Determining the appropriate level of care for a patient is as much an art as it is a science. Serious psychiatric symptoms that affect a person’s ability to function safely may appear as obvious indicators of those who require inpatient care.

But in many cases, a partial hospitalization program (PHP) like the Brattleboro Retreat’s Birches Treatment Center provides the best level of structure and stability to help patients get back on track.

On the flip side, patients who may not be finding success in a traditional outpatient setting often do very well when they “step up” to partial hospitalization. PHP can also serve as an excellent transition or “step down” following an inpatient psychiatric admission.

The Birches Treatment Center is an adult partial hospitalization program (age 18 and up) that’s located on the campus of the Brattleboro Retreat in southern Vermont. We provide comprehensive, short-term, clinical care along with convenient, affordable on-campus housing for people who do not want to drive back and forth for treatment on a daily basis.

The Birches partial hospital program meets daily from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm and includes five group meetings per day. Patients also have weekly one-on-one contact with a therapist and a weekly meeting with a psychiatrist for medication management.

Group topics may include mindfulness practice, building effective communication skills, addressing grief and loss, and general self-care strategies for people recovering from mental illness and addiction.

Many patients who are considering entering a partial hospitalization program worry that two or three weeks of intensive treatment is a long time to be away from the rest of the world. You can start by explaining that the truth is quite the opposite.

PHP clients attend group therapy with lots of other people who are experiencing similar problems. They also enjoy multiple opportunities to interact with clinical staff, which is comforting to many. And evenings and weekends are free so there’s no reason to worry about missing time with family and friends.

One thing we look for in patients is motivation. The reason is simple: we have found that those who reap the greatest benefits from PHP are the ones who are committed to their recovery and dedicated to learning healthy coping skills to overcome their symptoms.

On our end, we will provide the safety planning, education, support, medication assessment and management, discharge planning, and follow-up referrals that will make the effort more than worthwhile.

If you work as an outpatient provider or as a clinician in an emergency department or hospital inpatient unit you can complete the External Provider Referral Form and fax it to 802-258-3791, or call our Patient Access Department directly at 802-258-3700.