The Robert D. Sutherland Center for the Evaluation and Treatment of Bipolar Disorder is housed in the University of Colorado at Boulder’s Department of Psychology & Neuroscience (CU). The Sutherland Center at CU was established in 2001 with an initial gift from the Sutherland Foundation. Annual gifts from the Foundation and in-kind contributions from CU have sustained and expanded the Center.
The Center’s Director is Alisha Brosse, Ph.D., a licensed clinical psychologist who has been managing the Center since 2002. Treatment is provided by licensed clinical psychologists and master’s-level therapists who work under their supervision. For a complete staff listing, please click here.
The Sutherland Center at CU’s mission is to provide expert psychiatric and psychological care to individuals and families with bipolar disorder who are unable to pay for services in the community. The Center offers a sliding-fee scale, with the majority of the treatment costs being paid with grants from the Sutherland Foundation. Center staff is also committed to educating the public about bipolar disorder and to training mental health professionals.
Diagnosis and Treatment
The Sutherland Center at CU both diagnoses and treats bipolar disorder. The Center adheres to a comprehensive collaborative care model in which the person diagnosed with bipolar has continual input into decisions about his or her treatments. Treatment is tailored to the individual/family, but in all cases is heavily based on treatments with empirical support.
Individuals who have either not been diagnosed or are not confident of previous diagnoses will receive a formal diagnostic evaluation complete with a written report. For individuals diagnosed with a bipolar disorder, comprehensive care can include individual psychotherapy, family psychotherapy, an educational seminar series, a skills training group, and/or medication management services. Determinations about what treatments are appropriate are made in partnership with one’s treatment provider(s) and are tailored to match a patient’s individual needs. For more information about these services, please click here.
Since its inception the Center has received nearly 1900 inquiries. At any one time the Center is likely to have 30 active individual and family therapy cases and 6-10 patients enrolled in the weekly skills training group. Each year nearly 200 people attend at least one session of the Center’s seminar series. Although there is a high demand for the Center’s services, the waiting list is fairly short for intake (a few weeks at most), and the wait for individual therapy and family therapy as short as one month. The Foundation and Center hope to be able to serve people more quickly as additional funding becomes available.
The Sutherland Center at CU currently serves older adolescents and adults of all ages. If sufficient additional funding becomes available, the Center will expand its staff to include providers with expertise in treating pediatric bipolar disorder so that individuals of all ages can be served.
Community and student education is a central component of the Sutherland Center at CU’s mission. Center staff are available for speaking engagements sponsored by community organizations. The Center is also committed to training health professionals, which can include workshops and/or presentations.
The Center’s work is also an important element of graduate students’ training. Advanced doctoral students in CU’s Clinical Psychology program can apply to work as therapists at the Sutherland Center. These students are closely supervised by licensed clinical psychologists. Through this training program the Center significantly increases the number of therapists in practice who have expert knowledge of research-supported therapies for bipolar disorder.