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Family is Everything

Family involvement is central to New Haven’s treatment philosophy. We realize that lasting change in your daughter only occurs if your family changes in unison with her. Through family events, family therapy, and parent coaching, we invite families to join their daughters in a process of grieving, growing, forgiving, and healing.

Family Weekends

Historically, therapeutic boarding schools and adolescent treatment centers largely ignored the critical role of the family in the treatment process. New Haven, however, has been an industry leader in family-based treatment, implementing a robust program of family therapy, family systems approaches, and family events since 1995. We know that for your daughter’s healing to last, you have to be a part of it.

As a key element of our family program, parents and siblings participate directly in the New Haven on-campus experience six times a year during our family weekends. During these weekends, families from across the country gather to spend time with their daughters and to participate in recreational activities, experiential therapy, family therapy, multi-family therapy groups, and parent-instruction groups. These three-day events give parents the opportunity to spend time with staff, make deep connections with other parents, engage their daughters in new ways, and get a taste for life at New Haven. Parents can also schedule conferences with their daughter’s teachers and therapists, as well as consultations with our medical and psychiatric team.

Family weekends ensure that all family members share, support, and benefit from the New Haven experience. A shared experience is the key to lasting change for your daughter and your whole family.

“…And that is precisely where [New Haven] stands out—there was no lack of truth at the other programs, but the element of love was not obvious…. You open up a world of love, truth, and hope at a time when all three seem to be in jeopardy.

Family Systems Approach

The family systems approach is a supportive, non-judgmental style of therapy that engages the entire family in a cooperative process of growth. Troubled teenage girls respond well to family-based treatment because they know that the treatment focus is not solely on them; they no longer feel the shame of being “the problem” in the family. We often hear parents wonder out loud why New Haven is working when other treatment centers have not. Our research-based, heart-driven approach to family work creates a safe emotional environment in which families can make lasting changes.


A family-systems approach is fundamentally relational. Treatment centers for years were based on a behavior-modification model which can be abusive and doesn’t work. Research shows that one of the most effective sources of hope and change is the relationship a troubled teenage girl has with her therapist. New Haven focuses its entire program around nurturing healthy, healing relationships. Struggling adolescent girls are much more likely to change in a nurturing atmosphere, where they encounter kind, competent, virtuous people. This allows girls to practice new skills and positive behaviors in a context of health, so that they are prepared to return home to the relationships that matter most – family relationships.

We know from experience and from research that lasting change occurs when the whole family is engaged in a coordinated process of growth and change. New Haven applies all of its resources to helping families heal from the past, thrive in the present, and move toward a hopeful future, hand-in-hand with their daughters.

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Therapeutic Assignments

Family involvement and participation in the therapeutic change process exponentially increases treatment effect. At New Haven, the whole family system is required to be involved in the therapeutic process.

In addition to intensive individual and family therapeutic sessions, Students and Parents receive individualized family-focused therapeutic assignments to support the healing process. These tasks and assignments have been developed and refined since the genesis of New Haven to address the specific and sometimes complex needs of the students and families that we serve. Not only do these assignments play a major role in family healing while at New Haven, but often families and students site these therapeutic assignments as an integral part to the success families experience during the months and years that follow New Haven.

Healing Phases

New Haven’s values-based phases help our students take positive control of their lives by teaching them to shift control from an external locus (others control her) to an internal locus (she controls herself).

Our phases are given names that have special meanings:

  1. Safety
  2. Expectation
  3. Exploration
  4. Insight
  5. Integrity
  6. Interdependence

The second two phases begin with the prefix “ex” to suggest that the student is still being controlled or motivated by outside influences. The last three phases begin with prefix “in” to represent the student’s shift from being controlled by outside forces to taking control of herself.

Each phase has a set of requirements which the student and her family must complete before they are eligible to advance to the next phase. Each phase also has specific privileges which the student may enjoy once she has reached it.

Values Beads

“Every staff at New Haven has their heart and love in their job. And you feel it always… The thing about New Haven is they provide all the structure—but at the same time all the love—and you can feel it all the time. That is why so many miracles happen at New Haven, it’s the eternal love.”

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Family Treatment Goals

At New Haven, we strongly believe in the involvement of the whole family system in the healing process. Upon arrival at New Haven, families work with their primary therapist to establish individual and collective goals for family healing. Time is spent exploring the manner in which the journey to New Haven has impacted each member of the family system. Goals are established based upon this exploratory work, with objectives outlining each step of the healing process for each member of the family.

Upon this foundation, a Master Treatment Plan is established; providing a framework from which all treatment interventions are derived. This treatment plan is reviewed weekly by the team of professionals specifically assigned to your family to ensure that treatment is progressing in a favorable and timely manner.