Evidence-Based Therapy for Teens
One of our goals is to provide the space for our adolescent clients to begin to heal from the mental, spiritual, and physical damage done in active addiction. Alongside this healing process, we also want to equip our clients with the necessary coping skills to handle the emotional ups and downs that accompany daily life even when we are in a state of good mental health.
Throughout their time at Eagle Overlook, our clients engage in both individual and group therapy. We take a strong skill-based approach using well-researched and evidenced-based therapeutic methods, ensuring that clients leave treatment with concrete coping mechanisms to handle the challenges of daily life after treatment is over. Our staff also is eclectic in their approach to provide innovative healing methods as well, that incorporate the arts and outdoors.
We seek to accompany our clients in the process of self-actualization through identifying their strengths, likes, dislikes, and opportunities for improvement. Our philosophy is to build resilience and ignite passions that have been latent so as to help foster a life with purpose and exuberance.
Dialectical Behavioral Therapy for Teens
Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) provides clients with new skills to manage painful emotions and decrease conflict in relationships. DBT specifically focuses on providing therapeutic skills in four key areas:
- Mindfulness – focuses on improving an individual’s ability to accept and be present in the current moment
- Distress tolerance – increases a person’s tolerance of negative emotion, rather than trying to escape from it
- Emotion regulation – covers strategies to manage and change intense emotions that are causing problems in a person’s life
- Interpersonal effectiveness – consists of techniques that allow a person to communicate with others in a way that is assertive, maintains self-respect, and strengthens relationships
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy for Teens
Another skill-based treatment approach, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) is a way of connecting with one’s values and living a meaningful and connected life even in the presence of difficult emotions. ACT presents therapy for teens in way where they employ six core principles or skills in order to take meaningful action, even when it’s difficult:
- Cognitive defusion – recognizing urges, thoughts, emotions, sensations, and feelings for what they are and recognizing they are temporary
- Presence – experiencing the world more directly rather than through the lens of judging experiences as “negative” or “positive”
- Acceptance – being present with difficult emotions, thoughts, and feelings rather than struggling against them, which only prolongs and increases unwanted experiences
- Self as context – getting in touch with a transcendent “observing” self can notice thoughts and feelings without being changed by them
- Values – connecting to guiding principles and life directions that are meaningful and valuable to the individual
- Committed action – developing the skill of taking meaningful action even in the presence of difficult emotions
Wilderness and Experiential Programming
Wilderness therapy, also referred to as outdoor behavioral healthcare, is a treatment modality that uses expeditions into the wilderness or other unfamiliar surroundings as a means of addressing behavioral and mental health issues. The clients’ engagement with the natural world also produces a healing and salutatory effect on the individual, restoring balance to the connection between their mind, body, and spirit.
Wilderness therapy provides a secure, non-critical, and supportive environment for self-discovery. Individuals are often guided through an examination of ineffective behaviors that contribute to negative circumstances in their lives. Through the use of wilderness expeditions, primitive skills training (such as primitive fire starting), and team-building exercises, disruptive or unproductive beliefs and views may be challenged and possibly transformed.
Spirituality can mean different things to different people. For some, it’s primarily about participation in organized religion. For others, it’s a non-religious experience that involves getting in touch with their spiritual selves through yoga, meditation, quiet reflection, or time in nature. Instincts toward spirituality appear to be deeply ingrained in individuals. As the brain processes sensory experiences, it naturally looks for patterns and our conscious selves often seek meaning in those patterns.
We believe that growing spiritually is the foundation for understanding a relationship with one’s self and one’s mental health and well-being. As a foundation to our approach, we use a Twelve Step framework to provide a positive and open atmosphere of spiritual growth and recovery for young people. We strongly encourage the clients to incorporate their own beliefs and practices to find a spiritual approach that is meaningful to them and provides them with a sense of connection. We also seek to incorporate SMART Recovery and Refuge Recovery approaches.
Psychoeducational groups are therapy groups conducted by a mental health professional that educate clients about their addiction and other mental health challenges and ways of coping. Psychoeducational groups utilize the group therapy process but emphasize helping the clients to understand the underlying process of addiction and mental health. In these groups clients learn about coping skills, defense mechanisms, consequences of substance use, relapse prevention, community support systems, anger management, the Twelve Steps, and recognizing signs and symptoms of mental health concerns.
Equine Assisted Psychotherapy
The use of horses is gaining more recognition as a powerful and effective approach to helping children, adolescents, and adults. Horses are innate at reading our non-verbal body language, experience a wide range of feelings, and provide immediate, honest, observable feedback in response to our interactions with them. They are social beings and bring insight into group dynamics and the individual roles we play in our daily lives. It’s an action-based therapy in which individuals learn about themselves and others by participating in activities with horses followed by a discussion concerning their feelings, behaviors, and patterns.
Horticultural therapy techniques are employed to assist participants to learn new skills or regain those that are lost. Horticultural therapy helps improve memory, cognitive abilities, task initiation, language skills, and socialization. Like wilderness therapy, horticulture also involves a restorative contact with the natural world that has a healing effect on the clients.