By Christa Banister

Whether it’s addiction treatment or a safe place to navigate various mental health challenges, Meadows Behavioral Healthcare has been a trailblazer in creating customized programs for decades. We’ve always understood that no two people — or their needs — are exactly alike.  

Photo of Spero Center Executive Director, Holly Doolin
Holly Doolin, Executive Director of Spero Center at the Meadows

But for those with needs beyond what our existing programs offered, Spero Center at The Meadows was born. Developed out of a distinct desire to accommodate those who may need even more options on their journey toward healing, Spero fills in the gap for patients who need treatment before they are ready for inpatient or outpatient care. 

Spearheading this effort is Dr. Holly Doolin, Executive Director of Spero Center at The Meadows. With a professional background tailor-made for success and an insatiable passion for helping people become “the best versions of themselves,” Dr. Doolin shares a little about herself and why the Meadows Model works so well. She also highlights what you can expect if you come to Spero Center at The Meadows. 

Q: In addition to being a healthcare executive, you describe yourself as the following: a “vision realizer,” “harmony cultivator,” “passionate organizer,” and “strengths nerd.” What was your aha moment when you knew you wanted to help people? 

Doolin: As a psychologist, I understand the need to address symptoms and problems that negatively impact people’s lives. And yet what I learned when working in the addiction space is that recovery isn’t just “not using.” Instead, recovery is building a life filled with connection, meaning, service, and joy — and of course, sobriety. This goes beyond just addiction, though. 

Recovery isn’t just “not using.” Instead, recovery is building a life filled with connection, meaning, service, and joy — and of course, sobriety.

Dr. Marsha Linehan coined the term “a life worth living,” and I’ve really taken that to heart. A life worth living isn’t one that’s simply devoid of pathology. We are all so much more than our worst day and have so much to give to the world. 

Q: Tell us a little bit about what led you to your new role at Spero Center at The Meadows.

Doolin: Spero Center is a perfect fit for my experiences because it marries the empirically supported treatments I love as a psychologist with the love, person, and strengths-centered perspective and trauma conceptualization present in the Meadows Model. 

Spero fills a gap in the Meadows’ continuum of care, providing a soft place to land for patients who need to detox, stabilize, or have a gentle entry point to treatment. Many times as a therapist, I remember wishing for a subacute treatment program that could wrap around my clients like a warm blanket until they were able to get back to the rest of their healing work. It still amazes me that we get to do exactly that and be part of the answer.  

Q: Considering how Spero literally means “I hope,” what are your greatest hopes for those who begin their treatment journey at Spero Center?

Doolin: My greatest hope is that everyone who walks through our doors feels important, safe, and cared for while they’re with us. At discharge, I hope that every patient feels more prepared, primed, and ready to fully engage in their own healing work. Gaining a new understanding of what led them to inpatient treatment and making behavioral changes is hard. My hope is that folks who start their treatment journey at Spero will make even greater progress than their peers because they’re better resourced, acclimated, and ready to jump in with both feet!

Q: Why do you think the Meadows Model has been so successful for nearly half a century? 

Doolin: I think our model has been so successful because we focus on underlying causes and how folks found themselves where they are. Addressing problematic substance use is important — so is finding out that the person is drinking to medicate their depression. We take it one step further and try to get underneath the mental health struggles to identify underlying traumas, so the person can find long-term healing and recovery.  

Q: If someone is coming to Spero Center for stabilization, what can they expect?

Doolin: A gentle healing environment. You’ll see psychiatry and a therapist every day, enjoy the Brain Center daily, and have opportunities for art, yoga, 12-Step meetings, and more throughout the week. You’ll find a team of caring professionals who are on your side and want to help. 

Q: Do you have any helpful tips for what helps someone get the most out of what Spero Center has to offer? How do you know if this facility is right for you?

Doolin: Someone will get the most out of their time with us if they participate in everything we offer, including groups, sessions, 12-step meetings, meditation, journaling, and more. The investment of time and energy while at Spero will be multiplied at the next step of their healing journey.  

Spero is right for you if you need a minute to catch your breath and enjoy a gentler entry into inpatient treatment. The work can be intense and many aren’t immediately equipped to be successful. We can help you get there! People who start at Spero and transition to another Meadows program are better resourced with coping skills and primed to take full advantage of every single day and maximize their progress.  

To learn more about Spero Center at The Meadows, you can watch our informational video here or contact our admissions specialists. They are available 24-7 to answer your questions and help you determine the best options for you or your loved one.