Residents Visit Rural Work-Therapy Facility

06/29/2011: Spring Lake Ranch Therapeutic Community in Cuttingsville, Vermont is a licensed residential treatment facility offering a unique locale for people with mental illness, substance abuse issues, or dual diagnosis to work towards wellness. In May, the ranch was the destination for Yale Psychiatry Residents who wished to see this dynamic model of work-centered therapy firsthand.

Tucked in Vermont’s Green Mountains, the ranch is a working community in which all members contribute in their own unique ways. In taking an active role in the work and life of the community, residents can regain the sense of self often forgotten in the course of a long illness or addiction.

Fourth-year resident Dr. Carla Marienfeld, third-year resident Dr. Sarah Mourra, and second-year residents Drs. Nabyl and Emily Tejani and Joseph Perry got a tour of the facilities and an opportunity to work in the gardens, on the farm, or in the machine shop. In a discussion with the community’s psychiatrist, employees, and current clients, the residents learned about the organization’s mission and current practices, and the principles of the recovery movement.

From the ranch’s web site, “The program functions on a number of concrete levels, but there’s also something that cannot be defined or quantified – through work we become active participants in our lives once again in ways that are unpredictable, enjoyable and transformative.”

As an extension of the emphasis on healing and wellness, the working farm takes a fully organic and sustainable approach to the care of its gardens and livestock.

“The visit to Spring Lake Ranch was a great opportunity to step out of our typical routine and see an alternative model of treatment,” said Dr. Mourra, the trip's organizer. “This is just one example of the resident initiated educational opportunities that occur in our program. We are routinely encouraged to explore diverse experiences in the field.”

Spring Lake Ranch provided overnight accommodations and camping, and residents were welcome to hike the 600 acres, swim in one of the most beautiful and unspoiled lakes in Vermont, and enjoy the beauty and serenity of this rural setting.

For more information:
Spring Lake Ranch