THERAPY AT UINTA ACADEMY
Each student is assigned to a licensed psychotherapist who manages their treatment. They meet with their 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 student requests additional time to talk or if they are struggling.
Individual therapy provides an opportunity for the student and the therapist to focus on unique needs. The goals of individual therapy are to increase a student's awareness and capacity for self-observation and to develop insight into their cognition, emotions, and core beliefs. Their increased insight will help them understand how they can use their 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 student has with her therapist. If they feel accepted, safe, and secure, they will be able to open up and look at themselves. Because the therapists’ offices are in the home, they have the unique opportunity to participate with the students in their daily activities. This gives the therapist first-hand observation of each student'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 adult arrives at Uinta, they are encouraged to have frequent phone and mail contact with their family. Families can visit the child every month. When families are visiting, they may participate in face-to-face family therapy or parent training sessions. As a young adult 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 their child 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 child 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 adults 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 individuals to receive perspectives, support, encouragement, and feedback from other young adults in a safe and accepting environment. Process groups also give individuals an opportunity to deepen their level of self-awareness and how they communicate and relate to others. Rather than focus on individual differences, the individuals are encouraged to support each other in a way that promotes growth. While processing issues in a group, the individuals 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 clients 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 clients learn how to establish healthy boundaries for themselves in order to have healthy relationships with others. Since boundaries are value laden, the group also helps the clients 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 THERAPY
Equine Assisted Psychotherapy (EAP) is a very powerful experiential method to help clients understand their personal interaction and communication styles. During the group process, the clients are presented with an activity in which they need to work either individually or collectively with a horse. The horse’s response to a client's behavior provides immediate feedback to the client in a manner that may be less threatening to examine than having a person give the client verbal feedback. Metaphors and analogies are used to help the clients connect the activity to their interactions with parents, siblings, teachers and peers. The therapist then processes with each client to help them develop insight into negative or un-resourceful behaviors and emotional responses.
HEALTHY LIFESTYLES GROUP
Teenagers and young adults 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 clients about nutrition and a healthy diet, exercise and physical fitness, appropriate weight, and body image, and other health issues. This group is supported by a healthy diet and physical fitness activities at Uinta Academy.
SELF-ESTEEM/ANGER MANAGEMENT GROUP
The focus of this group is to help the clients develop self-respect and self-confidence and to establish self-value. This group helps the clients 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 clients 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 clients 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 clients 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 client a voice in decision making and resourceful problem solving as it relates to her Uinta “family”. During this meeting, the clients 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 students learn to assert themselves and communicate effectively when they return home to their own families. Family Meeting occurs daily.
PEER SUPPORT AND ACCOUNTABILITY GROUP
This group is designed to allow the clients to provide both support and appropriate confrontation with each other. The power of the peer support group lies in the opportunity for a client to receive multiple perspectives and deepen self-awareness of how the client relates to others. This group fosters a positive peer culture whereby the clients 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, clients are challenged to change unhealthy relationship patterns and encouraged to make good decisions and form positive peer relationships.
COGNITIVE PROCESSES GROUP
The cognitive processes group helps the clients focus on their cognitive distortions and irrational belief systems. The clients 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 clients 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 client understands their cognitive processing, their ability to engage in therapy and life will greatly improve.
DIALECTICAL BEHAVIORAL THERAPY (DBT) SKILLS GROUP
The DBT skills group is designed to help clients 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 clients focus on specific skills and learn how to use those skills in their life. The client 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 GROUP
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 clients to identify, assess, and reduce relational aggresion. The clients will develop strategies for creating safe social climates and maintaining healthy friendships.
SOCIAL MEDIA GROUP
The majority of our young adults 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 adults and teens how to navigate the landscape of social media through media literacy and process oriented exploration.
This group occurs in the transition phase of the client's treatment at Uinta Academy. In this group, the clients 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.
SEXUAL TRAUMA GROUP
The Sexual Trauma Group is a group that specializes in helping clients who have endured sexual trauma. Clients 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 clients 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 clients who have survived sexual trauma to understand their experience and to in turn be able to navigate future relationships from a place of strength.
SUBSTANCE ABUSE GROUP
The substance abuse group is specialty group offered to those clients at Uinta Academy who have used and abused substances. This is a process oriented group, which uses a SMART recovery approach that focuses the client on the vast aspects of their chemical abuse and/or dependency issues. The clients 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 client 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 clients 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 clients. The group focuses on reactive attachment disorder related issues. The clients in the adoptions group are all individuals 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 individuals explore their own adoption issues and learn how to develop productive, healthy and mutually rewarding relationships.
The bereavement group is for the clients 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 clients 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.
YOUNG ADULT GROUP
This group occurs in the young adult home at Uinta Academy. In this group, the clients 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.
"Young adults and teens who come to Uinta are pleasantly surprised that they live in a home in a residential neighborhood, that the mountains are right outside their door, and that they get to do all the normal things that teenagers and young adults like to do."