Our Approach to Helping Your Family
As you’ve undoubtedly found, healing your daughter with behavioral health challenges is a complex process. Since 1995, New Haven has been helping families get their daughter back. We have seen that each family is unique, so we design a treatment plan just for you and your daughter. Yet, we’ve also found that some aspects of treatment are so beneficial that it has become an unchangeable part of our program. One of these aspects is "trauma-informed care".
Due to the prevalence of post-traumatic stress disorder, our treatment program assumes that everyone in our system — students, families, and employees — are experiencing traumatic stress.
What is trauma? Simply put, trauma happens when something is too big, or happens too fast, for the brain to process. The brain gets stuck in "danger mode" and you’ll experience traumatic stress until you're able to work through the situation.
Traumatic events are an unfortunate, but prevalent theme in our society. Many individuals believe they have not experienced trauma because their experience doesn't compare to that of war veterans or victims of natural disasters. The truth is that trauma, and thereby traumatic stress, comes in many forms. As a parent looking into a treatment program for your daughter, you are experiencing a traumatic event. Behavioral health symptoms become disruptive in your family's function. You might have experienced the need to sleep on your daughter’s bedroom floor, check on her when she’s out of sight, or track her phone throughout the day. Other days you might wonder if she’s going to throw her lunch away, or fear she’ll fail her classes because she’s too depressed to get out of bed. These are not fears a parent should have to experience, and the overwhelming stress becomes a traumatic event.
For your daughter, a traumatic event may have been the beginning of her struggles, or it might be a result of them. Self-destructive behavior is often among the symptoms of PTSD in teens, but can also cause traumatic stress in your daughter. Using trauma-informed care in our treatment program ensures that your family leaves healthy, connected, and empowered.
“Above all, I thank you for making us both feel safe for the first time since she was 9 years old. No amount of psychiatric admissions, psychiatrists, medication, hospital admissions for grave illnesses, or new friends or school settings provided safety. It was only at New Haven that we felt not only hope but also the safety and freedom to explore what went wrong and how to fix it.
While students and families coming to New Haven will experience a wide range of emotions, most everyone feels these three things: hopeless, helpless, and out of control. Our program is designed to give that control back through empowerment.
We empower our students by giving them clear accountability, responsibilities, and therapeutic education. You and your daughter will have an active part in creating the family's Master Treatment plan and in the treatment team . For a student suffering from PTSD, having a voice in her own treatment and recovery is crucial.
Our treatment program does not include a points system, but is instead based on strengthening your daughter’s personal values. The values program helps to further individualize your daughter's treatment, since she will do therapeutic assignments based on the values she chooses.
To prevent stigmas, we call the girls entrusted to our care “students”, not clients. We will never label your daughter by her diagnoses, nor will we ever divide our houses by diagnoses.
Your daughter will have a residential staff mentor to work with her outside of therapy. This mentor, along with the entire residential community, will help her practice new skills. These might include asserting her needs, conflict resolution, and personal responsibility. As she continues to practice these skills, she will feel confident in herself after New Haven.
One of the most enduring and fundamental aspects of New Haven’s program is our focus on relationships. All therapy is relationship-based, not focused on behavioral modification. To help heal the family system, we teach the “connection-break-repair” cycle and model how to use it. And our staff:student ratio is the highest in the nation.
We have several processes in place to foster relationships with your family and at New Haven. We host a therapeutically-intense family weekend on-campus every eight weeks. During those three days, you will spend time with your daughter, attend therapy in-person, and join in group therapy sessions.
Your daughter will go on multiple home visits once it is safe for her to leave campus. During these trips home, she can reconnect with the family and practice skills in the home environment. When she's ready to return home permanently, we offer aftercare to ease the transition. Aftercare includes a home visit from your family therapist, coaching hours, and parent support calls. These services provide support during the months after her transition and maintains relationships.
To help our students build healthy relationships, we have created a home-like environment. We have a home kitchen with a dinner table instead of a cafeteria, and we serve meals family-style. Your daughter will have a roommate, which might remind her of sharing a room at home, or prepare her for college dorms. For many girls, their relationship with animals is just as important as their relationship with people. We have cats, dogs, and horses on campus for your daughter to bond with, if she wants to. She can even adopt her own cat while at New Haven!
I was able to relax fully for the first time in ten years. There is no way I can overstate the profound nature of this statement.
We know that talk therapy isn’t for everyone, so we offer several types of therapy to find the one that works best for your daughter. We offer several treatment modalities for individual, family, or group therapy settings:
- EMDR (eye movement desensitization and reprocessing)
- Mind-body healing
- Experiential therapies
- Adventure-based therapy
- Sensory modulation
- Somatic healing
- Core issue/core meaning therapy
- Trauma-informed yoga
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy
- EAGALA (equine assisted growth and learning association)
We also offer therapeutic groups specifically for parents:
- Vicarious trauma support, and
- Situational planning (preparing for potential situations, instead of reacting in the moment)
By exposing your daughter to a multitude of therapies, we are confident that she will excel in her therapeutic work.
A traumatic event often strips an individual of her identity. To help your daughter rediscover who she is, she will to take private lessons at New Haven to find her passions. As she prepares to leave our treatment program, your daughter will feel empowered, connected, and supported.