Celebrating Holidays in Teen Treatment: A Turning Winds Approach
Being in treatment doesn’t mean you have to miss out on all the holiday fun. At Turning Winds, teenage clients typically stay many months, often a whole year. That means they may not be home for Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, or Christmas.
Or for Halloween!
“In the summer, they enjoyed fireworks for the Fourth of July and we will have pumpkin carving for Halloween,” says program director Enoch Stump. “Holidays at Turning Winds are opportunities to have a unique day for the kids. We even make a big deal out of minor calendar dates just to make it more fun.”
Integrating Festive Joy into Therapy: Halloween at Turning Winds
The treatment team at Turning Winds knows how challenging it is for their teenage clients to be in a teen treatment program away from their families for the holidays or days like Halloween when they might want to hang out with their friends back home.
“For Halloween, staff members dress up and wear funny wigs. For some of us, it’s the only day of the year when we have a lot of hair on the head,” jokes Stump. “Carving jack-o’-lanterns is always a lot of fun for the kids, there will be extra candy, and in the evening, they get to watch a scary movie, too.”
The Role of Holidays in Teen Recovery and Healing
It’s not just fun and games, though. Every activity at Turning Winds is fully integrated into the teen treatment program. “We have groups discussing questions like ‘How do you manage to be here for the holidays?’ and we talk about their favorite family traditions at home,” says Stump. “We are preparing their minds in advance for the fact that they won’t be home for the occasion.”
The parents of the clients may be concerned, too. “I always tell the parents, the sacrifice you’re making now is for the many holiday seasons that will follow in years to come. If they look back they will probably realize that the family holidays before treatment weren’t all that great,” Stump says. The time in treatment is an opportunity to reset the family dynamic.
“I always have them reflect on the last holiday season with their kid and it helps them to gain a new perspective. What they want more than anything is to know that their kid is well and doing okay. And their kids are with their friends and they’re having fun and they have support.”
Creating Positive Holiday Experiences for Teens in Treatment
For the Christmas period, everybody gets to do a lot of decorating. “We cut down a few Christmas trees, and they make ornaments,” says Stump. “Parents will send presents and we’re making sure all of our kids get gifts. We’ll do a whole Christmas morning where the kids sit around and open their gifts. We usually take lots of pictures for the parents who can’t be there.”
New Year’s is usually a time for reflection. “Where do they want to be one year from now? The focus is on gratitude and we look at the things in life we are grateful for.”
Ready to Explore a Unique Approach to Teen Therapy?
At Turning Winds, we believe in the healing power of joy and normalcy, even during treatment. Our unique approach to integrating holiday celebrations into therapy shows our commitment to not just treating teens, but nurturing their overall well-being. If you’re looking for a teen treatment program that goes beyond traditional methods and embraces the importance of festive joy and family traditions, we’re here to help.
Our mission is to rescue teens from crisis situations, renew their belief in their own potential, reunite them with their families, and put them on a sustainable path to success. Contact us online for more information, or call us at 800-845-1380. If your call isn’t answered personally, one of us will get back to you as soon as possible.