Facilitating Discharge in State Psychiatric Institutions: A Group Intervention Strategy

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Despite more than 30 years of deinstitutionalization, a significant number of individuals continue to experience prolonged stays in state psychiatric hospitals. Many of these individuals appear to develop an ambivalence or resistance to discharge. This can itself contribute to further delay in discharge planning and implementation. We will describe a group intervention for persons with long stays labeled as “resistant.” This effort was guided by the premise that each individual could benefit from personally exploring those aspects of his or her experience that may be contributing to continued hospitalization. The group utilized standard methods of rehabilitation and training with strong emphasis on validating individual needs and feelings, peer support and practical results. After 11/2 years of group intervention, 5 of the 7 group members had achieved discharge and initial community success.

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