Psychotherapeutic Services Aimed at Improving Mental Wellbeing
12 June 2017
The Intlalo Clinic at Stikland Hospital offers a holistic, recovery-based, inpatient psychotherapeutic programme for individuals with a range of mental health conditions including Depression, Anxiety who find it difficult to manage emotional and psychological problems associated with certain mental illnesses.
According to Dr Kerry-Ann Louw, Psychiatrist at Stikland Hospital, the Clinic offers diagnostic assessments for individuals where there is diagnostic uncertainty relating to a patient’s mental illness and that cannot be resolved on an outpatient basis. “Our team uses observation methods, special investigations and the use of diagnostic testing and assessments to diagnose a mental health disorder.
“The Clinic also provides a recovery-based programme for all forms of mental illness, including depressive disorders, bipolar disorders, psychotic disorders, anxiety disorders, posttraumatic stress disorder and personality disorders,” explains Louw.
Although Stikland Hospital has always had a therapeutic division, the Intlalo Clinic only officially opened in 2009. “The Clinic’s therapeutic offering has been adapted over the years to meet the demands of the community we serve. The programme is run by a team of mental health care practitioners with expertise in the diagnosis and management of mental disorders. This team includes nursing staff, psychologists, psychiatrists, an occupational therapist and social worker.
Averaging approximately 200 admissions annually, the 26-bed Clinic frequently admits more female patients than male. “This may be because of the higher rates of mood and anxiety disorders in women,” Louw explains.
The services offered at the Clinic are open to individuals between the ages of 18 and 60 residing in the Stikland Hospital geographical service area. “Clients, who are interested in making use of the services available at the Clinic must first be evaluated by their doctor or primary healthcare practitioner and referred to Stikland Hospital for one of the available programmes. The referral will then be reviewed by the Multi-Disciplinary Team,” she says.
Louw confirms that a similar service is offered at both Valkenberg and Lentegeur Hospitals.
“All programmes focus on developing hope, a secure base and sense of self, establishing supportive relationships, empowerment, fostering social inclusion and coping skills,” explains Louw.
The Clinic offers three inpatient programmes, namely; Diagnostic Assessment Programme (duration 2 weeks), a Recovery Programme (duration: 2-4 weeks) and a Dialectic Behavioural Therapy Programme (duration: 5 weeks).
- Diagnostic Assessment Programme is a 2 week multidisciplinary diagnostic assessment programme suitable for patients who have had an assessment by a mental health professional, but where there is still ongoing diagnostic uncertainty that cannot be resolved in an outpatient setting. Patients must have had a basic mental health examination to exclude common potential organic causes of their symptoms. Patients need to be able to participate in groups. Please note the type of group will be selected based on the patient’s mental state on admission.
- Recovery Programme is suitable for patients who have received acute inpatient or outpatient mental health care, but who have residual symptoms causing distress, ongoing psychosocial dysfunction or who are at risk of relapsing. Patients need to be motivated to and capable of engaging during the programme. Patients are expected to participate in groups. The programme is based on the Recovery Model, which views mental illness recovery as a personal process that can be aided by support services.
- Dialectic Behavioural Therapy (DBT) Programme is specifically offered to patients who are unable to access outpatient DBT services. The first week of the programme includes an orientation to the DBT model followed by 4 weeks of twice weekly DBT groups. The DBT programme is suitable for patients struggling with emotional dysregulation, self-harming behaviours, distress tolerance and interpersonal relationship challenges.
“Acute psychiatric services in the Western Cape are overwhelmed by accommodating individuals with severe mental illness who are a risk to themselves or others. As a result, individuals with common mental illnesses such as Depression and Anxiety, or those with less severe forms of mental illnesses such as Schizophrenia or Bipolar Disorder, cannot access treatment in the acute services. However, a great need still exists for the treatment of these conditions and the services offered Intlalo Clinic provides the perfect solution.” concludes Louw.