Physical or sexual assault, a car or other accident, a natural disaster or even witnessing a life-threatening event are only some of the events that can contribute to the nearly 8 million American adults with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). To address this increasing community need, Rogers Memorial Hospital is opening a new adult partial hospitalization program for single-incident PTSD at their newly expanded location at Lincoln Center I in West Allis.
“We find that people with PTSD tend to alienate themselves both internally and externally after experiencing or witnessing a traumatic event,” said Chad Wetterneck, PhD, a full-time psychologist who specializes in the treatment of anxiety and PTSD.
“Our goal is for patients to take committed action toward recovering from their PTSD. We want them to re-engage in their life, regardless of the thoughts or feelings they may have stemming from a negative event in their life.”
The PTSD program at Rogers uses an evidence-based component of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) called prolonged exposure as part of treatment. Studies show that – by helping patients change their relationship to the trauma, by retelling the experience and identifying what they see and how they feel – patients become more confident and accepting of their feelings related to the incident. This approach also promotes safety with the feelings the patient is experiencing in the present moment.
In addition to 2.5 hours of CBT each day, the program will have components of light physical exercise, mindfulness and interpersonal process groups. Each of these activities contributes to overall mental health and provides the opportunity for individuals to re-engage in peer communication with people who have experienced similar things.
“Rogers is very experienced in developing specialized programs to target very specific symptoms in a mental health diagnosis. The supportive environment and ability to treat many of the conditions that often co-occur or develop with PTSD such as depression, anxiety or substance abuse are an added benefit,” Dr. Wetterneck continued.