One motivational element of the therapeutic approach at Turning Winds is the Stars Program. The mountaineering-inspired markers our teenage clients can obtain are Start, Trail, Approach, Ridge, and Summit.
The Stars Program is all about promoting change. When the kids come in on their very first day and they go through orientation and the intake process, they’re handed a “Stars” folder and it is basically designed to put them in the driver’s seat of their treatment process.
The stars program does not require participants to achieve the Summit level in order to be able to go home. They don’t have to achieve the Ridge level to go home, either. It is really all up to them. They can go home at the Trail level if they really want to—there’s no requirement for them to achieve any of the mile markers.
The Stars Program is all about personal validation and improving self-confidence. At each marker, they are assigned tasks and responsibilities and when they do those things, they get signatures from appropriate representatives within the organization. As they fill in the required signatures, they achieve that milestone. So, it’s really milestones, not levels. They are markers of their notable progress that they can see for themselves.
Once patients achieve a milestone, they get to keep their achievement star. If they reach the Ridge stage, they stay there, clients don’t lose the success they’ve had. The Stars Program aims to give the kids daily wins because at the end of the day, this process is designed to help increase their self-worth, self-image, and self-esteem and there’s no better way to do that than to have them win.
And it’s winning, not just once, but repeatedly winning day after day. And as the kids do that, they validate themselves. The Stars Program puts them in the driver’s seat and sets up everything they need to do to achieve their goals in black and white, right in front of their eyes.