- All of our Program Directors are licensed clinicians who provide a central hub for clients at every stage of treatment.
- Their role is to guide each client through the entire treatment process.
- Program Directors embody PCH’s core philosophy: “We want to know what happened to you, not what’s wrong with you.”
- One of the most important parts of what a Program Director does is facilitate communication.
- Video: PCH Program Director Mary Rauso explains her role
What Is a Program Director?
At PCH, the role of our Client Program Directors is to guide each client through the entire treatment process. Their job starts by conducting an individualized biopsychosocial assessment. The biopsychosocial model we follow may sound complex, but it provides a multifaceted framework that is necessary for understanding and achieving human well-being.
Where Does a Client Program Director Start?
During a biopsychosocial assessment, Client Program Directors start by collecting a range of information to begin understanding each client’s unique situation. For example, Program Directors seek to understand the client’s:
- Timeline of mental issues
- Family history
- Work history
- Current level of functioning
The Client Program Director gets to know each client as a person before designing a treatment plan for them. With that knowledge, they then work with the client to understand their specific treatment goals.
Once they have gathered all this information, the Program Director develops a weekly program schedule for each client, choosing from a wide range of the treatment modalities PCH offers. Some of the most common modalities we recommend include:
- Dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT)
- Health and wellness
- Exploring gratitude
- Family systems
- Art and music therapy
- Group process
- Shame resilience
- Bipolar support
- Trauma group
What Else Does a Program Director Do?
Along with developing each client’s treatment schedule, Program Directors meet weekly with the clients during their treatment cycle. In these weekly meetings, the Program Director discusses areas where the client is making progress as well as areas that still require additional improvement.
Based on the client’s progress and gaps in treatment, the Program Director makes additions or modifications to the weekly schedule. For example, they may add a particular group, an individual session, or a specific treatment intervention.
From there, Program Directors play a vital role in helping clients understand their options for continuation of care.
Navigating Continuation of Care
Every situation is unique, but most clients are ready to begin discussing options for continuation of care around week three of treatment. The Client Program Director serves as the main resource for helping clients understand their options. The Program Director provides a formal recommendation from the treatment team regarding next steps.
These meetings generally begin with clients sharing how they feel about the progress they have made, whether their goals have been achieved, and what they see happening next. In our experience, most clients have a fairly developed understanding of their progress by this stage. Fortunately, that means treatment recommendations often match client expectations about what they should do next.
Common paths include:
- Continuing treatment at the same level of care
- Reducing treatment by stepping outside of supportive housing
- Reducing the number of days they are in treatment
Stepping Down From Treatment and Back Into Daily Life
At PCH, we believe that aftercare is every bit as important as the care received while at PCH. As clients begin stepping down from treatment, Program Directors are there to provide support for their steps back into daily life. Once a client steps down to three days of treatment a week, the goal becomes for them to engage in scheduled activities during their days off from treatment. For example, they may attend school, volunteer, or work.
The most important part of stepping down from treatment is that it allows clients to practice what they have learned at PCH while still being able to bring in and problem solve any issues they come across in the real world.
Facilitating Communication Across Treatment Teams
Another one of the most important parts of the Client Program Director’s role is that they facilitate communication across each client’s treatment team. They provide an ongoing contact with the treatment team consisting of:
- An individual therapist
- A group therapist
- A psychiatrist
- Treatment staff
Program Directors provide weekly updates for the treatment team and may be in daily contact with certain team members to ensure client success. They update the team if certain issues or changes may surface that require modifications to the client’s program or when additional support may be needed following an emotional day.
Along with coordinating across the internal treatment team, Program Directors also facilitate communication with outside parties, such as outside clinicians, referrers, and family members. They may explain challenging concepts to concerned family members or update other professionals on the client’s progress.
Discharge and Aftercare Planning
Discharge planning technically starts the day clients begin treatment at PCH. That means Program Directors are already thinking about the resources each client may need when they are ready for a lower level of care. We have found that it is also beneficial to have clients involved in the development of an aftercare plan.
During the course of treatment, clients and the treatment team develop an understanding of the treatment strategies best suited to the individual. Program Directors try to implement these proven strategies into the client’s aftercare plan as much as possible. Some common examples may include:
- Ongoing individual therapy
- Specialized groups
- Alumni groups
- Family therapy
- Case management
Following formal treatment, Assistant Program Directors step in to ensure the client has ongoing support and has set aftercare appointments leading up to discharge.
Meet Our Team of Client Program Directors
We cannot overstate the importance of our Client Program Directors in the success of our approach. If you think having a Program Director can make a difference when working toward your recovery goals, we encourage you to meet our treatment team and find out if PCH is right for you.