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Day programs

At St Helen’s Private Hospital, we appreciate that management of mental health is an ongoing undertaking, and recognise that the transition from acute inpatient care to independent living can be a difficult time.

As such, we aim to provide continued support for our patients following their discharge through our day patient group programs.

The day patient group programs are designed to assist patients with the transition from inpatient to discharge, and provide support as patients face the challenges of returning to daily life.

Day patient programs focus on education and self-management, building on the skills and knowledge developed through involvement in the inpatient group program.

Other important aims of the day patient group program include:

  • assisting in the development of an improved social support network
  • helping you identify appropriate local community organisations which might be providers of useful support
  • providing education about interpersonal relationships and improving basic living skills to optimise independent living
  • raising awareness of additional resources and services you might choose to access.


Your local GP, psychiatrist, psychologist or counsellor will be able to assist you with obtaining a referral to our Director of Day Programs, private specialist who is accredited at the hospital and who can organise your admission or enrolment into a program.

During your stay you will be under the direct care of this private specialist who will from time to time be assisted by other private specialists and hospital staff.

The day patient programs are held on weekdays during business hours.

If you require additional information about the day patient group streams please click on the individual programs below

Currently, the day patient group program includes 10 separate streams, each designed to meet the diverse needs of our patients.

As you approach discharge, you should discuss the different group streams with your doctor and other members of your St Helen’s Health Professional Team.

The decision regarding which stream(s) you ultimately choose to attend will be based on the amount of ongoing support you feel you require, recommendations from your doctor, your experience of the inpatient group program, and your particular areas of interest.

We aim to include all members of the patient’s health care team to develop a holistic approach to overall management, and consistently monitor and evaluate the functioning of the program to ensure we are delivering a comprehensive and high quality clinical service.

Day programs at St Helen's Private Hospital:

Thursdays with Darren and Dr David Weidmann
Half-day open program, 9:30am – 12:45pm

This program is designed to provide a non-judgemental therapeutic environment for the exploration of issues relevant to men and mental health.

This unique, male-only program combines discussion, peer support and structured education modules to promote insight and personal growth.

By examining stereotypes around masculinity and societal expectations of males, the group is designed to motivate and support men to create ongoing positive change in their lives.

The program will cover a variety of topics, including:

  • Addiction and depression
  • Anger and stress management
  • Male roles and role models
  • Parenting
  • Relationships and friendships
  • Resilience
  • Self-care and exercise
  • The meaning of mateship.
Thursdays with Carla and Suzanne
Eight week closed half-day program - 9:30am – 12:45pm

This program focuses on directed and spontaneous use of art materials for the purposes of health and mental well-being, and is suitable for individuals of any age struggling with anxiety, depression, addiction, or adjusting to difficult life experiences. Research has demonstrated the efficacy of Art Therapy in areas including:

  • Development of healthy coping skills and focus
  • Development of interpersonal and problem-solving skills
  • Exploration of imagination and creativity
  • Identification and release of strong feelings
  • Improved mood through liberation from expressive restraint
  • Improved self-esteem and confidence
  • Relaxation and reduced anxiety
  • Self-awareness through mindfulness.
Thursdays with Kate
Eight week closed half-day program, 9:30am – 12:45pm

Based on cognitive behavioural and psycho-educational approaches, this program is designed for patients coping with depression and/or anxiety, or adjusting to difficult life experiences.

The program provides clients with instruction in a variety of problem solving and lifestyle management skills, and topics include:

  • Contribution of lifestyle factors (eg: diet, exercise, sleep, caffeine, drugs and alcohol)
  • Goal setting and behavioural activation
  • Graded exposure Participants will learn a number of strategies, suggestions and exercises that they can practice at home.
  • Identifying and altering negative thought patterns
  • Relaxation skills
  • Relapse prevention strategies
  • Signs, symptoms and causes of depression
  • The nature of anxiety.
Tuesdays with Jo
Half-day open program, 9:30am – 12:45pm

DBT is a broad based cognitive behavioural treatment for Borderline Personality Disorder.

The treatment program is aimed at addressing psychological and social factors that reinforce many of the unhelpful behaviours often associated with Borderline Personality Disorder. The group format offers particular benefits.

Group members are able to:

  • Interact with group participants who share similar difficulties, thereby validating their own experiences
  • Learn from the experiences of other group participants
  • Practice interpersonal skills within the safe and supportive environment of the group.

“The central aim of DBT as a whole is to replace ineffective, maladaptive or non-skilled behaviour with skilful responses. The aim of DBT skills training is to help the individual acquire the needed skills” (Linehan, 1993, p.8).

The St Helen’s Private Hospital DBT group program includes modules covering the following specific skills:

  • Distress tolerance skills
  • Emotion regulation skills
  • Interpersonal effectiveness skills
  • Mindfulness skills.
Wednesdays with Kate
Eight week closed half-day program, 9:30am – 12:45pm

This group is designed for patients coping with depression or anxiety, or adjusting to difficult life experiences. It provides participants with instruction in a variety of distress tolerance skills, and will also focus on building a healthy self-esteem, with an overall aim of building a sense of emotional well-being.

Topics covered will include:

Distress Tolerance:

  • Balancing acceptance and improvement
  • Creation of distress tolerance action plan
  • Learning to see emotions differently
  • Recognising distress intolerant beliefs
  • Understanding distress intolerance and the problems that this can create
  • What is acceptance?

Self esteem:

  • Behavioural activation
  • Cognitive-Behavioural model of self-esteem
  • How chronic mental illness impacts on self esteem
  • Identifying negative self-talk and impact this has for individuals
  • Strategies to challenge negative self-talk.
Tuesdays with Faith
Full-day open program, 9:00am – 2:45pm

Mental health problems can be caused or perpetuated by the use of unhelpful ways of dealing with life’s stressors.

This day patient group stream aims to replace these unhelpful strategies with more effective and helpful problem solving skills.

Using a combination of structured psychoeducational instruction and practical opportunities to rehearse the learned skills, some of the topics covered include:

  • Anxiety management
  • Communication
  • Decision making
  • Depression management
  • Goal setting
  • Lifestyle and balance
  • Relationships
  • Relapse prevention and planning
  • Self-esteem.

As well as enhancing coping skills, this stream is designed to provide long-term support for patients who require ongoing assistance.

(Wednesdays with Faith, Helen & Dr Stuart Hooper)
Only open to patients of Dr Stuart Hooper
Full-day open program, 9:00am – 2:45pm

Based on integrative, psycho-educational and self-help approaches, this program is designed for patients coping with depression or anxiety, or adjusting to difficult life experiences.

The program provides clients with instruction in a variety of problem solving and lifestyle management skills, and topics include:

  • Change cycles and self-empowerment
  • Contribution of lifestyle factors (eg: diet, exercise, sleep, caffeine, drugs and alcohol)
  • Goal setting and behavioural activation
  • Identifying and altering negative thought patterns
  • Recovery and wellbeing strategies
  • Relapse prevention strategies, identification of triggers and warning signs
  • Relationships
  • Self-esteem building
  • Signs, symptoms and causes of depression and anxiety
  • Strategies for ownership and self-management
  • The nature of stress
  • The role of social life and social support.
Mondays with Faith, Zena & Dr Stuart Hooper
Half-day open program, 9:30am – 12:45pm

This group offers support, within a therapeutic environment, to people experiencing problematic addictions, including the abuse of alcohol, drugs or gambling resulting in risks to health, relationships and ability to work.

This group combines psychotherapy with psychoeducation and will include relaxation and interactive discussion sessions.

More specific topics to be covered include:

  • Barriers to change
  • Coping with cravings
  • Education around the impact of addiction on health and wellbeing
  • Identifying high risk situations
  • Identifying triggers
  • Loss and grief
  • Readiness and motivation to change
  • There will be opportunities to raise awareness of current addictive behaviours in order to make space for change and ongoing structure in the recovery process.
Fridays with Kelly
10 week closed half-day program, 9:30am-12:45pm

Welcoming a new baby is a major life transition that can sometimes feel overwhelming.

The St Helen's Mother Baby Program assists women with anxiety, depression or other issues to help manage these challenges, develop new parenting resources and create a brighter future.

Topics include:

  • Community based supports and resources for mothers and babies
  • Couple relationships after baby
  • Experiences of pregnancy, birth and parenting
  • Ideas for face-to face play
  • Managing unrealistic expectations about parenting and motherhood
  • Reading your baby’s signals
  • Relaxation on the run
  • Songs and movementUnderstanding postnatal depression, anxiety and stress
  • Strategies for soothing
  • The importance of play.
Fridays with Minky
Eight week closed half-day program, 9:30am-12:45pm

This program will involve exploring music in a range of ways, relating to mood management, relaxation, connecting with others, and self exploration, within a fun, relaxed and supportive environment.

Depending on the interest of participants, there may also be a component of song writing during some sessions.

There is no need for any previous musical experience or ability. Some of the demonstrated benefits of participating in a music therapy program are:

  • Enhanced confidence and development of new skills
  • Improved connection to others & reduced feelings of isolation or loneliness
  • Reduction of anxiety and stress
  • Regulation of heart-rate and breathing
  • Release of endorphins – It makes you feel good!
  • Release of strong feelings
  • Shifts and improvements in mood
  • It’s fun!
Mondays with Kelly
Half-day open program, 9:30am – 12:45pm

Mental health problems can be caused or perpetuated by the use of unhelpful ways of dealing with life’s stressors.

This day patient group stream aims to encourage the use of effective and helpful coping skills.

Using hands-on craft activities as the central focus, participants learn the value of coping strategies like distraction, task-engagement and social support.

The pleasant activities participants engage in are also designed to provide a sense of achievement and accomplishment, to enhance self-efficacy and motivation.

The use of practical activities allows participants to practice task engagement and mindfulness skills they have learned during their time as an inpatient.

By examining issues of lifestyle and balance, this group also provides participants with an opportunity to practice problem solving and decision making skills, and identify goals for personal growth and development.

As well as enhancing coping skills, this stream is designed to provide long-term support for patients who require ongoing assistance, and assist with relapse prevention.

Tuesdays with Helen & Dr Marzena Rybak
Half-day open program, 9:30am – 12:45pm

This program provides a safe, supportive and non-judgemental therapeutic environment for the exploration of issues relevant to women and mental health.

This unique, women-only program combines discussion, peer support and structured education modules to promote insight and personal growth.

The focus on effective management of emotions and interpersonal relationships is designed to inspire and empower women to create ongoing positive change in their lives.

Topics include:

  • Change cycles and self-empowerment
  • Clarifying personal values
  • Depression and anxiety management
  • Healthy relationships and interpersonal boundaries
  • Identifying personal strengths and resources
  • Lifestyle factors (eg: diet, exercise, sleep, caffeine, drugs and alcohol)
  • Self-awareness
  • Self-understanding and compassion
  • Self-esteem building
  • The role of social life and social support
  • Understanding self-esteem and the factors that impact on it.

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