Bridgeway Behavioral Health (BBH) started serving Eastern Missouri as an outpatient program for substance abuse and co-occurring disorders in the late 1970s. Today Bridgeway Behavioral Health operates structured inpatient and outpatient counseling for adults and adolescents dealing with chemical dependency and trauma—particularly domestic violence and assault. The newest jewel in the Bridgeway Behavioral Health collection is The Farm, a 60-day residential program for boys between the ages of 13 and 19. At this point, The Farm can accommodate 12 boys, but the plan eventually is to house girls as well. Winfield, Missouri is certainly replete with natural beauty, but The Farm is not The Ritz: clients do real farm work in addition to schoolwork and therapy.
Accommodations and Food
Twelve boys between the ages of 13 and 19 live together on The Farm’s 96-acre woodland property. The actual residential building is a simple one story red brick house. Up to five clients may share a bedroom; all the beds are twins, some single and others bunk beds.
This BBH facility is different from the adult residences, mainly because the structure at The Farm is based on the therapeutic community model and greater responsibility is expected from the clients. Clients on the farm are responsible for chores, including meal preparation and maintenance of the farm itself. Residents eat together at a simple wooden dining table in the spacious kitchen; often dining on food they’ve grown themselves.
Treatment and Staff
Residential life on The Farm looks different than a standard BBH residential program. The average stay is 60 days, but earlier and later discharges are possible based on clinical recommendation. Clients are expected to learn accountability and gain self-esteem through working the farm in addition to their therapy. While the boys do get dual diagnosis support here, they need to have completed detox when they arrive. Conveniently, BBH offers detox services in St. Louis.
Therapy on The Farm is not 12-step in orientation, but employs multiple modalities. Trained counselors lead clients in group therapy employing techniques of Motivational Interviewing (MI), CBT and DBT. In process group, clients have the opportunity to discuss any interpersonal issues that come up on a daily basis. At The Farm, a theme is set for every day—an intention to work on or be mindful of, such as self esteem. Clients on The Farm also continue with their education while working and doing daily therapy. An online accredited school allows residents to work towards their high school credits while in treatment.
Clients are meant to invest in their temporary home. The actual farm work includes everything from animal care and support to gardening and land management. Once a week, clients have “Double Scrub,” several hours when they give the house a thorough cleaning. Before graduating, they propose a potential service project to organize.
The staff-to-client ratio on the farm is low, so clients are always under a watchful eye. The team is comprised of community support specialists, techs, licensed substance abuse counselors, teachers, a psychiatrist, nurse, an equine therapist and peer specialists.
Adolescent clients who don’t want to or can’t do inpatient treatment but who need something more intensive than the occasional group can participate in day treatment at the West County of Olivette BBH offices. In-home family therapy is also an option. BBH cooperates with schools and juvenile justice staff to provide drug testing information and progress reports.
BBH also provides Intensive Outpatient (IOP) services for adolescents in the vulnerable afterschool hours from three offices in Olivette, West County and St. Charles. After school hours run Monday through Thursday from 4 until 6:30 pm. In the summer, “Camp Bridgeway” runs from 10 am to 3 pm. Clients are treated using CBT, DBT, recreational and family therapy—the frequency and intensity of services depending completely on the clinical recommendation for the particular client.
An equine therapist leads clients in exploring their behavior through animal-assisted therapy. A certified art therapist gives clients the opportunity express themselves in painting, sculpture and collage. Music and adventure therapy are also part of the residential program.
Adolescent outpatient clients are treated to outings like mural painting, canoeing on Creve Coeur Lake, visiting local museums and fishing.
Bridgeway Behavioral Health The Farm clients are learning to be of service and what it means to do meaningful work, in school, on the land and both creatively and therapeutically. Adolescents also have access to the full continuum of care, from detox to outpatient services, for the fraction of the cost of other residential programs for adolescents. Bridgeway Behavioral Health has been providing relief from substance abuse and co-occurring disorders for over 30 years, and its services are extensive—a good indication of success.
Bridgeway Behavioral Health The Farm
PO Box 270
Winfield, MO 63389
Bridgeway Behavioral Health The Farm Cost: Sliding scale (30 days). Reach Bridgeway Behavioral Health The Farm by phone at (636)-224-1000 or by email. Find Bridgeway Behavioral Health The Farm on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google+ and LinkedIn
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