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Beyond the Label of a Diagnosis: Taking a Personalized Approach to Helping Troubled Teens

Beyond the Label of a Diagnosis: Taking a Personalized Approach to Helping Troubled Teens

Beyond the Label of a Diagnosis: Taking a Personalized Approach to Helping Troubled Teens 2237 1530 se_admin

The teenage years are full of changes and challenges, for both the teen and their families. As young women enter adolescence, you may find that they are pulling away and looking for more autonomy. You may find that your opinion no longer matters as much, and they are now turning to their friends for help and advice. All of this can be normal teen behavior, but the teen years are also a time when negative or detrimental behaviors can develop as well. This may present in the form of a teen who is experiencing undiagnosed mental health issues. This could also be a teen who is exhibiting potentially harmful behaviors. Teens today are also under an enormous amount of pressure and mental health issues such as anxiety or depression can be triggered. It can be difficult to determine what behaviors are typical for teens, and which are cause for concern, which is why being aware of your teen’s mental health is especially important during this time period. 

Some mental health disorders, like depression or PTSD, have such a wide range of symptoms and overlap with other issues that it is difficult to create a specific plan that is guaranteed to help every individual struggling with the issue. Solely looking at diagnoses when creating a treatment plan for students when they enroll ignores the influence of every student’s background, experiences, relationships, strengths, abilities, and personal goals on shaping who they are as a well-rounded person. Taking a personalized approach to helping troubled teens allows us to consider a variety of areas where teens need additional support to reach their full potential.

The Importance of an Individualized Approach

At Solstice East, we understand that each of our students has its own unique strengths and areas for growth. Too often, teens who are struggling with mental health, living skills, or social skills are grouped together under a label. This can be detrimental to a teen’s self-esteem and may also put limitations on their development and growth. This is why using an individualized approach to residential treatment is our focus. Some of the ways that we work with each student individually include: 

  • Looking at the Bigger Picture: Rather than focusing on problem areas, our holistic approach acknowledges how underlying issues contribute to unhealthy coping mechanisms. We don’t necessarily believe that your daughter is troubled but understand that she has faced a lot of difficult experiences in her life and hasn’t been equipped with the skills to overcome them on her own. Teen girls benefit from experiential activities outside of traditional therapy that empower them to discover who they are as individuals, as well as daughters, friends, students, and teammates. When removed from the negative influences and distractions of their home environment, girls have the opportunity to take a step back and look at areas in their life where they want to grow. 
  • Encouraging Teens to Play an Active Role: While many teens are apprehensive about the idea of therapy when they arrive, once they find their voice and gain insight into their emotions and behavioral patterns, they are more prepared to set personal goals. Our client-centered approach focuses on the unique needs and goals of every girl. Teens work closely with our multidisciplinary treatment team to begin to take back control of their life.
  • Identifying Core Values: Many residential treatment centers focus on compliance to reinforce positive behaviors; however, compliance that springs from external controls and “fear of punishment” tends to be short-lived. When compliance grows out of developing internal values such as respect, responsibility, love, family relationships, and personal growth it is self-evident and self-sustaining. Students are empowered to make lasting changes when they are able to identify what values they want to be consistent with their actions. As they explore their interests and relationship styles, teens learn what matters to them in life, in school, and in relationships. This helps them stay engaged and motivated in their therapeutic process. Our program focuses on healing our girls from the inside out so they will comply because they want to, not because they feel they have to.
  • Following an Individual Hero’s Journey: Your daughter’s experience at Solstice East is designed to mirror the archetypal Hero’s Journey, which is based on universal themes found in literature, theater, and film. During the Hero’s Journey, the hero advances through phases of self-discovery, along the way facing their personal dragons in the form of fears, doubts, and insecurities. As our troubled teen girls overcome these challenges, they grow towards becoming “at-one” with their true self. 

While every girl’s journey is unique, we do not believe they are terminally unique or broken beyond repair. At our program, students follow a similar path and bond with their peers going through similar struggles and experiences while building strong close connections with therapists, mentors, and teachers who understand their individual needs.

Who Can Benefit from a Residential Treatment Program?

Sending your daughter to a residential treatment program can feel like a big step for some families. They may worry that their daughter will feel abandoned or that they have failed their child as parents. But the reality is that residential treatment centers are designed to create the optimal environment for residents to receive treatment for mental health struggles surrounded by a supportive community that encourages them at every step. 

Our clients receive a unique combination of therapeutic techniques stemming from both traditional and holistic mental health treatments that are gender and age-specific. We strive to empower our students with the ability to believe in themselves by providing the tools, support, and motivation necessary to instill these beliefs for life.

Solstice East students are highly intelligent and highly sensitive. Our teens are creative and capable, but vulnerable to the pressures of their surroundings. They often experience the world differently through misperceptions and are impacted by issues of anxiety, depression, identity, attachment, mood disorders, and learning disabilities. Solstice East is committed to treating each student through a combination of individual, family, equine, and adventure therapies as well as treating and diagnosing a range of issues including (but not limited to) trauma, anxiety, depression, eating disorders, substance abuse, suicidal ideation, self-harming behaviors, attachment, and identity issues.

How a Residential Treatment Center Supports Troubled Teens

A residential treatment program like Solstice East is a unique opportunity for our students to remove themselves from the negative patterns or triggers they experience at home. The therapeutic alliance, the relationship formed between therapist and student, is one of the most powerful factors in the healing process. Using the relationship-based approach as our guide, the therapists understand the value of spending time with the girls beyond the walls of the therapist’s office. Building rapport outside of the office setting is critical to the development of a therapeutic alliance between the girls and therapists, which is necessary in the healing process. As one of the top residential treatment centers, our therapists often participate in adventure therapy outings, camping trips, recreation activities, and mealtime with residents.

The Solstice East philosophy includes a belief in a holistic approach. This approach focuses on treating the whole person, not just the “identified problem” or “problem behavior.”. This is evident in our multi-disciplinary approach towards therapeutic treatments. Students have access to their therapist, psychiatric services, group therapy, equine therapy, substance and addictions therapy, milieu therapy, adventure therapy, and family therapy. By approaching their treatment from many different angles, students are given the opportunity to learn which therapeutic practice best benefits them. 

An additional benefit of attending a residential treatment program is that your teen will not fall behind academically while they are receiving treatment. Students attending Solstice East receive educational instruction from our private North Carolina certified on-campus academics academy, fully accredited by Cognia. Our customized educational approach encourages a challenging academic environment while meeting each student’s individualized emotional and therapeutic needs. With small classes and passionate teachers, Solstice East’s academic program features a competitive college preparatory curriculum designed to inspire our diverse student population.

Again, everything comes back to supporting the individual as a whole. Historically, residential treatment center interventions have focused solely on compliance. While compliance is important, what is more important is how it’s generated. When compliance happens through developing internal values such as respect, responsibility, love, family relationships, and personal growth it is more self-sustaining. This is in contrast to compliance that springs from fear of punishment which tends to be short-lived. Self-sustaining, lifelong change is what we strive to create at Solstice East through our remarkable people and programming.

Solstice East Can Help 

Solstice East is a residential treatment center for young women ages 14-18 struggling with behavior and emotional issues such as those that can stem from peer-relationship struggles. This program focuses on helping young women heal, recover, and integrate healthy habits into their lives. Students will learn to build healthy relationships, cope with emotions, and effectively communicate. Solstice East gives young women the skills and confidence they need to lead happy and healthy lives. We can help your family today!

Contact us at  828-484-9946 to learn more about how we create personalized treatment plans.