Hembrigg Park celebrates two more graduations

14th May 2018

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Heathcotes’ Hembrigg Park services in Morley recently celebrated two more graduations as service users JL and IR progressed from very different starting points to reach the same destination, completing their therapy programme and are now preparing for a transition to a more independent life.

When JL arrived at Hembrigg Park, she was very shy, had a high level of anxiety and engaged in self harming behaviours. IR, on the other hand, was so full of boundless energy that she literally had the staff running around after her.  Service Manager Kevin Wilburn summed it up when he said: “My first thought when I met IR was that I would need to invest in some running trainers!”

JL and IR are two very different personalities, but they both gained a great deal from their Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT) and, as their own learning developed, they revealed a shared kindness and empathy in supporting other service users along their transition journey.

Their DBT programme - delivered by our Clinical Psychologist, Dr Peter Burbidge - included a weekly skills group, weekly individual therapy and support in practicing skills which gave them an understanding of their emotions and how to recognise, express and regulate them.  The therapy helped them to work out distinctions between positive and negative behaviour patterns with modules in mindfulness, emotional regulation, distress tolerance and interpersonal effectiveness. The staff at Hembrigg Park have been trained in the skills learned in DBT and were able to support the programme in a residential setting. They have also received specialist training in working with Emotional Unstable Personality Disorder, a condition which both JL and IR are diagnosed with.

Over the course of her admission, JL’s confidence blossomed as she became more outgoing, began to show her natural sense of humour and found the courage write in front of others as part of group exercises which was a huge achievement. She became a senior group member and a role model for the newer admissions, teaching and advising them with the benefit of her own experiences. JL will be continuing this role whilst she prepares for her transition to her own flat.

Dr Peter Burbidge, Clinical Psychologist said of JL:

“Working with you over the last year has been very rewarding and I have taken great pleasure in seeing the many small changes in you that have contributed to the big differences I see when I talk to you now. I love your sense of humour and your confidence in trying new things and going to new places. I hope that this continues into the future. We will miss your steady approach and your calming influence as well as your friendship and sense of fun.”

Fellow service user, CG, said:

“Well done, JL! You did it. It’s been lovely spending time with you and getting to know you. Good luck for the future, I’ll miss you.”

Big-hearted IR will also be missed by everyone at Hembrigg Park. Thoughtful, caring and generous in nature, she has been learning to show the same compassion to herself as she does to others. IR has left many happy memories at Hembrigg Park and is now preparing to build a healthy, happy and satisfying life in the next stage of her journey which Heathcotes are supporting her with.

Cathy Conway, Specialist Occupational Therapist and Individual DBT Therapist, said of IR:

“It has been a privilege to work with you over the past year. I have noticed some real changes in you which have allowed us to see the caring and compassionate side of your nature which is a huge part of who you are.

You have been supportive of other service users, both inside and outside the group, and a real star in group at times. You are a free spirit so don’t ever lose that, just allow it to guide you towards building a life worth living!”

Fellow Hembrigg Park graduate, ML, said: “Whoop! You go IR! Remember all your skills and what you’ve learnt and it will help you in difficult situations. We will miss you!”

For more information on Heathcotes’ Personality Disorder services, please contact Natalia Lysiuk, our Head of Commissioning.


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