Guest: Jennifer Steiner
Presenter: Neal Howard
Guest Bio: Jennifer Steiner has a history of excellence in healthcare delivery, and a proven record of success. Before becoming CEO at InnerChange, Jennifer served in executive roles for leading healthcare providers across the country. Now, she is making it her life’s work to foster a difference in the lives of the families InnerChange serves. Jennifer holds an MBA from the University of Michigan – Stephen M. Ross School of Business, and earned her Bachelor’s degree in Liberal Arts from Colorado College.
Segment overview: Jennifer Steiner, CEO of InnerChange, a family of residential and outpatient mental health treatment programs for adolescents, young adults and their families, talks about applying the organization’s successful therapeutic principles used in creating healthy family systems (CORE Methodology) to the Company itself, and the “One Family” culture.
Health Professional Radio – Mental Health Treatment
Neal Howard: Hello and welcome to Health Professional Radio I’m your host Neal Howard, thank you for joining us today. Our guest in studio is Jennifer Steiner, she’s the CEO of InnerChange, it’s a family and residential and outpatient mental health treatment program for adolescents, young adults and their families. And she’s with us today to talk about CORE methodology. Welcome to the program Jennifer.
Jennifer Steiner: Hi Neal thank you for having me.
N: You’re the CEO of InnerChange, talk about InnerChange . What exactly is InnerChange and how long has it been in existence?
J: InnerChange is a mental healthcare company. We’ve been in existence for actually almost 20 years and some former fashion. And we provide primarily residential treatment services for adolescents and young adults who are experiencing a fairly severe mental health issues. And we also have now a community-based offering where we provide wrap around support for families who have adolescents to young adults that are struggling to thrive in their home environment and where outpatient therapy just isn’t enough.
N: When you say wrap around, are you talking about counselling for the patient and the family as well as the type of support or is there more involved?
J: Exactly. We have teams that provides both a youth mentor as well as a parent coach and that team of folks is responsible for supporting both the parent and the child as well as facilitating really strong connectedness for that family within the community, so, helping them to tap into other resources that will help them in their healing journey.
N: What would you say set you apart from some of the other facilities or programs that I’m sure you’re aware of?
J: Yes, this is my favorite topic and you touched on it in your introduction. InnerChange is doing some things that are truly unprecedented in mental health in general even just beyond the work with the adolescents and young adults. It is in within our CORE methodology that you reference which C.O.R.E stands for four different concepts. If I can take just a moment I give you a little overview of each. The C in C.O.R.E. stands for the Connectedness and what we really mean by that is a family systems approach. We don’t fix broken kids, kids have trouble because they have a family systems that needs to get better, that needs to learn how to function in a healthier way. So we approached the problems at a kid maybe presenting with by addressing the entire system and giving therapy and coaching and training to an entire family system on how to improve the way they function together. The O in C.O.R.E. is the next concept, and that stands for outcomes. This is very, very important. We are, for over a decade, we have been measuring the effectiveness of the treatment that we provide. We can tell you if someone is improved in their diagnosis and other surrounding issues when they go through our treatment. We can tell you that they stay out of treatment for years afterwards, and even on top of that what we can do is we can watch the patient and the family throughout the course of treatment and make course corrections on the way that we’re treating this family based on the data. We are doing things with data that truly are unprecedented in mental health. The R is the third concept that stands for Relational, what that means is we are not a medical model approach. We don’t have kids sitting, laying on a couch with the therapist sort of talking them through their issues. We have real relationships with our kids, we do real experiences with them, because we find that actually the relationship that they develop through treatment are really the motivator for them to get well. We are doing it through and via relationships versus walking someone through therapy in a medical sort of way. And then the last piece is Experiential, E, Experiential and I just touched on that but what it means is we get kids get out doing stuff in order for them to get well. It’s much more realistic to work through the challenges a child might face as they’re hanging off of a side of big rock face and feeling terror than again sitting on a couch in a therapist office.
N: When you talk about severe mental health issues, are we talking anything from severe depression in an adolescent or young adult? Or are we talking about things that are much more in my mind, the layman’s mind as severe as schizophrenic tendencies, anti-social things and that. When it comes to severity that a child presents, where do your services and someone else takes over?
J: Great question and thank you for clarifying that. I like to define the kinds of treatment that we provide as recoverable mental health issues. We are not a provider for what I would deem as permanent and acute psychosis like, Schizophrenia and some of the things that you’ve listed. But when I say severe, what I mean is that there are many of the kids that come in to treatment within our facilities that have been hospitalized for suicide things, where their families are feeling very worried about their safety. And often, it’s not uncommon that when we have a child admitted to treatment, mom and dad have not been able to leave the house for months because they feel like their child isn’t safe. Severity is then our safety and the conditions are what I would deem more recoverable meaning depression, anxiety, kids that have got through to some kind of trauma, children that are self-harming, bipolar disorder, borderline impersonality, those are the things.
N: In a course of treatment if certain things are revealed in the course of that treatment that may raise a red flag as far as some wrongdoing or criminal activity, do you have support in that arena as well? And do you guide these families through that process or do you leave them to do it legally on their own?
J: That’s a great question. I think what we do well is we know what we’re capable of treating and when things have gone outside the scope. If we began to see that there is some kind of psychosis emerging that is going to need much more … medical intervention. We will help a family to transition into the appropriate level of care. That would be the case in any instance where we we’re beyond our capability set.
N: Does your care and treatment ever involve any pharmaceuticals?
J: Well we do have a Psychiatry as part of our offering. We have a collaboration between the psychiatrist, our therapist and clinicians, and staff as well as the family and oftentimes the home psychiatrist. The psychiatrist that may have been treating the child for years previous, so it’s a collaboration that we have. Then we’ll make a decision around for the appropriate medication for kids. But many, many of our kids are augmenting the systemic treatment with appropriate medications for their conditions.
N: When it comes to the sharing of information about your patients and your clients and their families, is there anything in place where the family or the patient can consent to have their results shared with another facility or other doctors just in case they find themselves in another part of the country or world? Or just for research purposes in order to make your services even better?
J: Absolutely. We are, as I touched on the beginning of my interview, we are passionate about the power of data and information in the treatment of kids and families and then the continuum of care. We have been a leader and nudging providers both better high reputed then we are lower .. to be willing to share the data. Because as earning data and holding it to ourselves doesn’t due a tremendous amount of good for the future of that child. We work very closely to transfer the data to the next care provider and to actually be available as a reference for treatment if things are going well or there needs to be additional conversation about the course of treatment.
N: Well I’m hoping you’d come in and the talk with us the other segments will a little bit more about your organization and your CORE methodology as well as the other things that InnerChange is involved in.
J: Thank you Neal, it’s been a pleasure.
N: Thank you. You’ve been listening to Health Professional Radio, I’m your host Neal Howard in studio with Jennifer Steiner, CEO of InnerChange, which is a family, residential and outpatient mental health treatment program for adolescents, young adults and their families. Transcripts and audio of this program are available at healthprofessionalradio.com.au and also at hpr.fm and you can subscribe to this podcast on iTunes.