, most of our patients have shown significant improvement,” says Rachel Leonard, PhD, clinical supervisor of FOCUS. “We still need to do more research and we are continuing to do so, but our initial results show many of our patients have experienced significant reduction in symptoms of depression and anxiety.”

In the program’s first year, the treatment team has refined their process. “This program has grown from targeting six young adults initially, to now targeting 21 young adults and soon up to 11 adults over 30. As we have grown, we have worked to ensure that we offer consistent messaging, interventions and structure across FOCUS—which improves communication not only among the treatment team, but to our patients as well,” she notes.

FOCUS was created to fill a gap in residential programming. The team has gained a greater understanding of who may benefit from this treatment model. “As we’ve gained experience treating young adults in this program, we’ve found that these treatment strategies could benefit a wider range of people that includes older adults and now we’re taking that next step,” says Dr. Leonard.

As the program became more well-known, it was clear that referring clinical professionals and older adults were in need of similar programming for adults over 30. “We’ve found that some of our young adults who may have experienced ‘failure to launch’ had many of the same symptoms as some older adults with depression and anxiety. The same treatment model would be beneficial for them as well, with some minor adjustments. These older adults may not necessarily be experiencing ‘failure to launch,’ but their depression or anxiety could be making their lives take a turn for the worse.”

Dr. Leonard explains that the two age groups benefit from receiving programming in separate tracks. “Patients are more comfortable in a group that they can relate to. It can be difficult for adults over 30 to connect with someone who is having difficulty navigating college or their first job.”

Based on the program’s early positive results and response from the clinical field, the future of FOCUS looks promising. “We’re excited to begin serving a new population of adults in our program and it will be great to feel confident that we will be able to help more individuals get back to living more fulfilling lives.”

November 6, 2015 - 8:48am

Biz Times Nonprofit of the YearAfter securing one of three finalist positions for the 2015 BizTimes Large Nonprofit Organization of the Year, Rogers Memorial Hospital was awarded this honor at the BizTimes Nonprofit Excellence Awards at Potowatomi Hotel and Casino in Milwaukee. The award—which is granted to a small and large nonprofit organization in southeastern Wisconsin—acknowledges the winner’s exemplary dedication to their mission and their community’s well-being, exceptional structural sustainability and teamwork, as well as superior organizational skills in management and operations.

Four hundred award nominees, nonprofit advisors and a committee of BizTimes’ editorial team members attended the event. Members of Rogers’ administration and leadership represented Rogers Memorial Hospital during the ceremony and joined other local nonprofits, for-profits and volunteers in the community celebration. 

“To be honored as a finalist and then go on to win the BizTimes’ Large Nonprofit of the Year award is a wonderful accomplishment for our organization,” says Paul Mueller, CEO of Rogers Memorial Hospital, “It shows that we are fulfilling our mission and the community recognizes our dedication to providing the best behavioral healthcare possible to those in need.”

November 3, 2015 - 8:30am

Representatives of Rogers Behavioral Health will offer their clinical expertise at the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies’ (ABCT) 49th Annual Convention, which is being held November 12-15 in Chicago, Illinois.

Members of Rogers’ clinical staff will collaborate with some of the nation’s leading behavioral health professionals in six symposiums, six poster sessions, four panel discussions, two meetings and one workshop. Rogers’ contributors include:

Their complete schedule for the annual convention is available online.

The event serves as a valuable opportunity for Rogers’ specialists to share their data, research and clinical opinions on a national stage, as well as to gather some of the most recent scientific findings in the field from their peers. An assemblage of innovative thinkers, the annual convention informs today’s clinical practice and encourages the continued use of cognitive and behavioral mechanisms.

October 21, 2015 - 9:26am

In the past few years, it seems as though everyone is “eating green” or only “all-organic” food. Although there are many health benefits to this new trend towards “clean-eating,” there is a point when the practice can take over a person’s life and become damaging to their behavioral health. Related to eating disorders, orthorexia nervosa is a condition in which a person has obsessive behaviors, which may include: self-induced dietetic limitations and preparing and eating food in a ritual-like manner, all to achieve and maintain a “pure” diet.

David Jacobi, PhD, clinical supervisor of the Eating Disorder Center at Rogers Memorial Hospital, says, “Unlike anorexia nervosa, or anorexia as it is most commonly known, people with orthorexia nervosa are less focused on losing weight and are more concerned with consuming chemical-free food.” This fear stems from intrusive thoughts which may revolve around the theme that a person’s food was contaminated by fertilizers, tainted during processing or that a preparer is going to contaminate the meal.

Sometimes, a person with orthorexia nervosa spends so much of their time focused on their food, that they have no time left over for their relationships with friends or family, which can lead a person to become socially isolated. “Orthorexia nervosa can take up much of a person’s time because they often feel they have to avoid certain restaurants, brands at the grocery store or even personally watch their food’s entire preparation process out of fear that their food will be contaminated,” says Dr. Jacobi.

This obsession over food’s preparation process has striking similarities to the level of obsession found in some people with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). “OCD and eating disorders, such as orthorexia nervosa, are characterized by unwanted thoughts, or in this case, unwanted fear of contamination, which generate a high level of anxiety.”

A fear of contamination is also a symptom a person with OCD may experience, with fears of germs. When a person has OCD, they may perform mental or behavioral acts to neutralize their unwanted thoughts or anxiety. A person with orthorexia nervosa may use certain behaviors to compensate for their food-related fears. “Similar to a person’s ritualistic acts typically associated with OCD, what we call compensatory behaviors—including obsessively seeking a pure diet—is a way for a person with orthorexia nervosa to counter their anxiety.”

There is often a “magical” quality to many of the rituals performed by those with OCD and orthorexia nervosa. Dr. Jacobi says, “People with OCD will often perform rituals to prevent themselves or others from harm. If they fail to perform these rituals, some believe a catastrophic event will occur. For some people with orthorexia nervosa, they believe eating the ‘right’ foods will protect their health and choosing to end their ritual behavior will most likely affect them negatively.”

So how do you know if you or someone you know may be taking their healthy eating to an unhealthy extreme? “It’s a good idea to consider seeking professional help if your behaviors or the behaviors of someone you know are taking away from regular functioning,” says Dr. Jacobi.

October 12, 2015 - 8:19am

October 11-17 is International OCD Awareness Week, an observance founded by the International OCD Foundation (IOCDF). Now in its sixth year, International OCD Awareness Week was created to improve public understanding of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD), and increase timely access to care and behavioral health treatment.

Currently in the United States, over two million adults and 500,000 children suffer from OCD symptoms. Rogers InHealth, the advocacy arm of Rogers Behavioral Health which helps reduce mental health stigma in our communities, shares personal stories offered by those with mental illness to help empower others and highlight that symptom reduction is possible. Rogers InHealth also combats misconceptions on OCD and other mental illnesses by offering presentations and conducting other community work in schools and workplaces.

One person who shared their experience at Rogers said, “You will face challenges and hard days ahead, but every minute is worth the healing your child and family will experience. We encourage you and your child not to be discouraged by difficult days. Trust the process. Progress really is being made.”

Rogers Behavioral Health strives to meet the need for OCD and related anxiety disorder programming present in specific communities by providing quality care to those locations. Since the last International OCD Awareness Week, Rogers has increased access to specialized outpatient care. Recently, Rogers began providing services in Appleton, WI, and has also opened regional locations in Skokie, IL, and Nashville, TN since the last international observance.

September 28, 2015 - 8:57am

Just in time for World Suicide Awareness Day, “A Day for Grace,” a mixed musical/monologue performance targeted the harsh reality of suicide that affects many. Whether a family member or friend of someone who has committed suicide, someone who has had suicidal thoughts or attempts— or even someone that has no connection to suicide, it was clear that all participants and spectators in the performance were deeply moved by this emotional experience at the Oconomowoc Arts Center.

Sam Llanas, formerly of the BoDeans, performed original music on his guitar and sang powerful lyrics inspired by his personal encounter with suicide as a young child. Llanas shared the stage with playwright and lead actor: Doug Vincent. Vincent skillfully played many characters throughout the performance which showed how the effects of alcoholism, depression, abuse and suicide affect all of a person’s relationships and can cause problems later in life if not addressed. Vincent’s main character, which portrayed his own life story, bravely revealed his struggles with becoming a new father, which stemmed mostly from his personal story involving suicide.

After the stirring monologue and musical accompaniment, four mental health-related professionals participated in a panel and offered their own comments on the performance and addressed the audience’s questions and personal stories. Chad Wetterneck, PhD, clinical supervisor, said, “What really struck me about the performance was that I found myself wanting to distract myself during the emotional portions by multitasking. My impulse was to grab my phone to avoid getting emotional during the intense moments of the performance. But then I realized that I wasn’t following my own advice to my patients. I ask them to be able to express and honor their own emotions, not mask them like my initial reaction. For many people, there never seems to be an ideal time to let emotions come out, so they get bottled up and become problematic.”

After hearing Dr. Wetterneck’s input on the monologue, an audience member responded, “I’ve notice that a lot of men feel that aren’t able to cry or express their emotions out of fear of being seen as a weak person. But from my own experience, I found incredible strength in my tears and realized that they’re actually a powerful catalyst for healing.”

“A Day for Grace” was a special event for all who were involved in the production and all who were a part of the audience. Thanks to the artistic talents of the production team, the entire group shared a common experience in the performance and found a mutual place of understanding after the show. Even though each person has seen a different face of suicide, each person understood one another’s incredible pain and strength to carry on though life’s struggles. Ending on a hopeful note, Vincent’s main character said, “It hurts… and we move to the next moment…as we should.”

September 17, 2015 - 1:40pm

HRC Rooftop gardenRecognizing the connection between the soul and our surroundings, a different kind of specialist is hard at work at the Herrington Recovery Center at Rogers Memorial Hospital during National Recovery Month, focused on revitalizing a rooftop garden which has become a part of the recovery process at this residential treatment program.

Charles Wepfer, gardener at Rogers’ Oconomowoc location, is applying his expertise to help transform the garden into something that better meets the needs of patients and staff. That includes adding plants that are more suitable for the rooftop garden’s purposes, such as varieties of grasses and perennials from the gardens located in the front yard of the main hospital.

“Right now we are focusing on removing invasive species that have overtaken the garden and creating a design plan that includes plants that will be able to withstand the conditions, yet still be soft to the touch so they can play an active role in the patient’s healing process,” he says.

The rooftop garden was originally constructed one year after Herrington was built in 2009, based off a vision created by Rogers’ staff and supported by the Herrington McBride Alumni Association. The association offered feedback for the garden’s design, including a 12-step walkway to represent the 12 steps of the recovery process, which was added to the garden this past year.

The walkway was purposefully designed in a way that leaves the first four steps clearly visible, representing the relative ease of finding support in the first few steps of recovery. The rest of the steps are partially hidden by plant life and are symbolic of the challenge of the rest of the journey. Bob O., a member of the Herrington McBride Alumni Association and contributor to the garden’s original vision, says, “The hidden steps reflect the idea that patients in the process of addiction recovery must thoroughly follow the path in order to be successful in their daily recovery. Not every part of the journey will be easily seen or understood, but it’s important for them to continue on the path.”

The current project to clean up the plantings will take some time. “The species is aggressive and multiplies easily. Our goal is to have the species totally removed by this spring,” says Wepfer.

Graduation celebrations from the program, outdoor yoga sessions and group reflections are the current uses for the garden. Cindy Suszek, LPC, manager of the Herrington Recovery Center, says, “We are looking forward to these updates to the rooftop garden because it is such a valuable addition to our addiction programs. It’s easy to see that nature has a powerful part in reconnecting a person’s mind, body and spirit.”

Each September, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Association (SAMHSA) sponsors National Recovery Month, an observance to raise understanding about mental health and substance abuse issues, as well as to celebrate those people who find recovery.

September 10, 2015 - 3:04pm

Starting in infancy, children mimic their parents’ actions, speech and beliefs, whether good or bad. Studies show that the same goes for parents’ stigma about mental health. Parents’ attitudes toward seeking mental health treatment are a factor in their child’s intentions to pursue psychological help (Vogel, et al., 2009). In other words, if you, as a parent, have a negative view about people with mental health concerns, your child is less likely to speak up about their own mental health. Failing to address a child’s mental health may be extremely harmful and the affects may carry on into adulthood.

Although you may not be aware of the negative perceptions that you carry with you, you may be surprised about what your children can pick up on. According to Graham C.L. Davey, PhD, “mental health problems are held by a broad range of individuals within society, regardless of whether they know someone with a mental health problem, have a family member with a mental health problem, or have a good knowledge and experience of mental health problems” (Crisp et al., 2000; Moses, 2010, Wallace, 2010).

Parents are also more comfortable talking about physical health concerns than they are about mental health (Locke & Eichorn, 2008). Parents may feel safer casually bringing up their child’s broken arm in conversation than they are about their child’s depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), or other mental health concern—which means the child probably is too! This stigma is not only harmful to the child’s view of themselves, but to the parent’s support system as well. Since mental health affects an entire family, each member of the family should have a safe network to discuss mental health.

So how do you, as a parent, create a comfortable environment for your child to talk about mental health? One answer is to communicate with them early and often about mental health. If checking in with your child on their thoughts, emotions and behavior becomes more regular, the less likely they will feel awkward or scared to come to you when they need help.

Frequent communication between parents and children increases the likelihood that the child will be referred to counseling and intervention if necessary, as well as increasing their comfort in discussing drugs, alcohol, eating disorders and suicidal thoughts. Children are also more likely to be referred to treatment if parents are knowledgeable about mental health and symptoms and don’t view mental health concerns as a sign of failure.

The bottom line is that parents’ and guardians’ misperceptions may determine whether their child can achieve mental health and a life worth living. Rogers InHealth works to reduce mental health stigma in the community by sharing personal stories, working with teachers, workplaces and families to change misconceptions about mental health.


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