Therapeutic Program Description – Boys & Girls Boarding School

Therapeutic program Mission Statement

Our therapeutic boarding school utilizes cognitive, behavioral, narrative, humanistic, and eclectic theoretical approaches and therapeutic intervention strategies/techniques in order to increase personal insight, create motivation to improve one’s own trajectory, and practice healthy and positive behaviors.

Our therapeutic goals include increasing personal autonomy, solidifying a healthy and authentic identity, and improving the successful re-integration of our residents into their families as well as the adult roles they are moving towards within society. Therapeutic efforts are focused on the teenage residents of our program and the participants in the systems in which these teens operate, particularly parents and siblings.

The Clinical Staff at Turning Winds Academic Institute (TWAI) use a variety of therapeutic intervention strategies, each undergirded with a humanistic, relationship-based, and Rogerian approach.  Additional  intervention strategies, depending on resident and family system needs, include the following: Adlerian; CBT; DBT; Behavioral Therapy; Reality/Choice; Narrative; Gestalt; TA; Existential; Trauma Interventions; Bibliography; Psychosocial; Family Systems; and a variety of counseling homework assignments for both the TWAI resident and family members.  The clinical staff at TWAI also incorporates therapeutic groups including chemical dependency/addictions, gender specific, process-focused, experiential/team-building, and psycho-educational, depending on resident needs.

Treatment Philosophy

Therapy at TWAI’s boarding school is organized and present throughout the entirety of the program in all activities. As a therapeutic boarding school, all of our activities are designed to be therapeutic in nature. Through the use of our Integrated Therapeutic Education Curriculum our students may progress rapidly, and are typically very successful after completion of our 12-month program. Although not a short-term treatment option, therapeutic boarding schools are designed to help teens return to live with their families as soon as possible. TWAI is based upon the philosophy that lasting behavior change must involve personal growth and that a person’s character is important. Our clinical staff assists residents in developing the character virtues of industriousness, humility, direction, environmental awareness, integrity, responsibility, respect, family connection, service, verbal assertiveness, gratitude, and forgiveness. Residents learn to appreciate themselves as complete persons, their weakness also being their strengths. Each is encouraged to explore his or her personal resources (internal and external) and to apply these positive resources and strengths to various areas of their lives. The TWAI therapeutic approach supports increased maturation and identity, understanding of self, and the ability to develop and maintain healthy relationships and positive peer choices.

Clinical Services

An indispensable part of the TWAI therapeutic boarding school program is that clinical services are carried out by experienced professional therapists. Upon admission to our boarding school each resident is assessed by a clinician using a variety of techniques, including formal testing, to determine their unique psychosocial and mental health needs. After the assessment, an individual treatment plan is created by the treatment team in order to address the needs of the individual.

Teens have regular individual counseling sessions with treatment clinicians. The predominant therapy orientation in use at TWAI  is the well-known and validated “Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy” approach, although clinicians draw from a variety of theoretical schools of thought, depending on the needs of the teen. Periodically, teens participate in co-therapy sessions involving two or more clinicians. Also, several members of our treatment team meet with teens from time to time to assess their progress and provide direction, and parents are frequently asked to participate in person or by phone in family therapy sessions. Some challenges require more frequent interventions. Decisions are made flexibly, on a case-by-case basis.

Our boarding school’s clinical staff present clinical curriculum to groups of teens on a variety of topics each week, and help them to actively process this material. Clinical staff also often mediates other groups, which bring the positive power of the teen peer group to bear on individual teens. In this setting, residents can explore interpersonal relationships and take risks without fear of rejection.

Guided career interest explorations is also provided to teens, typically after they have made significant progress in addressing their individual problems and are closer to reintegrating back into their families.

The TWAI boarding school treatment team values the input of families. Families are part of the crucible in which residents have become the persons they are, and thus are crucial in the turnaround process. During family visits at TWAI, family therapy sessions with the resident are scheduled to work on challenges within the family system as well as to prepare residents and their families for reuniting during the aftercare phase of treatment.