Students are organized into four teams, named for each season: Spring Team, Summer Team, Autumn Team, and Winter Team. The teams are organized around which primary therapist the student is paired with. The teams spend much of their time together, from meals to workouts, off-campus recreation and on-campus activities. Having both students and staff members divided into specific teams allows for deeper relationships to be built, and create a small-program feel.
One of the first assignments in the Hero’s Journey is to create their Hero’s Code, which involves identifying the principles and values that are important to them. When something occurs that goes against our guidelines for creating a safe and loving environment, we utilize experiential methods to internalize these principles to create future, lasting change. This looks different for each student and situation, and the aim is to help our students internalize these values as they face the ups and downs of the therapeutic process.
At Solstice East, one of the most effective teen treatment programs, we believe that a person who has responsibilities within a community and contributes positively to that community, and is held accountable for carrying out those duties effectively, will learn and grow tremendously. Participation in our milieu includes carrying a community role, or a “job” which is necessary in the efficient function of the daily regimen. These jobs range in duties from emptying trash, to managing laundry schedule, to assisting in the kitchen, and many others. The purpose of these roles is threefold: 1) to teach responsibility, 2) to enhance the feeling of being “needed”, 3) to increase self- efficacy and sense of confidence in a “job well-done.”
Life is predicated on relationships, and this is often magnified for those who have experienced trauma and loss. Our Mentors work everyday to build meaningful, healthy attachments and relationships with our girls. This means the relationship will be broken and repaired throughout their journey, and the Mentors are helping the girls to understand the effect their choices and actions can have on a relationship.
This also means we are thoughtful with our learning experiences and let natural consequences manifest themselves. We are not trying to control behaviors while they are here, we are trying to teach and show the girls that it is fulfilling to make choices that are good for their relationships and rooted in their principles and values.