Luxury Mental Health Treatment: Examining the Value of Quality Care
When you are struggling with a mental health disorder, it can be hard to know where to turn. For many, luxury mental health treatment programs offer an alternative to inpatient hospitalization when outpatient care is not enough. By examining the benefits of these programs, you can gain a better understanding of what they have to offer and determine whether luxury mental health treatment is right for you.
When many people think about residential mental health treatment, they imagine stark, institutional, and authoritarian spaces popularized in decades past. They imagine the kind of facilities depicted in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and the countless other media representations that present a dark, dehumanizing picture of what in-patient care is like. Unfortunately, these images can prevent even those in serious psychiatric distress from seeking residential care for fear of what they may experience in treatment.
Sometimes, however, people seeking residential mental health treatment face barriers to care beyond the harsh world that many associate with such care. While the disappearance of institutions and rise of community-based treatment over the past four decades has had significant benefits, resources and opportunities for residential stays have also diminished dramatically, limiting the ability to find intensive treatment for those who need it. As Christine Montross writes in The New York Times, “[Patients] cycle between emergency hospitalizations and inadequate outpatient care,” never receiving the kind, quality, and intensity of treatment necessary for meaningful recovery. This leaves many feeling lost when it becomes clear that neither short-term hospitalization or outpatient care is adequate to resolve their psychiatric concerns.
It is in this environment that luxury mental health treatment has emerged, breaking down barriers created by both old and new approaches to psychiatric care. But what is luxury mental health treatment and is it really necessary? Does it have value beyond the seemingly superficial? By taking a closer look at these treatment programs, you can better determine if they will provide the right environment for your healing journey.
The Benefits of Luxury Mental Health Treatment
There is no firm definition of luxury mental health treatment, but it generally means a private residential treatment program that provides care in a comfortable environment rather than a hospital milieu. These programs can vary widely in treatment approach and quality and the term does not necessarily indicate a particular kind of care. However, the best luxury mental health treatment programs can have profound benefits for people struggling with mental illness. These include:
Program Size and Low Client-to-Staff Ratio
One of the areas where luxury mental health treatment programs tend to shine is in their program sizes and low client-to-staff ratios. Rather than having clinical and support staff stretched thin by a high patient population, these programs have the resources to stay small while providing significant support. Bridges to Recovery, for example, takes on only six clients at each facility while maintaining a full roster of psychiatrists, psychologists, specialized therapists, and support staff. This allows each client to receive the individual attention and care they need to optimize healing throughout the treatment process. It also allows for a high level of privacy and helps you avoid the busyness inherent to many in-patient treatment programs, eliminating unnecessary stress.
Accurate diagnosis is critical to correctly identifying the nature of distress and formulating an effective treatment plan that fosters true recovery. Unfortunately, many patients in outpatient and short-term in-patient settings never participate in the kind of full psychological assessment necessary to gain a complete picture of a person’s mental wellbeing. This may lead to misdiagnosis and missed diagnosis, compromising your ability to heal and potentially subjecting you to harmful treatment. A high-quality residential treatment program, however, will prioritize the assessment process and begin each treatment stay with a comprehensive look at psychiatric health.
The diagnostic process should include a variety of diagnostic tools designed to evaluate emotional, cognitive, social, and vocational functioning. This will include a battery of psychological tests along with clinical interviews and, if appropriate, input from loved ones. If the standard assessment process is not adequate to produce diagnostic clarity, a luxury mental health treatment program should order additional evaluations to gain greater insight. This process is made possible in part by the fact that luxury mental health treatment programs have more resources to devote to each client than those available in typical in-patient programs. Additionally, the residential environment itself allows for sustained contact and continuous monitoring in a way that is not possible in outpatient treatment, providing further opportunities for diagnostic refinement. This ensures that even complex diagnoses can be made confidently and treatment can be targeted toward your full range of symptoms.
Depth, Breadth, and Individuality of Treatment
Over the past several decades, research has shown again and again that combination therapy is superior to monotherapy in the treatment of mental health disorders; typically, this means that clients who receive both pharmacotherapy and evidence-based psychotherapy have better outcomes than those who receive only one or the other, even in disorders in which medication is a cornerstone of treatment. As Dr. Manatosh Dewan notes, this is in part because “biological symptoms generally respond better to medications, whereas psychological symptoms and interpersonal deficits are more effectively treated by psychotherapy.” Additionally, pharmacotherapy can create the psychological tranquility necessary to more fully participate in the psychotherapeutic process in order to make real, sustainable emotional and behavioral changes. Thus, combination therapy allows you to better address your full range of treatment needs. Luxury mental health treatment programs recognize this and offer both high-quality pharmaceutical management along with psychotherapy while providing continuous oversight to monitor treatment efficacy and tolerability, allowing clinicians to make rapid changes to fine-tune care.
However, combination therapy does not only suggest a combination of medication and psychotherapy, but the combination of multiple psychotherapeutic and holistic therapies. By engaging in a broad spectrum of care, you can draw on the best of each in order to gain deeper personal insight, develop stronger coping mechanisms, and participate in more complete personal growth. Layering these therapies may have an exponential healing effect by allowing you to transfer learning from one modality into your work with another in order to optimize therapeutic benefit. For example, many trauma survivors are initially reluctant to verbally process their experiences, but may give voice to their thoughts and feelings through art therapy. As they gain a greater sense of comfort and inner stability through their art-based therapeutic practice, they may become better equipped to open up in psychodynamic therapy, enhancing their opportunities to heal. Likewise, the skills learned in cognitive behavioral therapy may fortify one’s ability to adhere to medication protocols, allowing clients to more fully benefit from pharmacological interventions.
High-quality luxury mental health treatment programs will offer a variety of therapies that can be tailored to each person’s unique situation in order to nurture the whole person in a way that is meaningful for them. One of the strengths of such programs is that they have the resources to attract highly skilled clinicians with specialized training in specific modalities in order to create holistic curriculums of care. In the best programs, however, these therapies are not seen as entirely separate entities. Rather, clinicians work as a team within an integrative model of care, liaising with you and each other in order to ensure therapies work synergistically and meet your evolving needs.
A Nurturing Environment
While kind and quality of formal treatment are of utmost importance, luxury mental health treatment programs work from the understanding that the treatment environment itself can have a profound impact on the ability of a client to heal. Unfortunately, this is an area that is often misunderstood and looked upon with suspicion; after all, medical care is typically not associated with creature comforts and they may appear at first glance to be unnecessary frivolities. However, the treatment environment shapes the overall treatment experience and can have a profound impact on your ability to achieve recovery.
At luxury mental health treatment programs like Bridges to Recovery, you can begin the healing process in a beautiful, serene milieu removed from the stressors of everyday life. You will have comfortable accommodations with the option of a private room and well-appointed common spaces that create a home-like environment. We believe that this encourages relaxation and feelings of security as you go through the process of making emotional and behavioral changes. Additionally, the facility itself gives you respite from the hard work of formal treatment, inviting you to decompress. Private chefs provide nutritious and delicious meals to nourish you throughout your time in care, tending to your physical wellness as well as your psychological health. Meanwhile, you can take advantage of private gyms and fitness activities, which is known to benefit emotional wellbeing and can be an important part of self-care. In a time of psychological struggle, these features can remind you of the pleasures of life beyond your illness and provide you with a sense of possibility as you take the next steps toward healing.
Duration of Care and Aftercare Planning
Healing from mental illness takes time. Unfortunately, many inpatient programs are focused solely on acute containment rather than comprehensive care and restrict stays, sometimes to a matter of days. Others have a standardized program that only allows you to stay for a set number of weeks, regardless of whether or not you are truly prepared to return home. One of the most significant benefits of private luxury mental health treatment is that there are no such limits; rather than focusing only on acute symptomatology, these programs give you the time and space to delve more deeply into healing in order to foster lasting changes and duration of care is dictated by your individual needs rather than an artificial timeline. This ensures that you are not rushed through treatment and that you only leave when you are ready.
Additionally, leaving treatment doesn’t mean that healing ends. A high-quality program will work with you to create a comprehensive aftercare plan so that you can preserve and build on the gains made in treatment when you return home. This will include connecting with outpatient care providers who can continue to work with you after your time in residential care. Family therapy can be an integral part of this process as well; by working with your loved ones to establish deeper connections and greater understanding while cutting through damaging patterns, you can create a healthier family dynamic that will buoy you when you return to your home environment.
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Connecting With the Right Treatment
Seeking help for your mental health disorder is brave. It can also be confusing; how do you know if a treatment program is right for you? For many, luxury mental health treatment offers the kind of comprehensive treatment experience necessary for lasting personal transformation. But choosing a program is a very personal process. By learning more about your options, considering your needs and preferences, and thinking about what kind of care you think would make you feel most comfortable, you can form a better picture of what your recovery process might look like.
At Bridges to Recovery, we are committed to helping people struggling with mental health disorders connect with the best treatment for their individual situation. We are always happy to speak with you about options and help you find a program suited to your needs, even if we are not the right program for you. We believe that everyone deserves the highest quality care in order to find relief from psychiatric pain and create the life they truly want.
Bridges to Recovery offers comprehensive residential treatment for people struggling with mental health disorders as well as process addictions. Contact us to learn more about our renowned Los Angeles and San Diego-based programs and how we can help you or your loved one start the journey toward healing.