New Perspectives - May,
2002 Issue #93
Spring Lake Ranch
is a small therapeutic work community, for men and women 17 and older who have a psychiatric diagnosis and/or substance abuse. Some
residents have personality disorders or dual diagnoses. Many have had several hospitalizations and most have some college experience
and intend to return, others wish to start college. The ranch is also appropriate for applicants with no clear diagnosis who need
a supportive, challenging living situation to regain confidence and direction. The typical length of stay varies widely, averaging
from 6-8 months, with many going on to Ranch Aftercare, and then many return to the Ranch to assume a staff position.
The Ranch operates on a 600-acre farm, allowing for an extensive work program. Participants are offered AA/NA meetings and other substance
treatment options. The residential program has 30 beds, with both residents and staff living in cottages and small farmhouses, creating
a small village environment. Meals are shared in the main community building.
Community life is the essence of the program, with residents interacting in a working environment for 5 hours a day Monday- Friday,
doing both indoor and outdoor work. Daily connection with primary advisors and house advisors is required for every resident, with
a weekly review of treatment goals. Residents are trained in social and life skills, pre-vocational skills, chores and crew leadership
skills. Tutoring, GED and/or college courses can be arranged. Students are encouraged to participate in seasonal activities, cultural
events and creative projects.
The Ranch has a psychiatrist and psychiatric nurse on staff. There is 24-hour emergency psychiatric coverage. The doctor works directly
with residents and their treatment team. Residents are encouraged to participate in their own treatment planning and implementation.
Psychotherapy is also available locally on an individual basis when appropriate.
The Aftercare Program offers a range of living, work, and support services. Residents can either live in the Spring Lake Townhouse,
a seven unit supported apartment living program, or in more independent apartments, while they attend school, hold jobs, or return
to the Ranch for day programs. Aftercare clients work with case managers and continue with the Spring Lake psychiatrist.