Is psychiatric rehabilitation worthwhile?
September 19, 2016 12:49 PM   Subscribe

I have a chance to add psych rehab to my mental health treatment, at no cost. Seems like a no brainer, but I'm not entirely sure it would be worth it for me.

I am currently undergoing treatment for decades-long severe depression and anxiety; I have both a great therapist and a great psychiatrist, so that's covered.

At our last session. my therapist mentioned a psych rehab program that could be of use to me. I don't have a lot of details yet, but the program offers one on one and group help with life skills, such as budgeting and the like.

I'm hoping some AskMe folks have used psych rehab, and would really like to hear about your experience. If anyone has worked for such a program, I'd love to hear that perspective, too.

What was your experience like? What was the most useful aspect? The least? Any tips on getting the most out of it?
posted by Archipelago to Health & Fitness (4 answers total)
There's a lot of variation. Inpatient programs are really different from intensive outpatient programs, which are really different from once-or-twice-a-week therapy/skills groups. Programs where most people are there voluntarily are really different from ones where most people are there by court order. Programs that focus on a specific psych diagnosis are really different from all-purpose mental-health-and-addiction-recovery programs.

Running a therapy group is a skill. Some people are excellent at it, some are not so good.

I guess one thing that's been consistent in my experience that inpatient and intensive outpatient programs are most useful when you are in an honest-to-goodness psychiatric crisis. If you're having a hard time keeping yourself from spiralling out of control from one minute to the next, they will do an excellent job of watching you and keeping you safe, and they will give you a structured schedule with lots of opportunities to check in and let people know how you're doing. When you're not actively in crisis, all that stuff can feel … frustrating, and tedious, and honestly even kind of insulting. It's a little bit like a kindergarten for grownups.

But my sample size is pretty small — four inpatient hospitalizations, one intensive outpatient program. There may well be programs that aren't like that.
posted by nebulawindphone at 2:21 PM on September 19, 2016

It really depends. I have a very particular set of issues. I've had excellent care across all forms of treatment and poor care across all forms of treatment depending on stability, ability to communicate my needs, a good fit for the program, ability to take in new information. Sometimes I just was not in the population they were treating but it was the closest thing. Sometimes lack of funds, resources and location have made a difference.

I do know when I've worked with others, searched for things they thought i needed and made informed decisions I've gotten the best results.
posted by AlexiaSky at 6:01 PM on September 19, 2016 [1 favorite]

If it is free and your therapist suggested it, sign up and check it out.

If the program is focused on life skills, there should be an intake or assessment where they figure what needs YOU might have and then help you build those skills. A "one-size fits all" program where there they just go through a curriculum of talking the same to everyone about the same skills would may not be useful.

(I come from a psych background but am a pretty strong behaviorist. Part of my job is that I teach and supervise teachers who teach young adults with Aspergers about life skills. If you want me to share some of our resources MeMail me. You said you aren't a person with Aspergers but life skills are life skills and some of our resources may be of use to you?)
posted by ITravelMontana at 6:27 PM on September 19, 2016 [1 favorite]

I'm a therapist and about to do a training for psych rehab. What excites me about the program is that it's very recovery-oriented -- it's working from the assumption that people with mental health issues should lead meaningful lives, not just lives where they don't have psychiatric relapses. As with everything, I'm sure there are huge variations in the quality of the programs, but if it were me, I'd sign up and judge after trying it for a bit.
posted by lazuli at 9:47 PM on September 19, 2016 [1 favorite]

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