Wellness Blog

"Wellness is not the absence of illness but the presence of purpose in life; satisfying work and play, joyful relationships, a healthy body and environment— and happiness"

Wellness group provides non-traditional therapy for women

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Stairways Behavioral Health’s Assertive Community Treatment team – ACT—is living up to its acronymized name by helping a group of female clients actively improve their mental health by using a non-traditional series of hands-on therapy.

Fifteen women have had the opportunity to treat their illnesses in a holistic and casual setting by taking part in yoga, journaling and arts each week with the help of ACT team members. The program was designed for the group of female clients who had been resistant to traditional methods of therapy and had a history of trauma.

“Some of the female clients had been really struggling,” ACT supervisor Rochelle Youkers said. “We had been using traditional therapy with them but we were having crisis calls every week so we wanted to take a different approach.

“We got together and did some brainstorming and since we had staff with experience in exercise and diet as well as meditation, we thought this could be a good way to apply it.”

The group meets three times a week at BLOOM Collaborative beginning each Monday when clients participate in a mindful journaling session led by ACT peer specialist Stephanie Barto. On Wednesday, the group takes part in a yoga class taught by BLOOM yoga instructor Norine Gammon, while Friday is reserved for therapeutic arts sessions that Youkers and ACT mental health professional Deanna Ferraino lead.

The results have illustrated the effectiveness of the group meetings: among the clients who attend the groups, crisis calls have reduced, Youkers said.

Above all, the gatherings afford clients the opportunity to lower stress in a judgment-free environment and apply what they’ve learned to the rest of their lives.

“We socialize, talk about girl stuff,” Youkers said.

(Photos by Mark Fainstein)

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