Art Therapy is provided to treat a wide range of psychological and behavioral symptoms. Art Therapy promotes neuroplasticity and is a highly effective treatment modality for TBI and PTS. Anyone, regardless of artistic skills or creative talent, can find positive results from engaging in Art Therapy. Art Therapy provides patients a glimpse into their internal world, increasing self-awareness. It involves verbal and visual processing, sustained attention, judgment, problem-solving, and memory. Making art can offer improvement in those areas, promote relaxation, mindfulness, emotional regulation, and supports brain health.
Exploration, self-discovery, self-compassion/acceptance, and holistic emotional/psychological growth are among the many benefits that can be achieved through Art Therapy.
Our behavioral health clinicians provide specialized psychotherapeutic care with a solid understanding of TBI and its reciprocal interaction with traumatic stress, and moral injury. Treatment occurs within the framework of a highly contextualized understanding of the cultures and unique behavioral healthcare needs of Veterans and First Responders. Rather than using a typical psychotherapeutic approach that focuses on self-insight and feelings, our psychotherapists focus on the brain injury and ways to deal with its consequences. The approach is action oriented and teaches coping techniques to develop effective strategies for coping with the unique stressors, personality changes, and emotional challenges secondary to the TBI.
The focus of treatment also involves providing trauma therapy to minimize the interplay between TBI, post-traumatic stress, and moral injury. Unprocessed trauma can serve as a major barrier to the healing process, evidence-based interventions such as EMDR are provided to dial down the trauma response and help the individual reach an adaptive resolution. The ultimate treatment goal is to help the individual gain a new, healthier, sense of self.
Integrative Therapies observe mind-body-spirit relationship and incorporate mindfulness, meditation, and expressive arts, such as music and dance. Integrative Therapies at MIBH include trauma-informed yoga, breathwork techniques, mindfulness practices, neurologic music therapy, reiki energy healing, and dance/movement therapy.
Mind-Body Skills and Movement groups explore these diverse forms of verbal and non-verbal expression. Trauma-informed yoga includes yin yoga, restorative yoga, hatha, and kundalini practices with intentional movement and verbal dialogue. Mind-Body Skills will incorporate energy healing, mindfulness practices, breathwork, and grounding techniques. In addition to these groups, Integrative Therapy also uses music and dance in a therapeutic framework. Empowerment, grief and loss, resilience, personal journey, and trauma are just a few themes that may be explored in music therapy and dance/movement therapy.
Neurology’s goal is the evaluation and treatment of TBI and related psychological health disorders. An important component of care is the specialty of neurology, every person seen at the MIBH receives regular neurologic care along with access to behavioral neurology consultation as needed. In the evaluation week, a neurologic assessment begins with a review of medical history and the information gathered from the “fishbowl”, then a complete neurological examination and detailed mental status testing.
During the IOP, the role of neurology is to follow patients as they receive treatment from all the MIBH professionals involved in interdisciplinary care. In addition, neurologic expertise is always available for prompt attention to any medical issue that may arise, including patient care that may be required within the MIBH or in the University of Colorado Health system at the Anschutz Medical Campus.
While all MIBH patients have TBI, the vast majority present with behavioral health concerns such as depression, anxiety, PTSD, substance use, suicidality, insomnia, and disrupted relationships. For this reason, all patients at MIBH receive either a psychological (Psych) or neuropsychological (NP) evaluation during the Evaluation phase of treatment. We know patients come to us concerned about being judged by mental health professionals and have difficulty feeling vulnerable. We aim to set them at ease by providing a caring clinical approach.
NP evaluation provides information related to cognitive and psychiatric diagnoses, a treatment plan, and can provide data to monitor the course of recovery. This data is analyzed in a whole-body context including sleep disorders, chronic pain, psychological distress, psychiatric symptoms, and fatigue. This analysis contributes to an understanding of the root causes of impairments.
The role of Physical Therapy at the MIBH is to evaluate and treat persistent post concussive symptoms in our patients and determine how they impact daily life.
Evaluation includes comprehensive balance and gait assessments, neurological examination, multi-sensory management assessment (visual, vestibular/inner ears, body and limb sensory systems), and musculoskeletal screening. Multi-sensory management is critical to our day-to-day lives. It is foundational to body control, orientation, and behavioral control, allowing us to tolerate several external stimuli at once like grocery stores, traffic, or interpersonal interactions. Identifying impairments of function or difficulty processing sensory stimuli is crucial as it can lead to persistent symptoms like fatigue, irritability, dizziness and/or nausea.
Treatment is aimed at improving brain health, daily function, participation, and quality of life. One-on-one training includes an innovative multi-faceted vestibular-vision program (progressive combination of balance and vision therapies) and exercise training such as resistance and aerobic training, and group aquatic therapy.
Speech Language Pathologists (SLPs) at MIBH specialize in traumatic brain injury (TBI) rehabilitation, cognitive-communication science, and individualized medical care for complex health needs. TBI and complex medical conditions can impact the ability to focus, remember, problem solve and communicate. An evaluation will assess problems with communication, speech, hearing skills, cognitive functioning, and the aerodigestive system (breathing & swallowing) that may be relevant to medical history and brain health.
During the Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP) treatment for cognitive communication skills and how these abilities impact symptoms like fatigue, feeling overwhelmed, and difficulties in workplace, community, or household will occur. Our SLP team will provide individual and group treatments shaped by individual priorities in rehabilitation based on close communication with the interdisciplinary clinical team.