Mood and Anxiety Programs

The Hills Clinic Mood and Anxiety In-Program

This mood and anxiety inpatient program consists of 15 modules delivered over 21 days. Each module is delivered over a 60 to 90min group therapy program by experienced psychologists and psychiatrists. The program is interactive and stimulating and is designed to challenge negative thinking.

The modules are Cognitive Behaviour Therapy based. The program is delivered in conjunction with a group of supplementary modules. Patients are provided with a workbook that contains information about each module and is an essential reference book after discharge. Some modules are listed below.

  • ABC Model – Identifying thoughts
  • Healthy Thinking (Cognitive Challenging)
  • Exposure 1 – Rationale for exposure, conducting exposure
  • Coping Strategies (to replace triggers, the difference being emphasis is on what can be done)
  • Change – Building motivation to change
  • Core Beliefs
  • Behavioural Strategies to combat Depression and Anxiety
  • Snakes and Ladders (dealing with relapse)

Supplementary Programs

Everyone is individual and has individual needs. Sometimes material needs to be presented differently or a different modality of treatment is needed to break through difficult and persistent problems. The Hills Clinic supplementary programs offer an alternative to the CBT approach and help patients see things from a different perspective. Some of the programs are more behavioural and can offer a welcomed break. While there are several programs on offer, you and your treating psychiatrists will develop an individualised program of supplementary programs based on your needs.

Horticulture Therapy

It is a known fact that gardening is good for the body and therapeutic for the soul. The garden setting for therapeutic purposes is believed to have originated in the nineteenth century with Dr Benjamin Rush otherwise known as “The Father of American Psychiatry”. Throughout the ages, gardens have been revered as a place of tranquillity and peace where one can escape to rejuvenate. This has given rise to the concept of horticultural therapy that is growing in popularity today.

There are many benefits to horticultural therapy and its non-invasive application is suitable for everyone. Therapeutic gardening allows individuals the opportunity to connect to the natural world. The Rusk Institute of Rehabilitation Medicine in New York initiated the first horticultural therapy program in 1958 and currently offers various specialty horticultural therapy programs geared to specific groups. Horticultural therapy is becoming widely accepted in our community.

The Hills Clinic horticulture program is in partnership with NSW Cultivate and has been a very popular addition to the programs offered at the Hospital.
If you are being admitted to the inpatient program, make sure you bring a garden shirt and hat to get involved in the fun. The Hills Clinic is set on two acres of semi rural land and sits adjacent to fields of market gardens in Sydney’s northwest. This is an ideal location to enjoy the outdoors and reconnect with nature.

Art Therapy

In art therapy the individual does not make an art object for visually appealing aesthetics. Instead, the individual is encouraged to engage with the art making process in order to express the self. The extent of self-expression through the process of art making enables the individual to communicate their inner thoughts and feelings in a manner which is not restricted by the individual’s vocabulary. The individual cannot excuse themselves from the art making process by stating that they are not creative as the individual is encouraged to engage with the art making experience solely to express the self and it really does not matter what the final art object looks like.

The art therapist will steer away from any form of artistic direction and instead chooses to encourage the individual to enter into an art making process that is playful, spontaneous and, most of all, enjoyable. The individuals are encouraged to engage with their process of playful and spontaneous art making in order to generate a level of self-expression. The individuals involved with this process of expressive art making are able to safely explore and rediscover their own personal sense of playfulness and spontaneity in the security of the art therapy environment and adapt these elements into their life.

Once the art making process has come to an end, the art therapist will encourage the individual to enter into a dialogue around their own art object. This dialogue often reflects how the art making process felt, any meaning attributed to the art object and what the art object may be reflecting back to the individual. This discussion process within art therapy enables the individual to differentiate between their own needs and desires and the needs and desires of the other group members. Through recognising the differences and similarities between themselves and the other group members the individual is supported towards becoming aware of their own sense of self-worth and identity and calls for the individual to take ownership over and responsibility to their own self-care and life.

Acceptance Commitment Therapy (ACT)

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, known as ‘ACT’ (pronounced as the word ‘act’) is a mindfulness based behavioural therapy that challenges the ground rules of most Western psychology. It utilizes a mixture of metaphor, paradox, and mindfulness skills along with a wide range of experiential exercises and values-guided behavioural interventions. ACT has proven effective with a diverse range of clinical conditions such as depression, OCD, workplace stress, chronic pain, the stress of terminal cancer, anxiety, PTSD, anorexia, addictions and even schizophrenia. Studies have shown that even with only four hours of ACT, hospital re-admission rates for schizophrenic patients dropped by 50% over the next six months.

The goal of ACT is to create a rich and meaningful life while accepting the pain that inevitably goes with it. ‘ACT’ is a good abbreviation because this therapy is about taking effective action guided by our deepest values and in which we are fully present and engaged. It is only through mindful action that we can create a meaningful life. ACT teaches mindfulness skills as an effective way to handle these private experiences. Mindfulness is consciously bringing awareness to your here-and-now experience with openness, interest and receptiveness.

Process Therapy

A process group is expected to increase emotional awareness and relational understanding between self and others.
The work of putting emotional experiences into words can give an individual the cognitive and emotional tools that lend to self-learning, insight and the potential to function with an increased sense of freedom and with increased sophistication.

Process therapy draws from a psychodynamic perspective and is based upon developmental theory. By engaging with one another on different emotional levels, individuals will hopefully gain wider perspectives about the various ways they relate to their inner world and understand how this becomes reflected in their relationships with others.