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Enhanced Clinical Modalities

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Westborough Behavioral Healthcare Hospital clinicians utilize Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Dialectical Behavior Therapy, Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Motivational Interview, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, and other evidence-based approaches. 

Our enhanced clinical modalities include

Yoga ~

Practicing yoga and meditation techniques provides inward awareness leading to empowerment. According to the National Institutes of Health, scientific evidence shows that yoga supports stress management, mental health, mindfulness, and promotes better self-care. 1

At Westborough Behavioral Healthcare Hospital, we have incorporated the scientific validation of yoga’s value to our mental health care. We and offer groups to both our Inpatient and Outpatient units. Patients are instructed by certified yoga instructors and mindfulness educators.

The benefits reaped from of a yoga practice are increased physical movement, improved quality of sleep, reduced stress, and improved coping skills aiding relaxation. 2 Studies show that yoga, meditation, and mindfulness practices improve mood, executive functioning abilities and lessens anxiety while reducing depressive symptoms. 3

Trauma Sensitive Yoga ~ 

Trauma-Sensitive Yoga is a gentle, low-impact yoga beneficial for all bodies and all abilities. Its focus is to empower individuals to develop a more positive relationship with their body. Trauma Sensitive Yoga is the leading evidence-based adjunctive treatment for complex trauma and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder based on decades of research and cited in American Psychological Association 2019. 4   

 At Westborough Behavioral Healthcare Hospital, our Trauma Sensitive Yoga groups in Outpatient are conducted by a Licensed Mental Health Therapist certified in this specialized practice.

Assistance dog ~

Gilbert, our beloved black lab, is trained as an Assistance Dog to work with people struggling with mental health challenges. At Westborough Behavioral Healthcare Hospital, Gilbert is accompanied full time with his owner, a Certified Grief Counselor. When they arrive on units to conduct groups the smiles are plentiful as daily visits to both Inpatient and Outpatient units brings comfort to our patients in need of his unconditional love and acceptance. 

Assistant dogs are specifically trained service dogs from an organization called NEADS World Class Service Dogs. They are taught to remain calm and focused in all environments including settings at which they are often high stress and highly emotional. They can assist with canine assisted therapy which is goal directed interventions designed to promote physical, social, emotional, and or cognitive functioning for treatment.

Studies show that seeing and touching animals can trigger positive physiological changes including higher levels of serotonin and endorphins while reducing levels of cortisol, the stress hormone. 5 Gilbert provides an incredible additional benefit to our therapeutic environment.

Music Therapy ~


Through the evidence-based practice of music therapy, our music therapist uses music to address the cognitive, social, emotional, physical, and academic goals of all people. Music Therapy can increase motivation and self-esteem, reduce muscle tension, decrease anxiety and depression, improve self-awareness, and strengthen coping skills. 6 Music can also be utilized as a regulating or calming agent for anxiety or dysregulation. 7

No prior music experience is necessary to benefit from and take part in the music therapy groups run by our board-certified music therapists. These weekly groups run in our Inpatient and Outpatient units.

Expressive Arts ~

Expressive Arts Therapy is an integrative, multimodal approach that utilizes a variety of methods including writing, visual arts, drama, and dance. It is a process of self-discovery that evolves through artistic self-expression. People who experience mental health problems may struggle to describe how they are feeling. The use of expressive arts can help people learn more about themselves and share their feelings therapeutically. Studies show that Expressive Arts Therapy is beneficial in the treatment of anxiety, depression, developmental disorders, emotional and interpersonal challenges, Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, stress, and others. 8  

The use of Expressive Arts Therapy can augment the benefits of psychotherapy and psychoeducation. Patients enjoy the pleasure of expressing themselves through the application of creative activities that are designed to support emotional and mental health healing.

Wellness Groups ~

Our Wellness groups are led by Occupational therapists, who are a component of interdisciplinary care that compliments mental health treatment. The Wellness groups improve day to day independent living skills and functional capacity to mitigate the impact of mental illness.

In our activity-based Wellness groups, we strive to improve social behaviors and decrease problematic behaviors. Occupational therapist practitioners were originally part of the integrated team for the Assertive Community Treatment model to serve those with serious mental illness. 9

At Westborough Behavioral Healthcare Hospital, our Wellness groups focus on using strength-based practices and building a variety of skill sets, establish healthy habits and routines, set therapy goals, incorporate sensory treatment, and help develop leisure or avocational interests or pursuits to enhance patients’ lives.