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Last Day at La Cheim

Today was my last day at La Cheim, and I hope fervently to never return. I got a lot out of my time there, but mostly only from the CBT group ... most of the rest was fairly low quality treatment, especially as compared to the similar program at Herrick Hospital. The worst part, though, was the food. Both Herrick and La Cheim provide lunch as part of the program, but Herrick gave vouchers redeemable at the hospital cafeteria, while La Cheim ... well ... I'm sure they do the best they can with the money they have, but they gave us food composed almost entirely of grease and carbs: chow mein, pizza, KFC, and deep-fried samosas. I fervently hated the food the whole time, especially since I was trying to eat healthier as part of my effort to lose weight.

But it wasn't just the food. Most of the counselors seemed poorly trained, especially for the specialist areas like art therapy. Even in the non-specialist groups, though, counselors taught exclusively by handing out xeroxes of pages from books and then simply guiding us through reading the text and doing the books' exercises. Some counselors managed the open-ended support groups well enough, but throughout the program discipline was lax. People who were unable or unwilling to adhere to group norms were often allowed to disrupt the treatment of everyone else, probably in some Berkeley-style effort to be "inclusive" and/or "accepting."

Anyway, it's done. I'm happy. I'll now have more time for solitary pursuits (and I've been hurting for solitude this whole time), even just solitary pursuits like doing laundry and emptying the dishwasher (which kind of stuff has eaten up a large amount of my "solitude" time for the past several weeks). For 3 months, I've been feeling pressed on all sides, spending so much of my time surrounded by lots of people (some of whom were incredibly irritating) and having so little time and/or emotional energy left over for my own creative interests and social activities. Now I get to go back to my Thursday morning writing group with Julia and Crystal! Yay!

If I ever need to go to partial hospitalization again, I will definitely choose Herrick (if given the choice). This time I didn't have a choice, but now that I've experienced both, I know which I prefer. I like the laid-back atmosphere at La Cheim, especially as contrasted with the sometimes fascist-feeling atmosphere of Herrick's program, but in every other way Herrick is far superior. If nothing else, their counselors seem fully trained. Fingers crossed, I'll never need PHP again, of course.

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