At Monarch School we utilize a Relational Approach in the work that we provide to our students and their families. The current research is very clear that, regardless of clinical approach, the therapeutic relationship is predictive of change. It is our perspective that this is especially so with adolescents. From a developmental standpoint, a significant task for adolescents is developing their identities and a large part of that identity development is achieved through relations with others. This includes relationships within the family as well as with peers and other adults. Many of our students have struggled with navigating this process and these struggles have taken a variety of forms. Some examples of these might be: avoiding peer, family, or other adults; developing unhealthy peer relationships; changing peer groups; and conflict-filled family relationships. Our goal is to get these relationships back on track and reconnect the student in a healthy way to themselves, their families, and supportive peers.
Monarch School also takes a very integrative approach to therapy and our clinical team works very closely with our academic department, our life skills instructors, and our creative arts department. It is our perspective that adolescents thrive when they are given many opportunities to challenge themselves and succeed and that therapy is not separate from that. In short, we believe that in order to be truly effective as a therapist with adolescents especially, you have to be a part of their lives.
Monarch School students are bright, yet they struggle with any combination of: ADD, ADHD, Anxiety, Coping Skills, Depressive Disorder, High Functioning Autism Spectrum Disorder, Executive Functioning Processing Disorder, Grief, Loss, Addictive Behaviors, and Low Self-Esteem.
Upon enrollment, each new student is placed in a peer group comprised of between eight to ten students assigned to a Primary Therapist, overseen by our Clinical Director. The Primary Therapist will have already spoken to the student’s prior therapists and will be fully prepared to aid the student’s transition to Monarch School. Our clinical team utilizes a variety of evidence-based approaches including: Family Systems, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT), Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Trauma Focused CBT, Client Centered Therapy, International Association of Eating Disorder Professionals (IAEDP), Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), EAGALA (Equine) Therapy, on-campus 12 Step Recovery, and Object Relations. We consider our varied theoretical backgrounds and perspectives as one of our greatest strengths.
The Primary Therapist also meets with each student at least once per week in a therapeutic session. In addition to the more formal venues, Primary Therapists find as many ways as possible to interact with students. They join the outdoor electives so they can participate alongside their students, eat meals together, go on walks and take part in any of the activities the season offers. These shared moments allow students and Primary Therapists to form bonds based on honesty and mutual endeavor. This level of involvement allows the Primary Therapist to constantly evaluate and improve each student’s therapeutic objectives.
The Primary Therapist and the student’s parents have weekly treatment planning sessions via phone calls, in which they develop collaborative strategies to address both the student’s individual issues and their relationships within the family. These sessions cover topics such as setting boundaries, improving communication strategies, planning for post-Monarch, evaluating extended family relationships and determining appropriate peer relationships. Also, since academics are such an integral aspect of an adolescent’s life, much attention is given to academic issues with an eye to both current struggles or obstacles and future academic aspirations.
Each Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday the entire student body, therapists and teachers participate in group therapy sessions. These sessions are run by therapists who have clear direction for each student. Our groups utilize an interpersonal model where the students can improve communication skills in a safe and supportive environment. Our groups have an average size of 8 and run for 2 hours. The therapists are trained to maintain a safe, emotional environment and to aid the students in planning strategies for coping with real-life issues. We also have specialized groups that we offer to address specific clinical issues such as trauma, grief and loss, eating and body image issues, adoption or attachment issues.
Our team works closely with students who struggle with substance abuse, internet, gaming, and other addictions. We utilize Motivational Interviewing to facilitate engagement and a readiness to change, this is combined with both Mindfulness and a Cognitive Behavioral Relapse Prevention approaches to educate and promote abstinence. It consists of a regular weekly group session that includes both a psycho-educational component as well as an opportunity for the students to process the emotional content around their use of substances.
Family Counseling Services
Monarch School believes that family therapy sessions are crucial to a student’s emotional growth. A student’s assigned therapist facilitates these sessions via either phone or video conference. Honestly engaging the issues each family faces allows both students and parents to repair rifts, voice concerns, and reestablish a foundation of trust. This involvement enhances the child’s individual growth and reaffirms the importance of family.
To assist students in their success outside of Monarch School, we offer a post-graduate support system. A few months prior to a student’s graduation, each student and family will be introduced to our Transition Therapist. Our Transition Therapist meets regularly with the student and their family in order to build a rapport with each.Transition therapy reintroduces students to the “real world” through weekly outings and activities in our local communities. These events assist students in the daily use of their new skills and allow them to work through issues they will encounter outside of Monarch. After graduation our Transition Therapist makes weekly calls to the family and student and is available anytime via phone or email, seven days a week, to aid the family’s transition for up to three months following graduation. If necessary, the Transition Therapist can travel to any location to provide on-site support and guidance.
As a service to our families, Monarch School provides a monthly detailed invoice for all individual, family, and group therapy sessions. This monthly report provides our families the necessary information so they may request reimbursement from their health insurance provider. *All insurance plans vary; we encourage our families to familiarize themselves with their insurer on what they will reimburse.