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A new treatment approach: Primary Behavioral Health programming expands

02/15/24 06:00:pm

As a leader and innovator in behavioral health, Rogers is expanding a cutting-edge treatment approach that reconceptualizes how best to help a broad range of patients heal and thrive.

Scheduled to open in late February, Brown Deer will be the latest in the Rogers system to provide Primary Behavioral Health services through a new adult residential treatment program and PHP. Recently, St. Paul and San Diego opened PHP and IOP Primary Behavioral Health programs for adults, with plans to open similar programming for adolescents in the future. Several other sites including Oconomowoc, West Allis, Tampa, Appleton, and Minneapolis will open adult Primary Behavioral Health programs this spring.

“Part of our new 5-year strategic plan is providing the right services in the right locations. We are looking for ways to meet the needs of new and different types of patients,” says Dr. Brian Kay, PhD, chief strategy officer. “The creation and expansion of Primary Behavioral Health marks an exciting evolution of the high-quality care Rogers is known for and fills an important community need.”

As psychological science advances, Primary Behavioral Health’s approach called Process-Based CBT (PBT) is rapidly emerging as an effective way to treat patients with multiple diagnoses, targeting common processes that maintain disorders. Problematic psychological processes found commonly across patients include lack of motivation, behavioral avoidance, emotional dysregulation, cognitive challenges and interpersonal ineffectiveness, or trouble with relationships. PBT consists of evidence-based psychotherapeutic strategies shared across treatment protocols such as Behavioral Activation, Cognitive Therapy, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, Exposure Therapy, and Dialectical Behavior Therapy.

“Rogers prides itself on evidence-based treatments and following research-backed innovations in the field. Psychological science has advanced significantly,” says Dr. Ajeng Puspitasari, PhD, LP, ABPP, executive director of clinical services for Rogers’ locations in Appleton, Kenosha, Madison, Sheboygan and Minnesota. “There’s more understanding that it can be really hard to implement just one treatment protocol for one diagnosis, considering our patients really struggle with multiple diagnoses.”

Dr. Rachel Leonard, PhD, vice president of clinical services, says the average Rogers patient has four mental health diagnoses. Primary Behavioral Health gives treatment providers the flexibility to specifically target problematic processes underlying many disorders such as mood, anxiety, substance use, and personality disorders.

“Primary Behavioral Health was designed from the beginning to be transdiagnostic and is a shift in the field in how they’re thinking about approaching treatment,” Dr. Leonard says. “Instead of the diagnosis itself being the most important piece, it’s looking at the psychological processes the person is experiencing that keep them symptomatic and prevent them from living their lives to their fullest potential.”

Primary Behavioral Health programs are guided by PBT and the recovery-oriented model, where treatment team members collaborate closely with patients to help them manage symptoms effectively to pursue a healthier and more productive life. For example, that could mean targeting negative thought patterns with strategies such as cognitive diffusion or reappraisal and combining it with behavioral activation. The goal is to match coping strategies that work the most effectively for individual patients in their different contexts.

Each patient starts with a series of evaluations and evidence-based assessments to develop a more complete understanding of the presenting concerns. The information provides the basis for a discussion and recommendations for care.

“Our Primary Behavioral Health expansion is an exciting step forward, as Rogers continues to employ the latest evidence-based treatments to best serve our patients and help them live fulfilling lives, regardless of diagnoses or symptoms,” Dr. Leonard says.

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