Getting Better Versus Getting Well

Mental health care, as well as eating disorder care, is deeply concerned with helping the patient to feel better. Much of the time, especially in residential or inpatient settings, treatment centers on addressing and working through a crisis and then sending the patient home (or stepping down treatment) once marks of improvement are shown. A new medication, a treatment plan, and a symptom better controlled than at the time of admission, and the patient is on their waybetter than when they arrived. But is that enough?

At Galen Hope, we do not believe that the end goal of mental health or eating disorder treatment is simple improvement—even marked improvement. Instead, Galen Hope has built their clinical philosophy around helping patients to get well.

This may seem like semantics—better versus well. After all, aren’t these effectively degrees of the same thing? And yes, they are just that—degrees. Think of the last time you had a head cold, for example. Maybe the congestion loosened and you felt a bit better, but perhaps your cough held on for a few days. In the first case you were better, but you weren’t well until you had control over all of the symptoms that you had been battling. Mental health works similarly—but not exactly.

Depending on primary (and secondary, and tertiary, etc) diagnosis, the road to wellness is seldom as straightforward as getting over a cold. Sometimes there are genetic traits involved, other times there are past traumas that need to be worked through. In some cases cognitive behavioral treatment is necessary, and in other cases intensive talk therapy is needed as well. Some patients thrive in a group therapy environment, and others in a one-on-one. Oftentimes medication is necessary, and levels need to be titrated over long spans of time. Every patient is different, and that makes setting the benchmark at “wellness” quite challenging. 

to us, wellness involves
finding a place in the world,
forming connections, and developing
meaning and purpose in life.

As we have discussed before in our blog, too often the process of stepping down treatment levels, or leaving an inpatient or residential environment can be very jarring to a patient, and those processes of getting better can stall at that stage—better, but not well. This is where Galen Hope (and other programs centered upon assertive community treatment) can provide what patients need most—support, integrated care, personalized treatment plans, and long-term relationships with patients to help them get truly well.

Built from the ground up with this concept at its heart, Galen Hope’s treatment integrates the best concepts of residential programs, partial hospitalization programs, and community psychology in order to provide an experience that not only feels uniquely meaningful to the client, but also breaks the cycle of repeated hospitalizations, over-institutionalization, and isolation from community and family. To us, wellness involves (at least) finding a place in the world, forming connections, and developing meaning and purpose in life. This involves getting better, certainly, but also remaining better, learning mindfulness, developing self-compassion and self-awareness, breaking destructive habits, managing and healthfully navigating trauma, and finding a community of love and support.  

To learn more, or to join our community for integrated wellness, please CONTACT US TODAY

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