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Residential Mental Health Facility and Therapeutic Community in Pennsylvania

Residential mental health facilities and long-term mental health facilities often focus on pathology, or what is not working in their residents’ lives. Our experience suggests that this approach may be counterproductive for promoting a sense of security and trust vital for individuals struggling with serious mental illnesses to “risk” practicing new ways of thinking and acting.

At Spirit of Gheel, Inc., a private, non-profit residential psychiatric therapeutic community in Pennsylvania, we believe it is possible for adults with serious and persistent mental illnesses to attain states of well-being in keeping with their unique strengths. To this end, we focus on facilitating treatment and living environments designed to empower our residents — whom we refer to as “friends” — to find their individual paths to wellness and recovery.

residential treatment mental illness PAOur long-term mental health facilities in the Pennsylvania countryside include two residential houses within easy walking distance of each other, connected by a covered bridge built in 1856. Gheel House and Buttonwood Farm are both licensed as Personal Care Homes by the PA Department of Human Services. Working farms, hiking trails, streams, and woodlands surround our properties. These idyllic settings, along with private rooms for each “friend” and an emphasis on healthy food and activities, contribute to making our campuses — in the words of a former resident — “rare gems” among residential mental health facilities in Pennsylvania.

Our therapeutic community and long-term mental health facility was founded in 1984 when followers of Rudolph Steiner’s humanitarian philosophy began assisting adults who struggled with mental illnesses. As our name suggests, we strive to reflect the compassionate, non-institutional care of the psychiatric therapeutic communities that have served the seriously mentally ill in Geel, Belgium for over 700 years.

As providers of residential treatment of mental illness in Pennsylvania our mission is to provide nurturant, compassionate mental health services aimed at helping our adult “friends” achieve their full potentials. We want them to feel secure, develop their strengths, build new skills, and define their unique paths to wellness and recovery which we recognize may vary according to the individual interests, strengths and backgrounds of our “friends.”

Like other long-term mental health facilities in PA, we offer a variety of therapy programs designed to support greater behavioral and emotional stability in the lives of our “friends.” These include art therapy, music therapy, psycho-education and social skills groups. Group therapy, case management and individualized daily living assistance, as well as full psychiatric services, are included in our therapeutic community services and programs.

Residential treatment of mental illness in our therapeutic community also includes preparing individuals for “real life.” We encourage and enable our “friends” to practice the life skills they will need for independent living. These proficiencies include exercising for wellness, utilizing resources in the surrounding community, planning menus, preparing meals, managing money, shopping, taking public transportation, and doing volunteer or part-time work as appropriate. These abilities may allow them to return to their home communities or move into our off-campus Transitional Living Program from our residential mental health facility.

If you are looking for a long-term mental health facility or residential treatment for mental illness for yourself, a loved one, or a client of your organization, please visit our Admissions page for residency criteria and costs, and contact us directly to discuss or inquire about our programs and admission process.  Our phone number is 610-495-7871, extension 216 and our email address is

At the Spirit of Gheel, Inc., we have successfully worked with “friends” 21 years and older with primary diagnoses of anxiety, bipolar disorder, major depressive disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, panic attacks, schizoaffective disorder, and schizophrenia, and who are consistently willing to take prescribed medications.  Unfortunately, we are unequipped to accommodate individuals who are physically or cognitively challenged, aggressive, actively suicidal, persistently manic, actively abusing any substance, requiring medical attention for eating disorders, or are non-compliant with prescribed medications.