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CLINICAL PROGRAMS

The Case for Age-Specific Treatment
Emotionally, developmentally, and clinically, there is a difference between a younger and an older teen.  Their needs and wants are different, as is the way in which they process information and in how they approach problems. Therefore, while the first, instinctive reason to separate populations is protection (keeping younger girls away from older girl behaviors and attitudes), there are many others that have to do with the simple differences between the populations.  The following benefits are just a few of those experienced by girls at Moonridge Academy as compared to traditional residential treatment’s mixing of ages:

     Age appropriate treatment.  This includes sand tray therapy (the use of figurines and a sandbox to recreate relationships, scenes, etc in a way that allows the girl to subconsciously reveal deep thoughts and feelings), play therapy, equine assisted psychotherapy (EAP--click here to learn more about EAP), and specialized low ropes course and canyoneering exercises that improve self-esteem, encourage teamwork, work on trust issues, and set patterns for overcoming fears.

·     Play time built into the schedule.  Because of the great need for structure with this type of girl, most residential treatment centers that work with varying ages end up being too structured for a younger girl.

·     Horseback riding. Moonridge Academy has an outstanding equestrian program. Working and recreating with animals can be highly therapeutic.  Moonridge girls ride, groom, and work with horses.  At higher levels, girls have the opportunity to take advanced riding lessons and to become skilled equestrians.  Moonridge feels strongly that this work with horses is ideal for these younger ages.

·     More Protective Environment.  Moonridge’s age limitation means that girls don’t get exposed to “older girl issues and behaviors” as much.  While some girls will in fact be of high school age and grade, Moonridge could nevertheless quite accurately be metaphorically likened to a therapeutic “Middle School” or “Junior High” while traditional treatment centers could be likened to “High School.”

·     Better Group Therapy.  Younger girls tend to open up more in group therapy and worry less about “looking dumb” when older girls aren’t present.

The Role of Parents: Key to Long Term Success
At Moonridge Academy, emphasis is placed on helping the family system—arming the family with the tools they need to make the successful transition home. Because most of our parents are unwittingly locked into an unhealthy dance step of control battles and manipulation with their daughters prior to admission, proper training and education to help parents break out of this pattern is a key factor for long-term success.

Parents are involved in three ways: first, they have weekly parent reading assignments and homework as part of the Personal Greatness Program; second, they participate in weekly family therapy sessions (via the telephone); and third, they travel to and participate in Parent Weekends that are held on campus every eight weeks. Parent Weekends include family therapy and group therapy sessions, recreational therapy activities done with parents and daughters, Parent Support Group meetings, and specific activities that target improved parent/child conflict resolution and communication.

Parents have frequently expressed to us their surprise (and delight) at the personal growth and change that they have experienced in themselves as well as in their daughter. Significantly, these new parenting skills play a major role in allowing a girl to sustain her change when she returns home in the future.


 



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