All Kinds of News for July 12, 2017
Several aspects of the psychiatric treatment program make Skyland Trail an effective and welcoming environment for LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgendered, Queer or Questioning) adults – including cisgender, transgender, agender, genderqueer, and gender questioning individuals – who are experiencing mental illness.
Foremost is the treatment philosophy of Skyland Trail. Patients are encouraged to define their own values and establish their own goals. The clinical team then helps each patient identify the best strategies for living a life true to their values, staying healthy, and achieving identified goals. Those strategies include an individualized mix of medications, stress management, skills building, nutrition and healthy living education, cognitive training and social skills development.
Some patients are comfortable with their gender identity, gender expression, and/or sexual orientation. That’s just part of who they are, and it’s not an issue. In that case, Skyland Trail will help the patient address the psychiatric symptoms and challenges that are causing them pain or disability, including anxiety, depression, suicidal thoughts, impulsivity, or self-harming behaviors while reaffirming their self identity.
Other patients may still be exploring their identity and how they express themselves in terms of gender or sexual orientation. They may be experiencing anxiety, depression, or other mental health symptoms as a result of that exploration, either from an internal conflict or from stress imposed by their environment - for example from their relationships or from barriers preventing them from participating fully in their community. We support these patients as they explore these questions. Skyland Trail helps them build skills to manage stress and conflict as well as the resilience needed to live the life they choose.
Another important element of our treatment program is our commitment to ongoing education and training for our clinical professionals. As needs are identified in the client population, the clinical team works to find the best evidence-based strategies to address those needs. Our clinical team has received training on supporting LGBTQQIAAP individuals and meeting therapeutic needs that may be unique. For example, Skyland Trail psychiatrists are comfortable and have experience managing medications and conducting psychotherapy with individuals who are also taking hormone therapy. The weekly schedule includes a group specifically for LGBTQQIAAP clients. Skyland Trail also has taken steps to make our facilities more welcoming, offering all-gender restrooms.
Beyond the relationship with individual patients, the holistic approach at Skyland Trail includes family therapy. Family therapy can be helpful for all patients, and may include therapy with biological family members or chosen family members. While in treatment, patients work hard to change their unhealthy thought and behavior patterns and adopt new perspectives and skills. If they return home to an environment that continues to reinforce the old unhealthy patterns, clients face a greater challenge in sustaining their recovery. Family therapy can help change the family dynamic and improve communication so that families can better support one another and prevent conflict and relapse.
Finally, Skyland Trail includes humanitarianism as a key element of our treatment program and healing community. For someone dealing with a mental illness, it can be difficult to shift your focus outside of yourself to instead focus on what you can do to help others or how you can contribute to your community. Skyland Trail emphasizes the importance of showing kindness and practicing empathy. This creates a welcoming community of peers for all of clients; they are met with empathy and acceptance. The focus on humanitarianism also is therapeutic. By practicing empathy and engaging in purposeful activities, patients help redefine their place in their world and discover the value they add to their communities.
Skyland Trail offers expert psychiatric care and a holistic path to wellness. Each week, patients participate in a structured schedule of evidence-based therapeutic groups matched to their diagnosis and symptoms, as well as groups focused on creative expression, healthy living, social skills, and community engagement. No matter where patients view themselves on a spectrum of gender or sexual orientation, if they are struggling with mental illness, Skyland Trail can help them grow, recover and live a life worth living.