Gaudenzia, Inc. Fountain Springs Women/Children Program is located in Ashland, Pennsylvania, but the organization also provides addiction and substance abuse rehabilitation services to patients located in Maryland and Delaware. The mission of Gaudenzia is to help patients “affected by drug and alcohol dependency, mental illness, and related conditions to achieve a better quality of life and become accountable individuals.” To that effect, the facility employs a wide variety of techniques designed to help families and communities to overcome the challenges presented by addiction. Most of Gaudenzia’s patients suffer primarily from heroin abuse, but the facility also regularly treats addictions relating to alcohol, cocaine, marijuana, and prescription drugs.
Operating since 1969, the organization provides treatment for men and women alike, but specializes in programs for pregnant mothers and adolescents. Additional specialties include patients suffering from co-occurring disorders and individuals currently involved in the criminal justice system. All forms of treatment are comprised of adult residential services or adolescent services, outpatient services, mental health residential services, and/or transitional and permanent housing. By offering such a comprehensive therapeutic toolset, the facility is able to provide patients with the best chance of achieving successful recovery. Each rehabilitation service is backed by Gaudenzia’s emphasis on research-based addiction treatment and recovery.
The facility is a member of the World Federation of Therapeutic Communities, as well as the Treatment Communities of America. By associating itself with other similarly prestigious organizations, Gaudenzia ensures that its treatments will always be at the forefront of the field. The facility is therefore also affiliated with Drug and Alcohol Service Providers of Pennsylvania, Drug Free Workplace PA, Maryland Addiction Director’s Counsel, Pennsylvania Recovery Organizations Alliance, and The Philadelphia Alliance. The organization has also partnered with a number of media organizations, such as radio stations and television networks, in order to achieve maximum visibility and to help as many patients as possible.
In the course of nearly 50 years of providing service, Gaudenzia has met the needs of over 100,000 individual patients across a combination of 90 different facilities. By offering a continuum of care, patients are guided to long-term recovery through tenets of mutual concern, personal responsibility, research, and community education.
The amenities and services offered by Gaudenzia have evolved since their humble beginnings, but they have always retained the ethos of compassion and professionalism that the organization has striven to embody. When the residential facility was founded in 1969, most of its patients’ food and all of the facility’s furniture came from donated contributions. A mere 10 years later, Gaudenzia was proud to be one of the first residential therapeutic providers allowing women to bring their children with them when they enrolled in treatment. Now its considerable range of residential treatment centers offers modern amenities and treatment in a variety of accessible locations, but Gaudenzia has never changed its core principles of providing a quality continuum of care. This can be demonstrated with even the most cursory glances at one of its flagship facilities.
The Fountain Springs facility in Ashland, Pennsylvania is located amidst plenty of scenic farmland and wooded hillsides. Ample parking is available for patients to attend therapy sessions, thereby removing an inconvenience all-too-often associated with seeking treatment of any kind. The facility embraces accessibility even further by having an on-site helipad for emergency evacuations. The beautiful environment of the Fountain Springs locations actually helps patients to achieve recovery that much quicker, as a relaxing and pleasant environment is strongly correlated with relaxation, reduction of stress, and, ultimately, recovery. Gaudenzia strives to place its other facilities in locations that similarly strike a balance between accessibility, convenience, and aesthetic value.
Gaudenzia fosters a sense of community amongst its patients by hosting multiple graduation ceremonies throughout the year. Graduates are encouraged to form Gaudenzia Alumni Associations, which are comprised of clients who have successfully completed treatment and attended graduation. These alumni are able to meet patients currently undergoing rehabilitation and to provide support, inspiration, and guidance. In conjunction with recreational opportunities such as cookouts, athletic events, and motivational speaking engagements, Gaudenzia uses its alumni network to enrich the lives of its patients. This is a type of amenity which should not be undervalued, as it speaks directly to the quality of life that Gaudenzia residents can expect to achieve while remaining in residential therapy.
Gaudenzia offers residential services to adults with substance abuse disorders or mental health problems. Residential services may be short, intermediate, or long-term in duration, and programs are available to adults, women with children, adolescents, homeless patients, and HIV-symptomatic patients. By casting such a wide net, Gaudenzia ensures that the needs of its community are met and that no patient will be turned away if the organization is capable of helping. Additional residential services are available to patients experiencing co-occurring disorders, which are diagnosed when an individual presents with both a mental health disorder and a substance abuse problem. The type of treatment called for in these cases is necessarily specialized, and Gaudenzia is fully qualified to provide such services.
Of course, not all patients require residential therapy. Outpatient services are also available for those individuals whose problems may not be severe enough to warrant inpatient treatment. The organization has several varieties of outpatient treatment: intensive outpatient programs, partial hospitalization, and diversified prevention programs. Outpatient therapy allows participants to receive counseling and treatment without compromising their careers or education, as they can remain active in their outside lives while still attending therapy. In this way, patients can progress on the road to recovery with minimal disruption to their lives and relationships. Outpatient therapy is available to adults and adolescents alike, and treatment plans are developed according to the needs of both demographics.
Additional therapeutic programs have been designed to address the needs of imprisoned individuals. Substance abuse and co-occurring disorders are also present in the prison population, and Gaudenzia is committed to serving their needs so that patients involved in the criminal justice system have the opportunity to regain control of their lives and return to being functional members of society. To this end, the organization also provides transitional and permanent housing. This is a drug-free living environment available to patients who have completed treatment and who may need additional supervision during the ongoing recovery process. This affordable option is also particularly useful to patients after the completion of Gaudenzia’s prison services, as they may have nowhere else to turn upon release.
One of Gaudenzia’s specialties is the treatment of co-occurring disorders. These are diagnosed when a patient is experiencing both mental health problems and a substance abuse disorder. These conditions can be especially complicated, as symptoms of one problem may disguise themselves as symptoms of the other. For example, it may not be obvious when an alcoholic patient is also suffering from depression. A patient whose depression was not diagnosed would find that his or her symptoms did not lessen even if the alcohol-related problems were successfully resolved. As such, the correct diagnosis of co-occurring disorders is of the utmost importance. The staff at Gaudenzia is specially trained in the identification of these kinds of issues and in the implementation of appropriate treatment plans.
These plans will usually consist of integrated treatment, which involves addressing both the mental health condition and the substance abuse issue at the same time. Treating each disorder separately rarely results in the complete resolution of either; therefore, integrated treatment calls for a plan designed to look at a patient’s entire symptomatic profile and to enter comprehensive therapy accordingly. Integrated treatment usually involves shared decision making, a single treatment plan, case management, social skills training, pharmacological treatment, and community interaction. By reconstructing or reframing a patient’s entire perspective on life, their co-occurring disorders can be treated with a high degree of success.
Gaudenzia also specializes in the use of therapeutic communities in order to treat addiction. This model of rehabilitation provides patients with a structured schedule, learned behavioral tools, and social skills. The therapeutic community approach is supported by research conducted by the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Treatment takes place in a drug-free, residential setting which allows patients to experience a fully-functioning “home” environment. For some patients, this will represent a process in which they can re-learn social skills that have been damaged by substance abuse. For others, the residential home may be their first exposure to a healthy living environment. For both types of patient, this treatment model offers an excellent opportunity to enter rehabilitation in an evidence-based manner that has already helped many of Gaudenzia’s residents.
The staff at Gaudenzia, Inc. Fountain Springs Women/Children Program is led by President Michael Harle, a Masters-level chemical dependency counselor who developed drug and alcohol treatment programs in three separate Pennsylvania state correction facilities. Other members of the organization’s administrative team boast degrees from Washington & Jefferson College, the University of Dayton School of Law, St. John’s University, the University of Massachusetts, and the California University of Pennsylvania. The combined experience of these highly-qualified individuals has been put to work to ensure that the facilities operated under Gaudenzia’s purview are operated in a professional manner that employs the latest evidence-based developments in the fields of mental health and substance abuse treatment.
For its facility-level employees, such as counselors and clinicians, Gaudenzia offers continued educational development through its Workforce Development Program. Employees are encouraged to earn college credits towards additional degrees while also learning clinical, professional, leadership, and administrative skills. By partnering with several institutions of higher learning, Gaudenzia allows its staff members to evolve professionally in order to provide the highest level of care for the organization’s patients. Patients are therefore able to take advantage of the skills and dedication of employees who are continually being exposed to the cutting edge of the mental health field. Gaudenzia cultivates an environment where its employees genuinely want to be there, in the belief that this will only enhance the level of service experienced by the facility’s patients.
Substance abuse counselors, program directors and supervisors, case managers, house managers, transitional living coordinators, certified peer specialists, and community affairs coordinators are just some of the dedicated professionals with whom Gaudenzia patients will be working. Consistently excellent patient testimonials suggest that they are continuing to succeed at providing the kind of care Gaudenzia’s residents require.
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