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STABILIZATION, GROUNDING AND RESILIENCY PROGRAM 

6-12 Month Individualized Program

 

Introduction

The Stabilization, Grounding and Resiliency Building Program is a 6-12 month individualized program that has been developed to help clients/family who are new to the therapeutic process, who are suffering from Complex Trauma or who have difficulties with self-regulation. The program can also be offered to client who have multiple diagnoses such as PTSD, pain and other chronic medical or psychiatric conditions.

 

The program is designed to be offered to individual clients in a multidisciplinary fashion, offering a wide variety of practical skills that are based on trauma-informed treatment of PTSD. The program is also based on the meta-model for treatment of complex trauma as developed by Janet in1889 and refined by Herman in 1992. In this model, a three-phase approach to treatment is carefully sequenced to support healing in clients.

 

The present program fits within the Safety and Stabilization Phase (Phase 1) of this trauma-informed model and includes education about PTSD, focuses on management of arousal states and creates a safe therapeutic setting that prepares clients for the more involved processing of trauma that will be dealt with in Phase 2 of treatment (this phase of treatment is undertaken with a psychologist/clinical social worker).

Clients will be assessed for the program on an individual needs basis by a primary psychologist and overseen throughout the program by a psychologist and an occupational therapist.  The specific services outlined below will be offered by professional treatment team at Serene View Ranch and supervised by a clinical psychologist.

 

The program will be tailored to the individual needs of the clients, will be flexible both in timeline and treatment approach and offered over a 6-12 month period. The following components may be part of the Grounding, Stabilization and Resiliency Building Program.

 

PTSD Psycho-Education

Introduction to the Psychology of Trauma. A five-session course introducing the basic concepts of trauma based on the Janina Fisher presentation. Topics covered include symptoms of PTSD and the neurobiological responses to trauma. Also included are widely accepted theories of psychological effects of trauma on development, coping and survival. In addition, models of PTSD treatment are reviewed.  This allows the client to contextualize their own behavior within the framework of these models and assist the client in setting goals for treatment with their primary therapist using a common vocabulary. 

Mental Health Occupational Therapy

Occupational Therapy is a profession that originated as a result of the world wars when returning wounded soldiers required occupation and activity to assist with their recoveries back to daily living roles. Occupational therapists are uniquely suited to meet this objective as they support, assess and treat Veterans in their home, community, or place of work. They do this by identifying the Veteran’s strengths and current deficits in everyday activities and assist them to re-organize and re-integrate into wanted and expected roles and routines.

 

Biofeedback

Biofeedback training is a form of training offered to clients in order to help them measure physiological parameters of the nervous system, such as heart rate, muscle tension, temperature, respiration, skin conductance and brain waves.  By using these physiological signs as the source of feedback under the guidance of a trained therapist, clients will learn how to regulate their nervous system better, relax and improve their breathing efficiency.

Mindfulness Practices

Mindfulness is a widely accepted evidence-based treatment for veterans. Within the framework of the MBSR (Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction) program both formal and informal mindfulness practices are tailored to the client using a trauma sensitive mindfulness approach. Mindfulness has been identified as being effective for chronic pain, PTSD, OCD amongst other mental health diagnosis. Clients learn practices for self-regulation of both emotional states and physiological states through awareness.  Clients may also deepen their mindfulness practice by participating in the full eight-week MBSR Group Program.  Whether taught in individual sessions or used in tandem with all the therapies presented at Serene View Ranch mindfulness helps clients maintain mental wellness across the lifetime.

 

Yoga Therapy and Movement

Serene View Ranch offers Yoga Therpay as part of their adjunct services to help clients with complex trauma and PTSD and is part of the physical exercise component of the Grounding, Stabilization and Resiliency Program. More and more scientific research is being conducted on the benefits of Yoga for PTSD. Bessel Van Der Kolk, M.D. published the first study in 2014, titled “Yoga as an Adjunctive Therapy for PTSD”. He states that to treat PTSD without yoga is “unethical” (Van der Kolk, Podcast, 2016).

Yoga for PTSD includes gentle Yoga movements rooted in Somatics and breathing techniques that can be used off the Yoga mat. Somatic Yoga movements are a way to safely explore interoception using the mind-body connection. Becoming a witness to tension versus relaxation, habitual patterns of movement and sensations, allow the client to start noticing what their body needs so they can take care of it. They also help the client move out of chronic pain and into more day-to-day functional movement. 

Yoga therpay provides breathing techniques which allow us to take our breath under conscious control. Through practice, more efficient breathing patterns are created, which can help one improve physical, mental and emotional issues such as fatigue, muscles tension, anger, depression and anxiety.

For example, fast breathing stimulates the sympathetic nervous system (SNS), while slow breathing activates the parasympathetic nervous system (PNS). In a review of 16 studies published in the NCBI (National Center for Biotechnology Information), PTSD symptom severity is inversely associated with heart rate variability (HRV), which is closely related to the rate of breathing. Studies have suggested that breathing practices associated with Yoga may stimulate the vagus nerves and increase PNS activity and HRV, which may be associated with reduction of PTSD symptoms. 

Exercise and Mental Health

Through the support of a personal trainer(supervised by a mental health therapist), clients will be assessed and offered a custom tailored exercise regime that will support their mental health and their physical abilities.  Exercise being a natural and effective anti-anxiety and anti-depression treatment boosts physical and mental energy, enhances well-being through the release of endorphins and support a movement-based mindful practice.

Acupuncture 

Acupuncture is the centuries old practice of adjusting the energetic flow of the body and organs with the use of fine filiforme needles placed in specific locations along the limbs and body. When practiced by a licenced acupuncturist this treatment is both safe and relatively pain free. Acupuncture is commonly used to aid in pain management but is also becoming a popular way people are working through digestive disorders/fertility issues and mental health issues like anxiety and depression, PTSD and sleep problems. 

Safe and Sound Protocol 

An Occupational Therapist or a Registered Nurse trained in the iLs method would administer a five-day auditory intervention designed to reduce stress and auditory sensitivity while enhancing social engagement and resilience. iLs is based on the fact that we can change our brain – we can re-wire it through specific and repeated stimulation, a concept known as neuroplasticity. As in building strength and endurance with physical exercise, we are able to build neurological connections and synaptic activity at any age. We train for brain/body integration through a staged approach, starting with the fundamentals of sensory integration and then extending through more complex cognitive functions, including language, self-expression and social skills.

 

The premise behind the new multisensory program was that these combined modalities, when implemented on a repeated basis, would provide holistic brain training for improving cognition as well as emotional health. The iLs method integrates sound and movement to create a foundation for learning, attention, processing and behaviour.

 

Safe and Sound is used to achieve better attention, mental acuity and motor coordination:

• Focus & Sustained Concentration

• Balance & Coordination

• Multi-tasking: cognitive & motor

• Emotional Balance, Confidence

• Sensory & Cognitive Processing

• Listening

 

Mental Health Nutritional Consulting

Through the support of a nutritionist, clients will learn about the significant link between mental health and proper nutrition.  Topics such as identifying vitamin and mineral deficiencies that impact mental health, substances that aggravate anxiety/depression, feeding the brain the right food to optimize focus and performance and eating to improve sleep.

 

Yamuna Body Rolling

Yamuna Body Rolling is a self-treatment of anxiety and muscle tension through the use of body balls.  Initially developed for athletes, YBR has been adapted through the years to help persons increase body awareness and work on reducing pain, muscle tension and stress patterns that exist in clients.  In this part of the stabilization and grounding program, clients will be offered a wide variety of exercises aimed at working on relaxing the muscles connected to the vagus nerve and muscles typically associated with stress.

 

Arts-Based Therapy

From the Canadian Art Therapy Association: “Art therapy combines the creative process and psychotherapy, facilitating self-exploration and understanding. Using imagery, colour and shape as part of this creative therapeutic process, thoughts and feelings can be expressed that would otherwise be difficult to articulate.”

Previous experience making art is not required, and the art works are not judged or graded, but remain a source for private contemplation within the context of a safe therapeutic space. Being "good at art" is not necessary to benefit from art therapy.

A whole range of art materials are provided, and, depending on the needs and goals of the individual client, the art therapist may provide direction with the art-making process, or the client may engage in more spontaneous, expressive work. Though art therapy integrates learning art techniques and skills, the emphasis is on having an opportunity to express one’s inner world of images, thoughts, feelings, memories, and ideas.

Studies about art therapy consistently include clients reporting beneficial effects, such as more relaxation, externalization of memories and emotions into art work, less intrusive thoughts of traumatic experiences and more confidence in the future. Art therapy helps clients cope with loss, illness, and trauma, while building self-esteem and self-awareness.

Music Therpay 

Through the therapeutic relationship in Music Therapy, trust is developed and helps to create a positive and non-threatening environment that is completely focused on a client’s needs and well-being. Music Therapy provides an outlet for personal expression and intellectual enlightenment. It fosters participation and involvement, allowing a client to feel a sense of accomplishment and increase their confidence.  This then will help a client build the tools they need to help themselves throughout their life.

Triple P Parenting Program

This program can be added to the Stabilization and Grounding program when clients are parenting children or are care givers to children/grandchildren.  It is an introduction to the strategies of positive parenting and the Triple P parenting program.  Sessions focus on positive parenting, raising confident, competent children and helping children develop resiliency when facing challenges in life.

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