Teen Girls & Troubled Youth: Devolping an Environment for Success
At Havenwood Academy, we believe there is one type of environment that best promotes change within troubled teen girls. It is an environment cultured around unconditional love and trust. Students that can build relationships with staff and each other find the safe surroundings they need to work on stressful issues that have been holding them back in life.
Combined with a foundation of trust, love, and accountability, we employ a number of therapeutic methods. Our philosophies about treatment are developed around strong values, family relationships, and multi-systemic issues (an intensive, family-focused and community-based treatment program for chronically violent or angry youth).
Different approaches to treatment at our therapeutic boarding school for girls includes art, music, recreation, outdoor, and equine therapy. Our basic foundation of love and trust creates an environment where positive peer interaction greatly increases effectiveness in treatment. By utilizing cross-departmental collaboration, we see an increase in positive outcomes for each student. We’ve seen successful results in our program over and over again.
Treatment Approaches at Havenwood Academy
Havenwood’s approach to treatment:
- Prioritizes a safe environment that is filled with love, trust, and accountability;
- Uses a multi-faceted approach to choose the therapeutic mix for each student’s needs;
- Is experientially-based, incorporating a range of activities that empower students to be active in their own growth and recovery;
- Is family-relationship centered, and helps students and their loved ones resolve difficult issues and lay the foundation for a healthy future;
- Provides a customized plan that’s individually designed for each student, her unique challenges, and goals.
Positive peer environments increase treatment effectiveness: The environment where treatment occurs has a powerful effect on a student’s ability to benefit from it, and helps determine whether or not the treatment has a long-lasting, positive impact. Havenwood operates its program using what is known as positive peer culture. As part of this culture, each student is required to be an active participant in developing a culture that creates critical and lasting changes in their own lives and the lives of other students.
Cross-departmental collaboration improves student outcomes: Havenwood’s core treatment philosophy centers on using experiential opportunities, within the positive peer culture, to place relationships at the center of the healing process. Our experts collaborate and share their expertise to ensure that students are receiving the best treatment possible. Each week, and more often if needed, all Havenwood departments – ranging from clinical treatment and experiential programs to education and dietary – meet to discuss and support the healing and growth of each one of its students. Representatives of each department are always available to and in contact with parents to discuss the needs and progress of their student.
What Makes Havenwood Academy Different?
How does Havenwood Academy’s program differ from other treatment options you may have considered? The majority of other programs utilize a treatment approach known as “behavior modification.” Often, treatment consists primarily of “talk therapy,” where students meet face to face with therapists to discuss their behavioral problems and the emotional issues that are causing them. Troubled teens may struggle to thrive in this type of treatment environment, as these approaches can create a position of power for the therapist and weakness for the student.
A behavior modification type of program is often operated on a reward-punishment model that can be harsh or even downright abusive in nature. Long-term, longitudinal studies have shown that this type of “behavioral modification” program is generally not effective for treating individuals in residential treatment – particularly troubled or struggling teenagers.
There are many reasons for this, but one of the most important is that behavioral modification programs often create an artificial environment that can be manipulated by students to make it appear that they are progressing. However, these students may be doing nothing more than demonstrating compliance with the system in the absence of real, personal change. Many programs persist in this treatment modality because it tends to be easier to operate, less expensive and requires a lower level of professionalism from staff. Instead, Havenwood is committed to creating an environment with the support systems and the personalized treatment plans to ensure that each student makes real and lasting progress.
The Power of Experiential Treatment
Havenwood believes in active learning; students use experiences to reinforce learning and growth by doing. Experiential therapy requires each teenager to be an active participant in the therapeutic process through her actions, movements and activities. Each program is customized to the needs and interests of the student and may include activities such as equine therapy, arts therapy, music therapy, recreation therapy and outdoor therapy.
Our experiential programs give students and their families the opportunity to develop life skills in specific and critical areas such as relationships, communication, teamwork, self-esteem, self-awareness, discipline, accountability and responsibility. Experiential therapy is a powerful method of helping students and families reframe and resolve old problems in new and healthy ways. Experiential therapy is a major component in healing families and giving them a strong foundation for the future.
Linking Experiential Therapy and Positive Peer Cultural
All of Havenwood’s experiential and therapeutic programming takes place within the parameters of its positive peer culture environment. As discussed above, a positive peer culture ensures that students are active participants in the healing process – not only for themselves but for others as well. Positive peer culture, unlike traditional behavior modification programs, is focused solely on and around the solution of real-life problems. The learning and growth that results from solving actual problems, in a peer-supported environment, translates much more readily into positive future behavior than does the learning the results from artificial exercises in communication. In positive peer culture situations, problems are viewed and considered as opportunities for growth and development as opposed to obstacles. The life lessons that students learn as they work through challenging issues – and witness their peers doing the same – has been proven to have a more powerful and lasting impact on behavior than any other approach.
Contact Havenwood Academy today to further explore and understand our unique treatment approaches. Arrange for a personalized consultation to learn more about the opportunities that experiential therapy and a positive peer culture model can create for healing and growth for the troubled or struggling teenaged girl in your life.