Milieu Therapy is a method of healing that provides a structured and supportive group setting in which people interact with others. They learn and practice how to communicate and behave appropriately in society. “Milieu” means “environment” in French. Milieu Therapy, therefore, refers to the social environment a student is in.
A facilitator steers the group by modeling desired behavior when needed, but peer interaction and respect are key. The hope is that patients will leave the program feeling confident they can handle the stress of living and working with all types of people.
Personal responsibility is another important part of Milieu Therapy. With support from a therapist, participants determine their own goals for what they want to achieve through the therapy.
If your teenager is seriously struggling with peer interaction, respect, or responsibility, then Milieu Therapy may be beneficial to them. At Solstice East, in North Carolina, we use this therapy to help teenagers of all backgrounds from all places to create the life they want.
Who Can Benefit from a Therapeutic Milieu Program?
Anyone with a disorder, including your teenager, can benefit from Milieu Therapy. Milieu Therapy is used to treat disorders which require a change in thinking and interacting. Patients are held responsible for the choices they make but are taught how to make better choices in the future.
The treatment takes place in a group environment to better simulate authentic interaction. However, the environment is structured so participants can feel safe and secure when trying out new ways of coping with stressful situations. This is an excellent way for teens to learn new skills.
Anger management classes often use Milieu Therapy. Participants are free to discuss their feelings of rage with others who understand, and without being judged. They learn to recognize when the anger starts to build and what to do to keep it within healthy boundaries. They practice coping mechanisms in the group.
Addiction rehabilitation treatment uses Milieu Therapy to help patients learn to recognize the types of people, places, and situations that trigger their desire for drugs, alcohol, or whatever they are addicted to. They can learn from the therapist and from peers in the group how to avoid those people, places, and situations and how to cope or what better thoughts to think if they don’t have the option to avoid them. They can also be taught behaviors to practice to replace the unhealthy habits.
Eating disorders and depression often respond well to Milieu Therapy.
Doctors have even had some success treating some schizophrenia symptoms with this method, although much more research needs to be done if it is to become a recommended treatment.
If you are looking to place your teen in a residential treatment center, Solstice East practices the most up-to-date therapies. Milieu Therapy is one of them. We are always eager to help teens who are experiencing difficulties in life or who may be making unhealthy choices.
Where Does Milieu Therapy Take Place?
There are a variety of environments that have been successfully used for Milieu Therapy. The key to making it work is that the surroundings provide structure, safety, encouragement, respect, and a suitable patient/facilitator ratio.
Treatment location types include:
- Residential treatment facility
- Hospital or section (ward) of a hospital
- Outpatient treatment facility
- Halfway house
- Therapist’s office
- Community meetings
Community based settings are becoming more popular and many are led by a trained facilitator rather than a psychiatrist or psychologist. Weight Watchers and Alcoholics Anonymous are examples of community-led meetings where Milieu Therapy is practiced.
Inpatient or residential treatment facilities may have predetermined lengths of treatment, depending on their policies. For example, a hospital ward might have a time limit that a patient can stay before being required to move to a rehabilitation center, halfway house, or other community setting. Our treatment center at Solstice East, in North Carolina, is located in a beautiful setting, on the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains and we are eager to help your teen if you are seeking assistance.
Which Milieu Setting is Best?
Again, Milieu Therapy is a type of treatment which aims to help participants understand how to cope with the ups and downs of living in society. Although always held in a group setting, the therapeutic practice of Milieu Therapy can easily be practiced in just about any variety of settings.
The group practicing Milieu has a facilitator (sometimes more than one) who provides guidance and structure. The environment fosters feelings of safety, trust, and respect between staff and patients, as well as between group members. Participants learn appropriate behaviors for functioning successfully in society. Personal responsibility is required leading patients to gain confidence and self-reliance.
Please consider Solstice East as the perfect treatment center for your teen to experience the therapy they need. We have an abundance of highly trained, licensed professionals that are eager to help you, your family, and especially your teen through whatever struggles they may be going through.