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Rogers is a comprehensive psychiatric hospital, nationally recognized for specialty residential treatment programs for eating disorders, addiction, obsessive-compulsive disorder and anxiety disorders for children, teens and adults.

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December 18, 2015 - 7:31am

Every year, we are faced with the challenge of maintaining our traditional holiday routine, while also taking on new activities. As our to-do list piles up, it can take a toll on our mental health. The unrealistic expectations of what our holiday is “supposed” to be like, including how we are “supposed” to feel can sometimes be too much to handle. “We look at the holiday season with the expectation that we’re going to be filled with a lot of joy,” says Chad Wetterneck, PhD, cognitive behavior specialist for posttraumatic stress disorder programs. “While that may be true for some people, it’s really a time with a lot of strong emotion based off of how holidays have been for us in the past.”

“For those who have experienced a lot of joy during their past holidays, the season is a positive time. For others who have not found joy in previous holidays, the season can be a negative experience,” he says. “Even those who are usually joyful during the holidays can experience some grief. This year may be different because family or friends are unable to join them or because someone they love has passed away.”

When trying to keep up with holiday expectations, some put their own well-being on hold for the sake of others, which can become risky. “Overspending is something that some people are going to encounter this holiday. The best way to combat it is to think about whether you can set up a budget ahead of time,” says Dr. Wetterneck. “If you don’t have the financial resources this year, try telling friends and family that you’re going to give a gift that means a lot and talk about the meaning when you give it—rather than focusing on the dollar amount.”

With all the hustle and bustle of the season, it can be easy to jump to commit to an activity with loved ones without realizing how booked you already are. “It’s helpful to think ahead of time about what you’ll actually be able to accomplish or have a trusted friend who can help you decide what to commit to,” he says. “When someone asks you to join them for an activity, try telling them, ‘Let me get back to you,’ so you have more time to consider your schedule.” 

Some of us are likely to sacrifice our own self-care during this busy season. “Build some time in for yourself or even for the group you’re spending time with,” says Dr. Wetterneck. “Try suggesting that your group spend 15 minutes listening to holiday music or taking a walk to enjoy the holiday lights.”

Sue McKenzie, co-director of Rogers InHealth, explains that many people battle with their own internal stigma or personal expectations. “When some people face a challenging time, such as during the holiday season, they may tell themselves that should be able to ‘just tough it out,’ that they ‘should be able to handle it’ on their own,” she says. “People may avoid reaching out for help because they fear what it may say about themselves—but in reality, it’s healthier to ask for help than to set unrealistic personal expectations.”

McKenzie suggests that we help each other this holiday season by passing along our personal advice for coping with the stress. “We share our recipes with friends and family during the holidays, so why don’t we share our recipes for peace, for handling the holidays and for inner acceptance?”

December 11, 2015 - 7:51am

Experiential therapy is a hands-on experience-based approach that assists in healing and overcoming mental or emotional challenges. At Rogers, there’s a variety of experiential therapy approaches available to patients, including art and music therapy, recreational therapy, yoga, horticultural therapy and adventure therapy—which uses challenge courses at various campuses.

“All of the experiential therapies at Rogers engage groups through interactive experiences which can deepen their understanding of their treatment,” says Mike Hoelzer, art therapist at Rogers Memorial Hospital—Oconomowoc. “Patients could be using experiential therapy to work on their emotional awareness and expression, learning coping skills or developing new leisure skills.” 

Experiential therapy puts people in situations they may never have been in and the results of this therapy technique are encouraging. “I’ve seen so many people come into our program and express feelings that they may never have expressed before, learn new skills that they didn’t think they were able to accomplish, build new relationships, take healthy risks and learn to trust people,” says Hoelzer. “It’s quite an incredible way to work with people in a treatment setting.”

Although the activities used for art therapy sound like fun, there are difficult topics and realizations that patients have to face during their sessions. “The projects and tasks we do can be very exciting, but there is a lot of work going on in the therapy process, no matter what type of experiential therapy our patients may be participating in,” says Hoelzer. “At first, patients may be defensive about revealing their emotions, but when people start opening up in treatment, their defenses go down and their feelings start to become more readily expressed. Having the bravery to show true emotion is extremely important to begin problem solving and developing skills to cope.”

Hoelzer explains that through the creative process in art therapy, the patient and therapist may be able to pinpoint the exact stressor that caused the patient to seek treatment, talk about that moment and discuss how they may be able to improve their skills. “Others have used art therapy to express that after seeking treatment, they no longer feel alone and have been able to connect with others who face similar issues,” says Hoelzer. “Creating a piece of art can also serve as a great reminder for patients who want to hold onto the skills they learned in treatment and make those techniques a regular part of their life and activities.”

“When training parents, teachers and other adults in the community, we help them to understand how times when our children and youth are involved in movement, art and other activities are unique opportunities to connect at deeper levels,” says Sue McKenzie, co-director of Rogers InHealth. “Rather than see these times as breaks for the caregiver, they are times when we want to be more attentive and ready to listen.” Experiential therapists know that such experiences can be healing for the patient and in day-to-day life, they can be nourishing for relationships.

Rogers InHealth offers patient stories about facing challenges and new experiences, such as those available through experiential therapy.

December 9, 2015 - 8:57am

During the holiday season, many people make the annual trip to gather with their families and share in a special meal. You may notice that a loved one has developed unusual eating habits since the last time you saw her or him. It’s only natural to want to help, but Maxine Cimperman, registered dietitian at Rogers Memorial Hospital—Oconomowoc, explains that you shouldn’t immediately jump to conclusions. “It’s important to understand that you should not base suspicion that a friend or family member has an eating disorder off of one meal,” she says. “Eating disorders need to be diagnosed by a trained clinician and are based on a prolonged pattern of behaviors.”

That being said, the holidays can be a particularly difficult time for individuals who struggle with an eating disorder. “They will likely struggle with anxiety around the meal, and will often avoid social gatherings around food altogether,” says Jordan Murray, registered dietitian at Rogers’ Oconomowoc location.  “Take note if your family member or friend avoids entire food categories, like carbohydrates or fats, or consistently avoids eating in with a group. Individuals with eating disorders may be overly selective of what types of food they will eat.” 

According to the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA), 20 million women and 10 million men in the United States suffer from an eating disorder at some point in their life, which equals about 1 in 10 Americans. “What’s especially troubling is that the prevalence of eating disorders continues to climb, particularly in adolescents,” says Cimperman. 

So how do you find help for someone who may have an eating disorder? “Start by talking to the loved one that you’re concerned about,” says Murray. “Opening the lines of communication gives them an opportunity to ask for help. Open-ended questions are best, as a confrontational approach may lead to defensiveness. Try saying, ‘It seems like you are struggling to enjoy food like you used to, is there anything you want to talk about?’”

Parents can also be on the lookout for possible warning signs of an eating disorder. “They should keep an eye on their child’s exercise pattern, dieting, food avoidance or any dramatic changes in weight,” says Cimperman. “The number one risk factor to developing an eating disorder is dieting. When a parent steps in and tries to help their child by pushing food or monitoring their child’s food intake, it can create a power struggle between the parent and child—which may worsen the problem.”

Murray emphasizes the importance of not stereotyping people with eating disorders. “You cannot make the assumption that someone has disordered eating patterns simply based on their physical appearance,” he says. “Many who eat normally may naturally maintain a low body weight, while someone who struggles with an eating disorder may be at a very normal body weight.”

“Eating disorders occur across all ethnic groups and in males as well, although males may be less likely to seek help for the problem,” adds Cimperman. “Help may also be less available for males as many treatment centers do not work with males, but the residential Eating Disorder Center at Rogers’ Oconomowoc location is one of the few that does.”

Request a free screening for someone who may need professional help for an eating disorder here

December 1, 2015 - 7:55am

Michael M. Miller, MD, medical director of the Herrington Recovery Center at Rogers Memorial Hospital and attending physician for the adult dual diagnosis partial hospitalization program at Rogers’ new Silver Lake Outpatient Center in Oconomowoc, has served a leadership role in the research and writing process of the American Society of Addiction Medicine’s (ASAM) new policy statement on marijuana, cannabinoids and legalization. The statement was written to inform Congress, the media, the general public and especially physicians and other healthcare professionals about cannabis and cannabis products and the health impact of expanded access to these substances.

Taking several months to draft, the policy statement addresses the most recent research from medical science on the potential positive and negative health effects of marijuana use, the climate of the current national debate over legalization, the differences between policy initiatives of decriminalization and full legalization, and possible future public health and safety measures.

As more states begin legalizing marijuana use for medicinal or recreational purposes, some public leaders believe there are no reasonable arguments to limit the public’s access to marijuana and they look to legal, commercial sale as a means of generating tax revenues. The writing committee that Dr. Miller led and the Board of Directors of ASAM sought to inform decision-makers that there are potential harms that they and the society believe require further research and cannot be ignored. 

“This new policy this can help educate young people, parents and others that America’s relationship with marijuana are more benign than is justified by the medical facts,” he says.

Dr. Miller strove to assure balance in the document to provide an accurate account of the medical and psychiatric actions of cannabinoids including THC, cannabidiol and synthetic cannabinoids, as well as the potential health consequences of expanded access, especially for youth.

“This policy might be useful as a patient education document in any clinical setting where persons with addiction or psychiatric conditions are receiving treatment.” Besides the possibility of developing an addiction, several long-term health effects of marijuana use have been documented, including adverse psychiatric effects, such as impairment of motivation and learning. “Identifying at-risk groups is an important prevention strategy. Children and adolescents are particularly vulnerable to health risks and they should not use these products,” says Dr. Miller.

With an extensive history of providing addiction treatment, Dr. Miller was able to add another experienced medical opinion to the committee. Other members of the writing team were Norman Wetterau, MD, the president of the New York Society of Addiction Medicine, and Jeff Wilkins, MD, the past president of the California Society of Addiction Medicine. “It was an honor to be asked to take the lead in drafting a document that we expect will be referenced quite often. I have known each of my colleagues in the writing team for a number of years, but this was one of our closest and most important collaborations,” he says.

Rogers provides comprehensive, evidence-based treatment for individuals suffering from cannabis use disorder as well as a wide range of psychiatric conditions and other aspects of substance abuse or drug addiction.

November 19, 2015 - 9:21am

Now approaching its first anniversary of providing comprehensive residential programming to adolescent girls, Nashotah has proven to be a valuable service to patients from all across the United States who are ready to make real change. Serving about 50 patients in its opening year, the program helps young women improve their personal safety and quality of life by validating their emotions which may lead to dangerous behaviors and teaching skills to help them express their genuine feelings. While in treatment, the safety risks associated with emotional dyregulation are decreased and preventative measures are used to to help many of the girls who are at risk of developing personality disorders.

“Oftentimes, the families of the girls in Nashotah have a hard time understanding how their daughter can have strong, unexplainable emotions or not act like themselves,” says Erik Ulland, MD, medical director of Nashotah. “Families may think that their child is intentionally trying to be manipulative or controlling, when in reality they are actually feeling these emotions and can even feel ashamed for it.”

 The goal of the Nashotah program is to practice dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) the way it was originally designed to assure girls achieve the greatest gains possible. Clinicians were trained by Marsha Linehan’s Behavioral Tech, and follow all required components of DBT. Girls in Nashotah are self-motivated and have spent an average of 60 days in treatment in Nashotah’s first year. When in programming, they work towards becoming comfortable with expressing genuine vulnerability, instead of expressing less genuine emotions that feel less intense. 

There is a considerable focus on mindfulness within the program, which is the core skill of DBT. It is explained as being aware of the current moment in one’s body and senses—observing, and describing events nonjudgmentally. Without mindfulness, one does not have choice. Girls in the program work on their private journeys, but find comfort in knowing that others are working towards similar goals.

The program also emphasizes the importance of active family involvement and that all patients, staff and families follow the therapy guidelines of DBT. Dr. Ulland explains that when adolescent girls seek treatment for emotional dysregulation before becoming young adults, they have a greater likelihood of creating behaviorally healthy lives. “When these young women receive early programming, our treatment in Nashotah can even be preventative—protecting a patient from developing depression or more severe symptoms down the road.” 

When leaving the program, many patients self-report significant gains across the board and are able to reduce their symptoms. “It’s been clear that this program doesn’t just help someone’s daughter, it may allow parents to be able to connect with their child in a way that they may not have been able to for a year or more,” says Dr. Ulland.

He also has hopes for Nashotah in the years to come, “In the future, it will be very helpful to collect data on how well these young women have been able to maintain their skills learned in the program. If they and their families have continued practicing mindfulness, I believe that they will be have more successful lives and reach their potentials.”

November 19, 2015 - 8:56am

Offering young adults with depression or other mood disorders specialized residential programming since February of 2014, FOCUS in Oconomowoc, WI, has created a pattern of positive patient outcomes. Recently, the program added a second track for adults over 30 years old. 

“Though the program is still fairly young and our results are unpublished, most of our patients have shown significant improvement,” says Rachel Leonard, PhD, clinical supervisor of FOCUS. “We still need to do more research and we are continuing to do so, but our initial results show many of our patients have experienced significant reduction in symptoms of depression and anxiety.”

In the program’s first year, the treatment team has refined their process. “This program has grown from targeting six young adults initially, to now targeting 21 young adults and soon up to 11 adults over 30. As we have grown, we have worked to ensure that we offer consistent messaging, interventions and structure across FOCUS—which improves communication not only among the treatment team, but to our patients as well,” she notes.

FOCUS was created to fill a gap in residential programming. The team has gained a greater understanding of who may benefit from this treatment model. “As we’ve gained experience treating young adults in this program, we’ve found that these treatment strategies could benefit a wider range of people that includes older adults and now we’re taking that next step,” says Dr. Leonard.

As the program became more well-known, it was clear that referring clinical professionals and older adults were in need of similar programming for adults over 30. “We’ve found that some of our young adults who may have experienced ‘failure to launch’ had many of the same symptoms as some older adults with depression and anxiety. The same treatment model would be beneficial for them as well, with some minor adjustments. These older adults may not necessarily be experiencing ‘failure to launch,’ but their depression or anxiety could be making their lives take a turn for the worse.”

Dr. Leonard explains that the two age groups benefit from receiving programming in separate tracks. “Patients are more comfortable in a group that they can relate to. It can be difficult for adults over 30 to connect with someone who is having difficulty navigating college or their first job.”

Based on the program’s early positive results and response from the clinical field, the future of FOCUS looks promising. “We’re excited to begin serving a new population of adults in our program and it will be great to feel confident that we will be able to help more individuals get back to living more fulfilling lives.”

November 6, 2015 - 8:48am

Biz Times Nonprofit of the YearAfter securing one of three finalist positions for the 2015 BizTimes Large Nonprofit Organization of the Year, Rogers Memorial Hospital was awarded this honor at the BizTimes Nonprofit Excellence Awards at Potowatomi Hotel and Casino in Milwaukee. The award—which is granted to a small and large nonprofit organization in southeastern Wisconsin—acknowledges the winner’s exemplary dedication to their mission and their community’s well-being, exceptional structural sustainability and teamwork, as well as superior organizational skills in management and operations.

Four hundred award nominees, nonprofit advisors and a committee of BizTimes’ editorial team members attended the event. Members of Rogers’ administration and leadership represented Rogers Memorial Hospital during the ceremony and joined other local nonprofits, for-profits and volunteers in the community celebration. 

“To be honored as a finalist and then go on to win the BizTimes’ Large Nonprofit of the Year award is a wonderful accomplishment for our organization,” says Paul Mueller, CEO of Rogers Memorial Hospital, “It shows that we are fulfilling our mission and the community recognizes our dedication to providing the best behavioral healthcare possible to those in need.”

November 3, 2015 - 8:30am

Representatives of Rogers Behavioral Health will offer their clinical expertise at the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies’ (ABCT) 49th Annual Convention, which is being held November 12-15 in Chicago, Illinois.

Members of Rogers’ clinical staff will collaborate with some of the nation’s leading behavioral health professionals in six symposiums, six poster sessions, four panel discussions, two meetings and one workshop. Rogers’ contributors include:

Their complete schedule for the annual convention is available online.

The event serves as a valuable opportunity for Rogers’ specialists to share their data, research and clinical opinions on a national stage, as well as to gather some of the most recent scientific findings in the field from their peers. An assemblage of innovative thinkers, the annual convention informs today’s clinical practice and encourages the continued use of cognitive and behavioral mechanisms.

October 21, 2015 - 9:26am

In the past few years, it seems as though everyone is “eating green” or only “all-organic” food. Although there are many health benefits to this new trend towards “clean-eating,” there is a point when the practice can take over a person’s life and become damaging to their behavioral health. Related to eating disorders, orthorexia nervosa is a condition in which a person has obsessive behaviors, which may include: self-induced dietetic limitations and preparing and eating food in a ritual-like manner, all to achieve and maintain a “pure” diet.

David Jacobi, PhD, clinical supervisor of the Eating Disorder Center at Rogers Memorial Hospital, says, “Unlike anorexia nervosa, or anorexia as it is most commonly known, people with orthorexia nervosa are less focused on losing weight and are more concerned with consuming chemical-free food.” This fear stems from intrusive thoughts which may revolve around the theme that a person’s food was contaminated by fertilizers, tainted during processing or that a preparer is going to contaminate the meal.

Sometimes, a person with orthorexia nervosa spends so much of their time focused on their food, that they have no time left over for their relationships with friends or family, which can lead a person to become socially isolated. “Orthorexia nervosa can take up much of a person’s time because they often feel they have to avoid certain restaurants, brands at the grocery store or even personally watch their food’s entire preparation process out of fear that their food will be contaminated,” says Dr. Jacobi.

This obsession over food’s preparation process has striking similarities to the level of obsession found in some people with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). “OCD and eating disorders, such as orthorexia nervosa, are characterized by unwanted thoughts, or in this case, unwanted fear of contamination, which generate a high level of anxiety.”

A fear of contamination is also a symptom a person with OCD may experience, with fears of germs. When a person has OCD, they may perform mental or behavioral acts to neutralize their unwanted thoughts or anxiety. A person with orthorexia nervosa may use certain behaviors to compensate for their food-related fears. “Similar to a person’s ritualistic acts typically associated with OCD, what we call compensatory behaviors—including obsessively seeking a pure diet—is a way for a person with orthorexia nervosa to counter their anxiety.”

There is often a “magical” quality to many of the rituals performed by those with OCD and orthorexia nervosa. Dr. Jacobi says, “People with OCD will often perform rituals to prevent themselves or others from harm. If they fail to perform these rituals, some believe a catastrophic event will occur. For some people with orthorexia nervosa, they believe eating the ‘right’ foods will protect their health and choosing to end their ritual behavior will most likely affect them negatively.”

So how do you know if you or someone you know may be taking their healthy eating to an unhealthy extreme? “It’s a good idea to consider seeking professional help if your behaviors or the behaviors of someone you know are taking away from regular functioning,” says Dr. Jacobi.

October 12, 2015 - 8:19am

October 11-17 is International OCD Awareness Week, an observance founded by the International OCD Foundation (IOCDF). Now in its sixth year, International OCD Awareness Week was created to improve public understanding of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD), and increase timely access to care and behavioral health treatment.

Currently in the United States, over two million adults and 500,000 children suffer from OCD symptoms. Rogers InHealth, the advocacy arm of Rogers Behavioral Health which helps reduce mental health stigma in our communities, shares personal stories offered by those with mental illness to help empower others and highlight that symptom reduction is possible. Rogers InHealth also combats misconceptions on OCD and other mental illnesses by offering presentations and conducting other community work in schools and workplaces.

One person who shared their experience at Rogers said, “You will face challenges and hard days ahead, but every minute is worth the healing your child and family will experience. We encourage you and your child not to be discouraged by difficult days. Trust the process. Progress really is being made.”

Rogers Behavioral Health strives to meet the need for OCD and related anxiety disorder programming present in specific communities by providing quality care to those locations. Since the last International OCD Awareness Week, Rogers has increased access to specialized outpatient care. Recently, Rogers began providing services in Appleton, WI, and has also opened regional locations in Skokie, IL, and Nashville, TN since the last international observance.


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