Therapeutic Approach

We all have preferences. We may share an experience with others, but our reactions to it can wildly differ. Things as straightforward as taste, smells, textures, or as specific as gardening, chemistry, or riding a horse, can illicit opposite responses from person to person.  

Because our personal histories and preferences are all so varied, some of us are very comfortable in conversation and can gain insight into ourselves by talking through memories and beliefs. Others learn by doing, and experiences offer metaphors through which we can see into ourselves and our patterns more clearly.  

By using a multifaceted therapeutic approach, we can explore many types of therapy to find experiences that resonate with each individual we serve. It’s important to use many tools, as this provides youth the most opportunities to connect with the personal growth and healing that an individualized therapy approach can provide.

Our therapeutic approach is attachment based, trauma informed, empowering, and strength based.  Individual sessions allow privacy to focus on specific concerns. Group therapy takes the focus off any one individual and shows that there are others facing similar struggles, providing a space where youth can practice relationship skills together and mirror each other’s growth. Family therapy helps to resolve conflict and improve communication and connection within the student’s family system. 

Our combination of therapies help youth identify how their past has impacted their present as they build effective skills for a healthier future. We also help students untangle how past experiences impact their current functioning, both individually and interpersonally. Mindfulness and awareness come in small steps, we help our students break down their long-term goals into small, attainable ones, based in the strengths they already have.  

In all therapeutic modalities we use, we help youth increase awareness of thinking patterns, emotional responses, behaviors that get in the way of their goals, and to notice physical sensations that communicate internal needs and wisdom.  

In our multifaceted therapeutic approach we use:  

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT): Helps students become aware of how their internal dialog impacts how they feel and respond to the world, so they can learn ways to reframe that dialog and change their responses to align with their values and goals.  

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT): Directly targets the emotional dysregulation that comes from unhelpful beliefs and self-talk. It focuses on four specific skillsets: mindfulness, interpersonal effectiveness, distress tolerance, and emotion regulation. DBT is an evidence-based highly researched therapy that aids youth in shifting black and white thinking and by discovering and practicing more flexible gray-area thinking.  

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR): Is based in the research that memories of trauma are not stored in the brain in the same way normal memories are, and that they become like a wound in the mind that doesn’t heal. EMDR aids the body’s natural healing process and allows the brain to reprocess traumatic experiences without extensive talking about distressing memories. EMDR is a highly researched, effective and evidence-based therapy.  

Equine Assisted Psychotherapy (EAP): Recognizing emotional dysregulation in one’s self can be difficult, particularly for those who are trauma affected or resistant to talk therapy. EAP uses the bond between horse and human and the ability of the animal to understand body language to teach youth about themselves. 

Experiential Learning: While not a therapy in itself, shared learning experiences can give youth insight into themselves. Art, gardening, and recreation like skiing, horseback riding, and rafting, can build trust within a group and problem-solving skills for the individual. When later discussed in group therapy, these benefits are revisited and reinforced. Our therapists capture the benefits of experiential modalities/learning even in the therapy office by using “here and now” techniques, somatic awareness, mindfulness practices, and role-playing of skills and tools with youth.