Intensive Outpatient Therapy Now Offered

March 6, 2012

Mercy Outpatient Behavioral Health staff

includes (left to right) Terry Dunlap, RN;

Sister  Elizabeth Koehler, RSM; Audrey

Swint, Administrative Assistant; and

David Smith, LCSW, IOP Supervisor.

St. Joseph’s Mercy is now offering a Behavioral Health Intensive Outpatient Program on the South Campus (formerly HealthPark) in Hot Springs.

Mercy Outpatient Behavioral Health treats adults 55 years of age and older with therapy provided by licensed clinical social workers and overseen by a psychiatrist. The staff is specially trained in treating the mental health issues of older adults.

“This is a program that is outpatient group counseling,” said St. Joseph’s Mercy Psychiatrist Dr. Peter W. Guresky. “These are patients that are quietly depressed, quietly anxious, may be even completely cooperative. These are folks that are easy to overlook.”

St. Joseph’s Mercy also offers Inpatient Psychiatric Services at St. Joseph’s Mercy Health Center in Hot Springs. It serves a different clientele than the Intensive Outpatient Program.

Patients with these symptoms may benefit from the Intensive Outpatient Program:

  • Feelings of hopelessness, worthlessness or excessive guilt;
  • Overwhelming sadness and crying;
  • Isolating or withdrawing from family or friends;
  • Loss of energy or interest in pleasurable activities;
  • Unhealthy changes in appetite or sleep habits;
  • Worry or nervousness that won’t go away;
  • Difficulty concentrating or maintaining focus;
  • Increased agitation or interpersonal problems;
  • Decreased self-care;
  • Difficulty coping with life changes or the death of a loved one.

“The patients that would be appropriate for IOP would not completely overlap with the inpatient group,” said Dr. Guresky, who works with both the inpatient and outpatient programs. “The Outpatient Program is primarily for folks with depression and anxiety.”

Transportation to and from the Intensive Outpatient Program is provided by St. Joseph’s Mercy, utilizing vans equipped for wheelchairs. A home-style lunch is prepared daily by Mercy’s Tea Leaf Grill. The psychiatrist and staff will work with the patient’s primary care physician to coordinate care and a registered nurse is always in the facility while patients are present.

“Dr. Guresky and [Behavioral Health Manager] David Smith have an intense passion for caring for these patients and making sure they receive true therapy that is really going to help them show and demonstrate progress so they can enjoy life again in their home setting,” said Mandi Bohlen, director of the Intensive Outpatient Program. “This is a very important niche in our community. Services such as outpatient psychotherapy for geriatric patients haven’t been available in the area.”

If you recognize that you or someone you know needs help, call us at Mercy Outpatient Behavioral Health at 501-520-3771. St. Joseph’s Mercy will meet with you or a loved one to see how we might help.

Treatment is covered as an outpatient service under Medicare Part B.

Mercy Behavioral Health Intensive Outpatient Program is located at 1636 Higdon Ferry Road.

St. Joseph’s Mercy is a not-for-profit, faith-based health facility with 27 medical clinics serving the healthcare needs of Hot Springs and its surrounding communities since 1888. It is designated as the southwest region’s only Level II Trauma Center and the region’s most preferred provider of health care services. On April 30, St. Joseph’s Mercy will become Mercy Hospital Hot Springs.

Mercy is the eighth largest Catholic health care system in the U.S. and serves more than 3 million people annually. Mercy includes 31 hospitals, more than 200 outpatient facilities, 38,000 co-workers and 1,500 integrated physicians in Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma. Mercy also has outreach ministries in Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas. For more about Mercy, visit

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