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Schools & Program Visits - Jul, 1999 Issue #59 

San Marcos Treatment Center
Part of The Brown Schools
San Marcos, Texas
Sue Forsburg,

Visit Report by: Jodi Tuttle, Roving Reporter
March, 1999

Arriving at this scenic, wooded hillside campus brought the peaceful feeling that always occurs when I feel attuned to nature. San Marcos Treatment Center encompasses 62 acres in a university community between Austin and San Marcos. Outdoor therapy abounds on this campus that includes swimming pools, gymnasiums, playing fields and a ropes course built among trees. 

One could sense a feeling of well being, knowing that this facility, which was begun in 1940, continues to deliver clinical expertise while responding with new and innovative approaches to patientsí changing needs. Since this facility is a fully accredited psychiatric hospital and residential treatment center through the Joint Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO), they specialize in treating challenging issues for adolescents and young adults, ages 12-23, who have not had sustained success in other settings. San Marcos used creative treatment approaches that consider the unique needs of each individual. The hospitalís biopsychosocial treatment approach recognizes each individualís emotional, physical and social composition. Several programs are available. 

The Prescription Plan Program highly interested me. This 15-day to 90-day, intensive evaluation, assessment and treatment program integrates extensive aftercare planning and implementation. Patients appropriate for this program are those who exhibit aggressive and unmanageable behavior that is disruptive to normal milieu activities, patients who appear to be resistant to treatment, and those who have moved through treatment programs without lasting effects. During this phase, hospital staff identifies and facilitates individualized, comprehensive aftercare in the community where the patient will be going. 

Other programs include the Neuropsychiatric Program and an Adolescent Psychosocial Model Residential Program. The Neuropsychiatric Program is an age appropriate, developmentally appropriate program designed specifically for adolescents and young adults whose presenting problems or histories suggest an organic brain dysfunction, which complicates their psychiatric problems and causes inappropriate, and at times aggressive, emotional and social behaviors. The Psychosocial Model Residential Program emphasizes continued developmental growth, educational training and social skills acquisition. 

Treatment components include individual therapy, group therapy, family therapy, cognitive training, ropes training, recreational therapy, sexual trauma therapy, substance abuse therapy, speech and language therapy. In addition, there is an educational program with educational therapists as key members of the treatment team. A comprehensive assessment determines each personís functional level, and the results form the basis for individualized academic schedules. Vocational programs include valuable on-campus work experience in print shop, deli and general store. These experiences assist the student with resume preparation, job application and interviewing skills. 

I left this naturalistic campus thinking that it would be a great place for students who need to work on a General Education Development (GED) preparation, students with severe learning disabilities, or students who will be heading for a vocational career. The students that I talked with in the deli were indeed proud of their work and the skills they had gained in the vocational component of the program. I was also impressed with the level of staff expertise in the academic arena of the program. I had the feeling that they could be extremely capable of individualizing an academic program for those with learning disabilities.

Copyright © 1999, Woodbury Reports, Inc. (This article may be reproduced without prior approval if the copyright notice and proper publication and author attribution accompanies the copy.)

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