Psychotherapeutic Services and Programs
Therapeutic services at The Spirit of Gheel constitute the core of all our programs, and all that we do as a therapeutic community. While there is no cure for serious and persistent mental illness, we do believe that it is possible for people to reach a state of well-being. It is the intention of all of our programming to create a reparative, therapeutic environment in which healing is actively promoted in every hour of every day.
- Group Therapy – The therapy groups meet twice a week at each facility and are facilitated by our Clinical Director. Groups are designed to enable the “friends” to comfortably share individual challenges they may be facing and discuss positive coping strategies, as well as to promote mutual problem-solving in regard to interpersonal and/or community living issues that may arise.
- Case Management – Case Management refers to individualized staff assistance in completing instrumental activities of daily living apart from daily programming, e.g., shopping, money management, negotiating public transportation, utilizing community resources, pursuing volunteer or part-time employment opportunities. “Friends” who desire or are in need of such services are assigned a Case Manager who works closely with each resident to develop a unique, personalized case management plan and schedule.
- Individual Psychotherapy – Individual psychotherapy is available to “friends” through services offered by professionals who work independently of The Spirit of Gheel. While Gheel staff will facilitate securing services from these practitioners, and will provide transportation as needed, all fees for these services are strictly the responsibility of the “friend” or “friend’s” designated payer.
- Psychiatric Services – Our Medical Director is a licensed psychiatrist who meets with each “friend” at least once a month for an in-depth review of psychiatric status and medication effectiveness. Our Medical Director/Psychiatrist is trained as a clinician and is committed to understanding the complexity of the dilemmas and challenges experienced by each “friend.” Our Medical Director is on-site every other week and is available to us by phone at all times. All “friends” at their discretion may choose to receive psychiatric services from independent licensed providers outside The Spirit of Gheel. In such cases, all fees for service are strictly the responsibility of the “friend” or “friend’s” designated payer.
- Community Meetings – Community Meeting occurs weekly and comprises a gathering of all “friends” and staff from both facilities to discuss matters of importance to members of the community, as well as to announce special program activities/events and to schedule weekend outings. The venue for community meetings rotates between Gheel House and Buttonwood Farm on a weekly basis.
- Expressive arts – “Friends” are encouraged to participate in various forms of artistic self expression. Our morning art therapy program offers a forum for unique self expression. The artistic endeavors use a variety of mediums to assist the “friend” in expressing psychotherapeutic themes of relevance to them, as well as encouraging them to creatively express themselves through means previously unknown or unavailable to them. The expressive art program utilizes media as diverse as reading/literature, paper-making, painting, candle making, sculpting, fabric printing, and mosaics. The instructor’s goal is always to assist the “friends” in finding their own means of creative expression, and to help them expand the “lens” through which they view themselves and the world.
- Music – Music is widely regarded as a compelling medium for self expression. Through the effects of melody, harmony and lyrics, music has the unique capacity to integrate thoughts/feelings experienced as intensely personal with themes that are universally experienced and shared. This, together with its impelling quality to induce physical movement and stimulate memories of past experiences and significant relationships, makes music an ideal medium for therapeutic activities. As such, music groups are offered weekly for the “friends” at both facilities, and focus on both the personal and socially shared features of musical expression. These groups are facilitated by a professional musician who is also a regular staff member of The Spirit of Gheel.
Outings, YMCA and Library
Involvement in the community at large is an important component of our therapeutic programming. To this end, we identify activities/events of interest in the surrounding area and provide regularly scheduled transportation to and from such activities every weekend, with additional shorter outings on selected weekday afternoons. We maintain a group membership with the local YMCA which confers access for all “friends” to most of its facilities including swimming, walking tracks, and exercise equipment. “Friends” may also avail themselves of the full facilities and services of the nearby Phoenixville library.
“Friends” and staff are both encouraged to participate in our weekly Yoga-inspired exercise sessions. Based on the practices of Hatha Yoga, this weekly class focuses on stretching and breathing to facilitate relaxation and mental “centeredness.” No prior experience or physical fitness level is required to participate; the class is designed to accommodate to the needs of the individual.
In addition to our residential facilities, we offer a Transitional Living Program. This program is designed to enable appropriate “friends” the opportunity to live independently in a nearby community while still receiving supportive services through our Case Management system. The level of case management and services received are “menu” driven and determined by the needs and interests of each individual. In practice this means that residents who live in apartments off campus may choose which services and residential program activities will be useful to them. Program costs are individualized based on the level of care and services purchased under this plan, The types of additional services often purchased under this plan include medication management, menu and budget planning, and vocational counseling.