As of late, more service providers are recognizing the importance of paying attention to the whole person, not just the diagnosis (although a diagnosis is a crucial beginning). Recipients of various services are saying loudly, “We are more than a diagnosis. We are not a set of symptoms that can be medicated or counseled away. We are complex and we want service providers to pay attention to and help us with what matters to us!”
At the Program for Self-Discovery- Change Happens- (a/k/a PROS) we have been looking at the whole person for some time. We embrace a model of inclusion and wholeness that invites the person in treatment to be an integral part of the treatment approach. We focus on concerns that extend beyond the diagnosis and the symptoms that impact the quality of life.
We look at what the person wants to do with his life and then set out to help him face and remove the barriers that prohibit him from accomplishing those goals. We offer traditional tools such as counseling, medicines and clinical strategies, as well as addressing diet, exercise and gaining a positive outlook.
Most recently we initiated two new groups based on feedback from the participants that reflect the importance of considering the whole person. One group is a healthy eating class and the second is a volunteer group.
The healthy eating class helps participants think about what they are eating, what they are buying and how they can shop and cook to improve their health and general outlook on life. This group includes outings to local supermarkets to read labels and compare prices to make the best choices. The group will culminate with the participants purchasing the necessary ingredients, cooking and sharing a healthy meal.
The volunteer group supports people facing social anxiety. In this group, participants as a group research and engage in volunteer activities in the community. Many of the participants want to work or contribute to society in a way that is meaningful. However, the grips of anxiety get in the way of them accomplishing the goal. To help move past this barrier, the group will participate in a shared volunteer activity. In this way, each one gets the support of the other as they learn how to interact in a work-like setting.
In these two very specific ways, PROS continues to adapt its services beyond the group room to the community where the participants work and live.