Established in 1984, Spirit of Gheel, Inc. is a private, non-profit residential treatment community located in a rural area of Chester County, PA for adults suffering from severe, persistent mental illness.
A Strength-Based Approach to Mental Health Treatment
Many residential treatment programs for mental illness focus on pathology: they analyze what is not working in their clients’ lives and try to correct the problems. Over thirty years’ experience working with mentally ill adults has shown us that such an approach may be counterproductive. Instead of supporting individuals struggling with serious mental illnesses, a pathology-based approach can make it harder for them to feel secure and confident enough to try out new ways of thinking and acting.
At Spirit of Gheel, we focus not on pathology but on power. We help adults with serious and persistent mental illness — whom we call “friends” — to use their unique strengths to find individual pathways to wellness and recovery.
Residential Psychiatric Treatment in an Idyllic Rural Setting
Spirit of Gheel’s rural Pennsylvania campuses provides long-term mental illness treatment in two residential homes. Located within easy walking distance of each other, Gheel House and Buttonwood Farm are both licensed as Personal Care Homes by the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services.
Scenic French Creek flows between the campuses, which are linked by a covered bridge built in 1856. Our campus is surrounded by working farms, hiking trails, streams, and woodlands. This idyllic setting, along with private rooms for each “friend” and an emphasis on healthy food and activities, contribute to creating a rare gem among the residential mental health facilities in Pennsylvania.
A Therapeutic Approach Based on Humanitarian Philosophy
Spirit of Gheel’s mental health treatment community got its start in 1984 when followers of Rudolph Steiner’s humanitarian philosophy began assisting adults with mental illness. The name of our organization comes from Geel, a town in Belgium that has provided compassionate non-institutional care of the seriously mentally ill for over 700 years. Our programs strive to respect Geel’s spirit of compassion, respect, and understanding.
At Spirit of Gheel, our residential treatment programs provide psychiatric services that help adults with mental illness to restore their mental health and achieve their full potential. Our staff works hard to make our “friends” feel secure, develop their strengths, build new skills, and define their unique paths to wellness and recovery.
A Variety of Psychiatric Therapy Programs
Spirit of Gheel offers a variety of psychiatric rehabilitation programs designed to support enhanced behavioral and emotional stability in the lives of adults with mental health disorders. Our programs include
- Expressive arts
- Social skills
- Group therapy
- Case management
- Individualized daily living assistance
- Full psychiatric services
The care provided in our residential treatment community also includes helping individuals with mental illness to prepare for life in the community. We encourage and enable our friends to practice the life skills they will need for independent living. These proficiencies include
- Personal wellness
- Using community resources
- Menu planning,
- Personal finance
- Using public transportation,
- Volunteering or working part-time as appropriate
Over time, the development of these skills may allow adults with psychiatric issues to return to their home communities or to move into Spirit of Gheel’s off-campus Transitional Living Program.
A Transitional Living Program for Mentally Ill Adults
Our Transitional Living Program is designed to enable adults with mental illness to live independently in a nearby community while still receiving supportive mental health treatment services.
The level of case management and psychiatric services received is customized to the needs and interests of each individual. In practice, this means that residents who live in apartments off campus may choose which psychiatric services and residential treatment program activities will be useful to them. Program costs are individualized based on the level of care and services purchased under this plan. Typical services purchased under this plan include medication management, menu and budget planning, and vocational counseling.
Guidelines for Admission to Residential Treatment
At Spirit of Gheel, Inc., we have successfully provided psychiatric help to adults 21 years and older with primary diagnoses of anxiety, bipolar disorder, major depressive disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, panic attacks, schizoaffective disorder and schizophrenia, and who are consistently willing to take prescribed medications. Unfortunately, our residential mental health facilities are unequipped to accommodate individuals who are physically or cognitively challenged, aggressive, actively suicidal, persistently manic, actively abusing substances, requiring medical attention for eating disorders, or are non-compliant with prescribed medications.Visit Spirit of Gheel's Website