Crisis Residential Program Turns 19

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

The MCES Crisis Residential Program (CRP) turned 19 this year.

CRP is an important part of MCES's continuum of crisis services. It has been a stop on the road to recovery for hundreds of people since opening in 1998 on the grounds of the Valley Forge Medical Center. It quickly became known as "the Ranch House" because of the architectural style of the facility.

Now almost 20 years and two moves later, the program has been housed for several years in a three-story building on the grounds of Norristown State Hospital. Many still refer to it as the Ranch House though it more closely resembles a farm house.

The program is recovery oriented/trauma focused care. It offers short-term, supportive treatment in a home-like environment. It is a caring setting for individuals 18 or older needing a level of care between outpatient and hospitalization. At least two experienced mental health professionals are on duty at all times. In addition, Mike Solomon, a Certified Peer Specialist, is available to give support through counseling and groups.

A typical day begins at 8 a.m. with distribution of medication. A community meeting follows around 9:30 a.m. where staff and individuals talk about what's happening and goals for the day. Additional group meetings happen throughout the day tailored to the goals identified in the morning meeting. Dinner is served around 6:15 p.m. followed by a final group meeting at 8 p.m.

Coping skills are taught and stressed. Individuals take those skills with them when they leave after an average stay of a week. Staff support is highly individualized, as in the case of a woman who needed to take a walk when she became angry. Staff would head out on the campus with her, which helped her develop skills for dealing with her anger.

"We help individuals take responsibility for themselves," says Dawn Yavuz, MA, LPC, who directs the program. "If they are experiencing a crisis situation, we encourage them to use the skills. It's a good experiential learning process."