Kate Ross, discusses her role as Program Director and family therapist at PCH Treatment Center and how she helps clients, parents, and families alleviate the common feelings of anxiety associated with starting treatment and to begin the healing journey.
Hi, my name is Kate Ross and I’m a Program Director here at PCH. I have a degree in clinical psychology and I’m a licensed marriage and family therapist. The primary role of the program director is to serve as a liaison for the treatment team, the family, and any outside referents who might be part of the team. We try to make sure that everybody involved in a client’s treatment is on the same page.
When clients first come into treatment, they can often feel very anxious and ambivalent about being here and what that can look like is; they might be calling their parents or their family members at home and complaining that this might not be what they had expected and perhaps this wasn’t the right placement for them and that’s normal, that’s something that we expect to see. What parents or family members can do is to redirect them back to the treatment team and to help the parents and the family members understand that what they are seeing is perfectly normal and typically within the first week or so will pass. I think as long as parents know that we’re paying attention to their concerns and that we are addressing them in a timely fashion, it helps to alleviate their own anxiety.
Program directors do reach out to referents, to outside professionals who might be involved in the treatment, to family members, and the frequency of those contacts really depends upon the situation. I would say that on average I speak with family members at least once a week, sometimes more if the situation warrants it, and with referents and outside treatment professionals I take their lead. If they would like a weekly update I provide that, if they’re fine with getting a discharge summary we deal with it that way, some of our referents are very very involved in the client’s care and I’m on the phone with them on a weekly basis as well. So it really does vary depending upon the client’s, the family’s, and the referent’s needs.
I think it’s important for the families to know that the Program director is here to support the entire system, so we work very closely with our treatment team here, with the individual therapist, with the group therapist, making sure we are all on the same page and communicating that information to the families and the other people involved in their care.
For many of our clients this is the beginning of their healing journey, they are going to continue on and need other resources as they go on and that is one of the roles of the Program Director; to make sure that those aftercare resources and referrals are in place so that we can make a smooth transition.
Kate Ross, MFT, Program Director