Each girl is assigned to a licensed psychotherapist who manages her treatment. She will meet with her therapist for a minimum of two sessions each week for private, individual psychotherapy. The therapist is also available to meet for “incidental” therapy when a girl requests additional time to talk or if she is struggling.
Individual therapy provides an opportunity for the girl and the therapist to focus on her unique needs. The goals of individual therapy are to increase a girl’s awareness and capacity for self-observation and to develop insight into her cognition, emotions, and core beliefs. Her increased insight will help her understand how she can use her strengths to make healthy choices of thought, feeling, or action and to better manage discomfort or distress.
A very important aspect of successful therapy is the relationship a girl has with her therapist. If she feels accepted, safe, and secure, she will be able to open up and look at herself. Because the therapists’ offices are in the home, they have the unique opportunity to participate with the girls in their daily activities. This gives the therapist first-hand observation of each girl’s behavior and presents opportunity for creating a knowledgeable, supportive alliance with the young women.
Our experience shows us that lasting change occurs when the whole family is engaged in a coordinated process of growth. Girls who are struggling are more likely to make necessary changes if they feel that the entire family system is cooperatively changing. Parents can walk hand-in-hand with their daughters through the treatment process through participation in family therapy. These weekly sessions are conducted by phone, Skype conferencing, or face-to-face sessions when parents are visiting. Family sessions are focused on helping families resolve conflict, improve family communication and problem solving, and restore trusting relationships. These sessions give parents and daughters the opportunity to work through difficult issues, align goals and efforts, provide support to each other, and develop strategies for a successful transition home.
At Uinta, lasting change takes place because we invite the entire family to work in a unified way to grow and make changes. Uinta has been a leader is involving parents in the treatment process by allowing immediate and frequent family contact, implementing a family systems approach, and encouraging family participation in on-campus training and family weekends.
As soon as a young woman arrives at Uinta, she is encouraged to have frequent phone and mail contact with her family. Families can visit their daughter every month. When families are visiting, they may participate in face-to-face family therapy or parent training sessions. As a girl progresses through treatment, home visits provide an opportunity for the entire family to practice new skills, establish new patterns, and spend quality time together.
Twice a year, families can participate directly in the Uinta experience during our family weekends. During the family weekends, parents and daughters participate in educational presentations, parent instruction, group therapy, and experiential therapy. These three-day weekends allow parents to connect with other parents and engage in the therapeutic process with their daughters at a deeper level. The connection and support fostered during the family weekend is a key element in maintaining momentum during the healthy struggle of treatment.
Because of the powerful influence that the peer group wields during adolescence, group therapy is a powerful tool for growth and change at Uinta Academy. Most of our young women have struggled to form a healthy identity and find their place with their peers. The power of group therapy lies in the unique opportunity for girls to receive perspectives, support, encouragement, and feedback from other young women in a safe and accepting environment. Process groups also give girls an opportunity to deepen their level of self-awareness and how they communicate and relate to others. Rather than focus on individual differences, the girls are encouraged to support each other in a way that promotes growth. While processing issues in group, the girls learn how to identify and communicate their feelings in a manner that presents their “true self” and promotes healthy acceptance and relationships.
Uinta Academy offers the largest selection of groups in residential treatment. These groups were carefully selected to address issues that young women experience.
The addictions group teaches girls about alcohol and substance abuse issues, as well as other addictive and compulsive thinking patterns and behaviors (cutting, compulsive stealing, binging and purging, technology use, and relationships). The group discusses addiction identification, the addiction cycle, the harmful effects of addictive behavior, and the thinking errors associated with addictive cognition.
The boundaries group teaches appropriate relational, emotional, physical, and sexual boundaries. The girls learn how to establish healthy boundaries for self in order to have healthy relationships with others. Since boundaries are value laden, the group also helps the girls identify their values and beliefs. The group also discusses co-dependent relationship patterns, emotional and sexual grooming, moral development, identifying a sense of self, and being assertive and honest in relationships.
Equine Assisted Psychotherapy (EAP) is a very powerful experiential method to help the girls understand their personal interaction and communication styles. During the group process the girls are presented with an activity in which they need to work either individually or collectively with a horse. The horse’s response to a girl’s behavior provides immediate feedback to the girl in a manner that may be less threatening to examine than having a person give her the verbal feedback. Metaphors and analogies are used to help the girls connect the activity to their interactions with parents, siblings, teachers and peers. The therapist then processes with each girl to help her develop insight into negative or un-resourceful behaviors and emotional responses.
Teenage girls are often very focused on their physical appearance, yet they may not have correct information about health and fitness. The healthy lifestyles group is focused on educating the girls about nutrition and a healthy diet, exercise and physical fitness, appropriate weight, and body image and other women’s health issues. This group is supported by a healthy diet and physical fitness activities at Uinta Academy.
The focus of this group is to help the girls develop self-respect and self-confidence and to establish self-value. This group helps the girls learn about their strengths and gain appreciation for their individuality. Positive body image and character development are also topics discussed in the group. During the anger management section of the group, the girls learn coping skills to help them manage depression and anger, especially anger that is self-focused and erodes self-image and confidence.
Essentially all people experience some type of trauma or disturbing experience throughout their lives. This group utilizes both a psycho-educational approach and a process approach to help the girls achieve the following goals: develop healthy skills to cope with past and ongoing/present trauma; develop skills to prevent persistent disturbances associated with various traumas; and develop skills to prevent future violations/traumas. The girls learn to distance themselves from a disturbing past, learn to view themselves as healthy individuals with skills to cope and keep themselves safe, and to move away from stress, anguish, shame, anxiety, destructive behaviors, and unhealthy relationships.
The family meeting is designed to give each girl a voice in decision making and resourceful problem solving as it relates to her Uinta “family”. During this meeting, the girls are encouraged to have input in their living environment, take responsibility for solving problems as they arise, make decisions about daily scheduling and weekly outings, and provide feedback, praise and support to other “family” members. The goal of this group is to help girls learn to assert themselves and communicate effectively when they return home to their own families. Family Meeting occurs daily.
This group is designed to allow the girls to provide both support and appropriate confrontation to each other. The power of the peer support group lies in the opportunity for a girl to receive multiple perspectives and deepen her self-awareness of how she relates to others. This group fosters a positive peer culture whereby the girls learn how to give and accept praise and corrective feedback from each other. They are encouraged to identify strengths and weaknesses in each other that need to be brought to the forefront of treatment in a positive and supportive manner. In this group, girls are challenged to change unhealthy relationship patterns and encouraged to make good decisions and form positive peer relationships.
The cognitive processes group helps the girls focus on their cognitive distortions and irrational belief systems. The girls identify their “thinking errors,” which will give them an understanding on what causes them negative thoughts and leads to negative beliefs about themselves and those around them. As the girls learn how to understand their cognitive processing, they can understand how to combat their cognitive distortions and improve how they think and feel about themselves, families and friends. As the girl understands her cognitive processing, her ability to engage in therapy and life will greatly improve.
The DBT skills group is designed to help girls understand balance in their lives via five core skills. These skills are core mindfulness, distress tolerance, emotional regulation, interpersonal effectiveness and middle of the path thinking. Each week, the girls focus on specific skills and learn how to use those skills in their life. The girls will learn, role play, and practice these skills not only in the group, but also at home with their parents and loved ones. As the girls develop these skills, the quality of their relationships with themselves and others improves and they develop a better sense of themselves as they relate to others around them.
Relational Aggression is behavior that is intended to hurt someone by harming their relationships with others. Think Mean Girls. It is often covert and subtle and can be difficult to recognize. It is hurtful, intentional behavior that damages self esteem and makes it difficult for creating and maintaining healthy relationships, an important developmental task for children and teens. This group helps to empower girls to identify, assess, and reduce relational aggresion. The girls will develop strategies for creating safe social climates and maintaining healthy friendships.
The majority of our young women have been immersed in the world of social media prior to entering treatment. This group teaches them how this realm of interaction has impacted their emotional growth and development. Throughout this group they will explore boundaries, relationships, time spent online, the loaded “likes,” identity development, and a myriad of other issues associated with social media use. It is critical to teach young women how to navigate the landscape of social media through media literacy and process oriented exploration.
This group occurs in the transition phase of the girls’ treatment at Uinta Academy. In this group the girls discuss their fears, challenges, and feelings around their transition from Uinta Academy to their home, particularly around rejoining their peer group at home. Through the group process they learn about thinking errors, irrational beliefs, limiting beliefs, self awareness, understanding how past messages (both internal and external messages) affect how they think and behave and learning the skills necessary to successfully transition from Uinta Academy into an appropriate peer group.
The Women’s Issues Group is a unique process group that focuses on various issues related contemporary culture and young women. This group is reserved for the girls who are in the transition phase of treatment. The young women discuss various relationship issues, particularly those related to feelings of acceptance and rejection. The girls also explore issues pertaining social media, cultural expectations, media literacy, body image, sexual identity, self-image and identity related issues in general. This process group helps our young women navigate and further understand the “cultural wallpaper” that inundates their daily lives.
The Sexual Trauma Group is a group that specializes in helping young women who have endured sexual trauma. Young women who attend this group have been identified by their therapist and are ready to discuss their sexual trauma in a process group setting. This group involves processing feelings of shame, fear, guilt, self-blame and overall vulnerability regarding their sexual trauma. The young women in this group also learn many of the myths, negative beliefs and symptoms that are often associated with this type of trauma. They will learn the emotional grooming tactics that are often used by perpetrators. The aim of this group is to help young women who have survived sexual trauma to understand their experience and to in turn be able to navigate future relationships from a place of strength.
The substance abuse group is specialty group offered to those girls at Uinta Academy who have used and abused substances. This is a process oriented group, which uses a SMART recovery approach that focuses the girls on the vast aspects of their chemical abuse and/or dependency issues. The girls begin to understand their addiction, and work through the core issues associated with substance use during this group. They will develop insight into their own behavior as they support each other in sobriety. In each group session, the girls are encouraged to challenge each other via asking questions, giving comments, and supporting one another. One of the key issues of this group is to help the girl to learn how attachment, trauma, anxiety, and/or depression plays a part in their use and how they will work to learn new ways to deal with their pain as they resolve these issues in their therapy. As they work through their substance abuse issues, the girls will develop relapse prevention plans to help them maintain and commit to a life of sobriety after leaving Uinta.
This is a powerful, self awareness building groups for adopted girls. The group focuses on reactive attachment disorder related issues. The girls in the adoptions group are all girls that are dealing with questions, concerns and issues regarding their individual adoptions. The group is very interactive and process oriented. Some of the topics addressed are: the concept of the “primal wound”; loss, trauma, and shame; special needs of adopted children; the process of grieving and mourning; the roots of anger; getting in touch with feelings about adoption; understanding and communicating feelings about adoption appropriately; gaining a sense of personal power and self empowerment; and reciprocity in relationships. The girls explore their own adoption issues and learn how to develop productive, healthy and mutually rewarding relationships.
The bereavement group is for the girls who have lost a parent or a loved one through death. It is a process group that focuses on acknowledgment of the loss, grief, mourning and reconciliation. Through interactive and process oriented discussions the girls are discuss their personal stories relating to their loss. The group discusses fear, guilt, self-blame and overall vulnerability regarding the trauma experienced through the loss of a loved one. They learn how these feelings, along with the fear of abandonment, affect their lives and relationships. The girls are able to heal as they reach out to each other for support and encouragement.
This group occurs in the young adult home at Uinta Academy. In this group the girls discuss their feelings around the transition to adulthood from adolescence, particularly around the added responsibilities and choices that naturally come with this stage of life. Through the group process they learn about decision-making, thinking errors, and learn the skills necessary to successfully transition from adolescence to responsible adulthood.