Rogers Memorial Hospital is adding a new residential treatment program specifically designed to treat adolescent females, ages 13 to 17, who have intense, often painful emotions and difficulties managing interpersonal relationships.
“Teen girls are more likely to be biologically predisposed to intense emotion, leading to risk for anxiety, depression, self-harming behaviors, problems in relationships and a lower quality of life experience,” said Dr. Erik Johnston, medical director of child and adolescent inpatient services at Rogers Memorial Hospital-Oconomowoc. “Often their emotionally elevated state interferes with their ability to learn the skills they need to regulate their emotions. This just perpetuates these elevated emotions, leading to many problems. This program will provide struggling young women with skills such as mindfulness, acceptance and emotional regulation, as well as improved abilities in relationships.”
Named the Nashotah program, the new residential program integrates dialectical behavior therapy into all aspects of treatment. DBT is designed to teach participants how to change ineffective behavior and thinking as they gain more ability in emotion regulation. A core skill of mindfulness and acceptance is woven throughout treatment, leading to a middle path that allows the patient the ability to both accept they are doing the best they can, while acknowledging they can still try harder and change.
“Through DBT skills we want our patients to realize how to improve their lives once they are open to acceptance and change,” Ulland said. “Family involvement will also be an important part of this treatment. They will be learning alongside their girls and will be encouraged to use the same interpersonal and mindfulness skills the girls are mastering through the program. DBT is a therapy that is lived more than learned.”
The Nashotah program will offer a unique phased treatment system that starts with an orientation phase. As residents progress in treatment, they can move to a working phase and finally a commitment stage. This stage allows for residents to become a peer-coach for new girls entering the program.
Rogers has engaged with the Linehan Institute and Behavioral Tech LLC, both based in Seattle, for extensive training in DBT to support Nashotah and its other programming.
This is Rogers’ seventh residential program and second dedicated to adolescent mental health.