Teen Trauma Treatment Centers And Programs
Trauma treatment programs and centers for teens are designed to specifically treat the effects of trauma. If your teen is struggling with the aftermath of a traumatic event, Solstice West may be a great option for them.
Solstice West is a residential treatment center (RTC) that focuses on helping teenage girls heal from the effects of trauma. Our relationship based program seeks to provide a safe and welcoming space. Our multidisciplinary treatment team works with each student to develop her individual goals tied into her progress while at Solstice West.
Once we have established the goals of her treatment, we utilize Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy as well as EMDR, both evidence-based modalities that are very effective for the treatment of trauma. We also use Trauma-Focused Equine Assisted Psychotherapy (TF-EAP) during which students work with their therapist and our horses to better understand self-regulation principles in real time. The goal is for our students to leave Solstice West healed and empowered versions of themselves.
What are causes of trauma in teens?
Trauma is inclusive of many different types of experiences that a young person can have. When many people think of trauma, it is typical to think of a major, catastrophic event such as war or sexual assault. These events absolutely are traumatic, but there is a broader definition of trauma that isn’t necessarily associated with the physicality of the event; instead the psychological trauma is what we are focusing on. Working with this definition we can understand that trauma typically falls into two categories: Big T Trauma and Little t Trauma.
- Big T Trauma: This would include major life changes such as divorce, death of a parent or sibling, moving, or sexual assault. In these scenarios, often times people avoid discussing the past trauma because it is too painful to do so. Avoidance is a sign that therapeutic work would likely be helpful at the appropriate time.
- Little t Trauma: These events are more of the everyday, “low grade” trauma that a teen would experience multiple times or on a regular basis. Examples include bullying, consistently not meeting academic expectations, verbal or emotional abuse from a trusted adult, or the loss of one’s friend group. Many times, it is the repetitive nature or cumulative effect that is truly detrimental with little t trauma.
The important thing to remember is that it’s not the significance of the event as it appears to others – it is how significantly it was processed by your teen’s brain as a dangerous or potentially dangerous situation. Furthermore, the impact of such events might be interpreted differently in a teen’s brain versus an adult’s brain. The teenage brain is still developing and creating lasting coping skills.
Signs and Symptoms of Trauma in Teens
Trauma has both physical and emotional symptoms, because the events leading to this scenario are often based off an actual event that occurred.
Emotional & psychological symptoms may include:
- Shock, denial, or disbelief
- Fear and anxiety
- Confusion, difficulty concentrating
- Anger, irritability, mood swings
- Guilt, shame, self-blame
- Feeling sad or hopeless
- Feeling disconnected or numb
- Isolating or withdrawing from others
Physical symptoms may include:
- Edginess and agitation
- Jumpiness/Being startled easily
- Difficulty sleeping, insomnia or nightmares
- Fatigue, aches and pains
- Change in eating habits
- Difficulty concentrating
- Racing heartbeat
Treatment For Teen Trauma
Effective treatment of trauma means shifting the focus from “what’s wrong with you?” to “what happened to you?” as it relates to symptoms, reactions, and behaviors. Trauma-informed care calls for providers to opt for whole person care and this is exactly what Solstice West does. By using multiple modalities to get to the root of the trauma while providing a safe, relationship-based setting and program, Solstice West has seen powerful changes in students that otherwise were not seeing shifts prior to enrolling. Solstice West uses the following therapeutic approaches when treating trauma:
- Trauma Focused Equine Assisted Psychotherapy (TF-EAP)
- Trauma Recovery Group
- EMDR (Eye-Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing)
- Somatic Experiencing
- Seeking Safety
- Trauma Sensitive Yoga
- Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT)
- Family Therapy
It’s important to note that there isn’t one therapeutic approach that will heal individuals heal from trauma, which is why Solstice West employs a number of evidence-based approaches that have been shown effective for our students. We want our students to heal at Solstice West and flourish after they leave. Healing the underlying trauma is the best way to ensure this progress.
How does Solstice West implement a holistic approach to treatment?
Solstice West takes a whole-person, holistic approach when it comes to helping teens with trauma. This means that we consider all the difference parts and pieces that may be affecting your daughter and her trauma, including her social, emotional, academic, medical, nutritional, and spiritual needs. We believe that all of these things contribute to her well-being as well as the mind-body connection. Here are some examples of how we integrate this approach into the program:
- Mindfulness: Our daily mindfulness practice seeks to help your daughter recognize what she is feeling and how that is showing up for her. The first step in being able to overcome or regulate strong emotions is being able to name the emotion and recognize how that shows up in your body. Mindfulness is just like any other exercise: doing it daily will help strengthen that muscle.
- Nutrition: Our dietitian utilizes the Intuitive Eating model which allows students to recognize hunger and fullness cues, as well as provide choices for healthy eating habits. She also provides nutrition classes and approves the menu that is served at Solstice West.
- Fitness: With daily PE/fitness classes, we want to get our students moving and having fun! We emphasize that fitness is about more than physical activity: it contributes to emotional well-being and also positively impacts brain function.
- Being outside: With Adventure Therapy every Friday, we make sure our students have time to get outside and get back in their bodies. Our Adventure Therapy program consists of outdoor recreation, experiential education and community service.
We also want your teen to develop her individual interests and coping skills while she is at Solstice West. She will have the opportunity to work closely with her primary therapist and mentor guide to explore practices and activities that speak to her heart. The curriculum in the Hero’s Journey will also encourage her to address any imbalances that she recognizes or would like to work on.
In order to create lasting change, a holistic, integrated approach to health and well-being is necessary. Read more about our holistic approach at Solstice West>>>
- Goal Setting During Hero’s Journey at Residential ProgramWhen people set long-term goals to change unhealthy behaviors, they often refer to their progress as a journey, which can involve more twists and turns than they initially expected. This doesn’t mean that the obstacles that they face are insurmountable, but it may suggest that most goals feel out of... Read more »
- 5 Elements of Somatic Experiencing for TraumaWhen we talk about trauma, we usually refer to a specific event and memories of the event. Peter Levine, Ph.D., the founder of Somatic Experiencing, argues that “trauma is not an event, but energy that gets locked in your body around real or perceived threats.” This suggests that the effects... Read more »
- Sensory Processing Issues After Traumatic EventsChildhood trauma has a significant impact on shaping one’s self-concept and view of relationships, but it also changes perception of social stimuli on a physical level. Many people become hypervigilant to their surroundings and hypersensitive to sensory stimuli in their environment. Sensory processing issues after traumatic events are common and... Read more »