Offering Intensive Care for Mental Health

Dr. Kimberly Shapiro

Patients find their way to Providence Mission Hospital’s Partial Hospitalization Program through a variety of routes, says Kimberly Shapiro, MD, medical director of Outpatient Behavioral Health Services. Some come from an inpatient psychiatric stay, some are referred by their primary care physician or therapist, others are sent by family or come on their own. But all have one thing in common, which is that they are struggling with their mental health.

Dr. Shapiro, a psychiatrist who is certified by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology, explains, “Our patients need more support than a monthly psychiatrist appointment and weekly therapy appointment can provide.” She says that the program, which patients attend for three to six hours per day, is built around group therapy, including cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT). Patients receive psychiatric medication management throughout the day and typically participate in the program for six to eight weeks. They stay at their homes at night and on weekends.

While the program treats a range of psychiatric conditions, the most common are major depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and schizophrenia.

“We also see panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and borderline personality disorder, and many of our program’s participants also need help fighting drug and alcohol use,” says Dr. Shapiro.

A typical day includes three group therapy sessions before lunch (provided by the hospital) and three sessions after. Groups of about 10 people focus on things like setting boundaries, better communication, managing codependency and understanding grief and loss. Monday begins with goal-setting and Friday ends with a review of those goals.

While the main program is for adults, Providence Mission offers a similar after-school program for teens (ages 12 to 17), a track for young adults (ages 18 to 26) and a virtual intensive outpatient program for pregnant women and new mothers, up to one year after they’ve given birth.

As patients get better they are referred to a local psychiatrist or therapist. Graduating from the program means the patient is showing “a significant reduction in psychiatric symptoms, improved understanding of their mental health condition and a well-rounded tool kit of skills to maintain psychiatric stability,” says Dr. Shapiro.

For more information or to schedule an assessment, call 949-499-7504.

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