Adding to its unique offerings for specialized care for children dealing with trauma and mental health issues, Perimeter Behavioral Hospital of Springfield recently added a research-based therapeutic sensory room. “We were conceptualizing a comforting and calming space that patients would be excited to go use,” said Crystal Hanson, Recreational Therapy Manager. Director of Business Development, Alyssa Ingle, LPC went on to say, “The room was designed to help patients self-regulate their emotions, de-escalate and relax.”
The sensory room features interactive flooring, modified lighting and therapeutic seating. It is visually stimulating and among its many features are a sensory station containing tactile bins, an aquarium bubble tube and a heavy work station.
Alyssa Ingle stated, “It provides an opportunity for patients to learn how to use their senses to self-regulate and explore new coping skills. Patients have already begun to utilize the room and we are seeing just how beneficial it can be.” She went on to say, “While it’s really fun and tactile, it’s not a playroom. There is always a treatment goal in mind with exercises and activities aimed at helping patients express their emotions.”
In addition to the sensory room the hospital is gearing up to provide play therapy for times when indicated in treatment. “We’re really excited about the utilization of play therapy at this facility. These additional treatment options aren’t services which are provided in many settings like ours and we’re very proud to offer them,” said Ingle.
Play therapy is used for younger patients to promote and increase communication and coping skills. The play therapy room includes many types of toys, musical instruments and expressive art supplies. “I am really excited to offer this to the hospital and feel it will benefit a lot of children from all different backgrounds,” expressed Elizabeth Farrah, Director of Clinical Services.
Ingle relayed that this type of therapy is especially beneficial to the many pre-adolescent children Perimeter serves. She explained, “The first thing we learn to do as children is play, and we have a lot of patients dealing with difficult trauma experiences, so this is another great way to help them learn how to cope.”
Prior to adding the Sensory Room, Perimeter Behavioral Health renovated and remodeled several areas throughout the building, most notably adding a recreation gymnasium with a gaming area. Patients utilize the gym for structured groups as well as open play. “Exercise is a powerful mental health tool to improve energy and self-esteem,” adds Hanson.
“The use of things like sensory rooms and the recreation gym is an innovative intervention that is getting attention from providers nationwide,” said Hanson, who designed and created Perimeter’s sensory room. She added that research has shown that sensory treatment is beneficial to patients who are in distress, anxious, agitated or potentially aggressive and also those suffering from trauma.
In summation, Robert Marsh, CEO said, “Perimeter is a community resource, and we want to be a source of hope at the same time. These innovative services will help us meet that goal. If we aren’t helping children find healing, we aren’t being true to our mission of providing hope and transforming lives.”
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