• Residential Treatment Program for Teens 14-17

Uncategorized

sensory processing issues

Sensory Processing Issues After Traumatic Events

Sensory Processing Issues After Traumatic Events 4500 3000 srtc_admin

Childhood 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 can trigger negative memories, making it harder to re-establish a sense of safety in the present.

Sensory Processing Issues and  Trauma

Psychiatrist Bessel van der Kolk argues that after traumatic events, our brains adapt to monitor for signs of danger and the body keeps the score. Especially as many people dissociate from what has happened to them and repress memories, “body memories” serve as a self-protective reminder. The body often responds to signs of potential danger before the brain is able to recognize them. Fight-or flight mode was adapted as a survival instinct. 

Obstacles to Re-establishing Healthy Relationships

A recent study by Bonn University Hospital was conducted to investigate the role of adverse childhood experiences in sensory processing, particularly physical contact. While many teens who have experienced trauma develop a rational fear of violence in relationships, this study wanted to explore why this fear often extended to all relationships, even previously positive ones. 

Researchers found that traumatized people found social stimuli, like touch, less comforting than people who had not experienced trauma and maintained a greater social distance from strangers. 

Social stimuli includes:

  • Any kind of physical touch
  • Physical distance
  • Staring 
  • Eye contact
  • The sound of someone’s voice

Neurological Changes Affecting Sensory Processing

The study compared brain activity to patients’ responses to various social stimuli. In many cases, there was a slight incongruency between the participant reporting few changes and their brain sending flashing signals of perceived threat. 

They found that three main areas of the brain were significantly affected by physical contact in participants with trauma. While areas responsible for body-movement and body-perception rapidly spiked with touch, areas related to emotional memory responded much slower to touch, showing a negative association.

This suggests that some physiological effects of childhood trauma linger beyond cognitive awareness and explains why teens often struggle with developing healthy relationships after traumatic events. 

Elements of Trauma-Focused Therapy

 

  • Helps teens identify triggers
  • Teaches teens about how trauma impacts them
  • Helps them re-establish safety
  • Encourages teens to practice somatic experiencing and relaxation techniques
  • Empowers teens to develop healthier coping skills
  • Allows teens to explore what healthy relationships and boundaries may look like for them

 

 

Solstice Can Help

Solstice RTC is a residential treatment program for young girls ages 14-18 who struggle with issues such as anxiety, depression, trauma, and unhealthy relationships. Solstice takes a holistic approach in understanding how these issues affect girls’ minds, bodies, and spirits. We create individualized treatment plans for each student considering their individual needs, strengths, and goals to help them regain a strong sense of self. Students will leave with the skills they need to transition into the world feeling confident, happy, and able to manage their emotions. We can help your family today!

Contact us at 866-278-3345 for more information about how we help teen girls struggling with trauma.

seasonal affective disorder in teens

Seasonal Affective Disorder in Teens: Everything You Need to Know

Seasonal Affective Disorder in Teens: Everything You Need to Know 5690 3808 srtc_admin

Seasonal Affective Disorder in teens is a type of depression that has a reoccurring seasonal pattern. This type of depression typically sets in during late fall or early winter. Seasonal Affective Disorder less commonly occurs in the spring and summer months. The diagnosis process for seasonal affective disorder is a long, specific process. The teen must meet the complete criteria for major depression that corresponds to specific seasons for a minimum of two years. If your teen is showing several signs of major depression you should seek professional help to determine the root of the issue.

Here are the signs of major depression:

    • Feeling depressed most of the day, nearly every day
    • Feeling hopeless or worthless
    • Low energy
    • Loss of interest in activities you once enjoyed
    • Sleep problems
    • Changes in appetite or weight
    • Feeling sluggish or agitated
    • Difficulty concentrating
    • Frequent thoughts of death or suicide

The Seasonal Breakdown

Depending on the season, this disorder affects teens differently. While the winter is the most common season where the disorder is onset, summer seasonal affective disorder is possible too. Below are the distinctive symptoms that appear in the two seasons.

Winter Pattern of Seasonal Affective Disorder in Teens:

  • Hypersomnia
  • Low energy
  • Weight gain
  • Craving of carbohydrates
  • Social withdrawal (desire to “hibernate”)

Summer Pattern of Seasonal Affective Disorder in Teens:

  • Agitation
  • Restlessness
  • Anxiety
  • Episodes of violent behavior

Seasonal Affective Disorder Treatments for Teens

There are several treatment options for Seasonal Affective Disorder in Teens. The best route to take should be determined by your child’s medical provider. In order to seek proper treatment, a professional evaluation is necessary. The most effective treatment will vary based off of the individual’s needs. Your teen’s doctor may decide to use one method only or two incorporated several at one time. Here are some treatment options:

 

  • Medication
  • Light therapy
  • Psychotherapy
  • Vitamin D

 

Solstice Residential Treatment Center can help

Solstice Residential Treatment Center is a program for young girls ages 14-18 who struggle with issues such as anxiety, depression, trauma, and/or relationship struggles. This program provides three types of therapy: individual, group, and family therapy. Solstice Residential Treatment Center is dedicated to teaching young women how to incorporate healthy habits into their lives. Students will leave with the skills they need to transition into the world feeling confident, happy, and healthy. We can help your family today!

Contact us at 866-278-3345

 

risky teen behavior

Risky Teen Behaviors: Differences Between Positive and Negative Risks

Risky Teen Behaviors: Differences Between Positive and Negative Risks 640 426 Solstice RTC

The teenage years are the years in which one develops the desire to fit in. This desire may come with a high cost. During the adolescent years, opportunity and risk seem all the more appealing. A maturational imbalance may prevent teens from good decision-making during this period in their lives as well. While learning from our silly mistakes is an important part of growing up, teens still need guidance on how to better navigate themselves away from risky behavior and towards a rewarding future. First, one must learn the difference between positive and negative risks. Here are some defining characteristics:

Positive risks: benefits an individual’s well-being, legal, socially acceptable, does not present severe negative consequences

Negative risks: harmful towards an individual’s well-being, illegal, socially unacceptable, may have severe consequences

The Risks Our Teens Should Take

As puberty hits so does a new wave of potential risks. As a parent, it is important to acknowledge these risks and learn to address them head on with your child. It is your job to put an emphasis on the good as a way to prevent the bad. First, you should know your child and their risky behaviors. Here are some signs that indicate that your child is a positive risk taker:

  • Internalizes family values
  • Has strong bonds to society
  • Possesses important socially-desirable long-term goals (academic or other)
  • Feels they have more to lose by taking negative risks
  • Is influenced by peers who take positive risks

The Four Friendly Risk Types

As a parent you should constantly suggest new ways to take positive risks for your teen. This starts with a conversation and then you can help them put it into action. Physical, social, academic, and extracurricular risks are a couple of categories you should consider talking with your teen able. What they are drawn to will vary based off of their personal interests. Here’s some ideas to get you started:

Physical Risks:

  • Try a new sport
  • Pursue a new fitness goal

Social Risks:

  • Spend time with a new group of people
  • Arrive at a party without knowing anyone
  • Attend a summer camp without friends
  • Attend a rally and hold up a sign 
  • Stand up for something you believe in at school even if it is unpopular
  • Pursue a new friendship with the risk of rejection

Academic Risks:

  • Sign up for a challenging AP course
  • Take a class you know nothing about
  • Join a club that interests you
  • Run for a school office position

Extracurricular Risks:

  • Adopt a new hobby
  • Learn to play an instrument
  • Start your own babysitting business or dog walking
  • Set goals to read more in your free time

Solstice West Residential Treatment Center Can Help

Solstice West Residential Treatment Center is a program for young girls ages 14-18 who struggle with issues such as anxiety, depression, trauma, addictive behaviors, and/or relationship struggles. This program provides individual, group, and family therapy to help students heal and improve from every angle. Fitness, nutrition, and academics also play an important role in this program. Solstice gives young women the skills and help they need to transition into the world feeling confident, happy, healthy, and capable. We can help your family today!

Contact us at (866) 278-3345

Father-Daughter Trip to Moab Brings Families Closer Together

Father-Daughter Trip to Moab Brings Families Closer Together 150 150 srtc_admin

What happened when seven boisterous dads & daughters joined with a team of creative & committed folks from Solstice RTC West and Aspect Adventure in Moab for a three day Father-Child Retreat this last September?  My Answer:  Nothing Short of Magic. 

Not the Copperfield stuff nor the “warm fuzzy” of hallmark cards & commercials.  I’m talking about what happens when people committed to having a gritty-good experience, “come what may,” meet up with Mother Nature in a setting known for its beauty, challenges, and plentiful opportunities for fun & reflection.  Magic indeed – the kind I watched unfold before me – nearly moment by moment.  Not by accident or ease.  But. By. Choice.

Beginning with every bit of a 5 hour drive south, Erik Yost, Amanda and I (TjRowden) agreed that it was promising indeed when fathers and kiddos packed snuggly into two vehicles and nary once complained as we motored down the road.  I think there was only one time when the inevitable “are we there yet” was heard enroute.  After all, someone just had to say it to make it a bona fide road trip.  We laughed and spirits were high – even a little giddy – as we neared our destination in Moab.  A campsite near Fisher Towers.  And from that point on – we entered the very capable hands of Jason Blauch with Aspect Adventure.

With the help of “Camp Mom” Nick, it became very clear – their intention was to provide for our basic needs with such a degree of attention and service that our little group would be able to focus 110% on the reason we were there.  That was for dads & daughters to deepen their relationships through less talk, more action.  Not via “Disneyland dadding.”  As we discussed on day one – it was to be done via “side-by-side” experiences that would emerge over the course of the trip. Unscripted opportunities to lean-in to the relationship vs out.  Moments – privately and with the group – to choose courage over quitting, service over selfishness, responsiveness over resistance, healing over hurt.

And the lab for such opportunities?  One-on-one short hikes for fathers and daughters; a sixty+ foot climbing face and similar rappelling wall; thunder & lighting storms with fierce winds and rain (and even brief flooding of a desert creek near camp); double rainbows; blazing sunrises and sunsets; a hike near Fisher Towers; helping in the camp kitchen & with clean-up; night skies with stars that wouldn’t stop (inviting conversations that nearly didn’t either); and a fireside group where the vulnerability of dads and daughters alike was non-forced and – in a word – sacred.

Amidst anxieties, fears, and fatigue there was effort, courage, and compassion.  And in the face of a few “unexpecteds“ (i.e. weather, plans, emotions), I observed flexibility, determination, gratitude, support and many small choice points done well – very well.  After all, what is much of treatment, relationships, life if not learning to do hard things well.  If that was a measure of this trip –I was surrounded by giants.  Magic?  Yes indeed.  Because intention + action = magic.

teens refusing school

When Teens Refusing School Has More to Do with Anxiety Than Rebellion

When Teens Refusing School Has More to Do with Anxiety Than Rebellion 1280 853 srtc_admin

Teens refusing school isn’t exactly a new thing–ever since school began, teens have been trying to get out of it by feigning sickness or skipping class. But what about when the reason behind teens refusing school is more malignant than not wanting to sit through an hour and a half of Algebra?

When teens refusing school is a deeper issue

The difference between school refusal and other types of teen behavior has to do with the reason behind the behavior and the frequency.

Skipping class because they hate math isn’t school refusal. Pretending they’re sick once or twice to stay home and play video games isn’t school refusal.

Complaining about sudden physical symptoms right before school to stay home or regularly visiting the school nurse to get sent home are signs of school refusal, though. Especially if those symptoms tend to vanish pretty fast. If this happens often, there’s probably something more going on than simply not wanting to go to school.

School refusal itself isn’t a disorder, but a symptom of something bigger; this is usually anxiety-based. For younger kids, it’s usually about separation, but for older kids it may have more to do with the stress that’s attached to school.

I’m not just talking about homework. When kids transition from elementary to middle to high school, things can get complicated. Suddenly, there’s more homework, more responsibility, more social complexities, more expectations, more pressure–more everything. It can become overwhelming.

It’s simpler to believe that the only reason for teens refusing school is them “just being teenagers.” But the truth is more complex and difficult to deal with. It’s important for parents to be aware of the possibility of school refusal in order to help deal with it–otherwise, that anxiety can grow into something much more dangerous.

When you begin recognizing school refusal as a pattern, it’s important to ask your teen how they’re feeling and open up an objective path of communication. If they express feelings of helplessness or fear related to school, extra support could be helpful.

If you believe your daughter is struggling with anxiety or a different mental health issue, it’s critical to reach out to a professional for guidance. There are options available to help your family.

Solstice is here for your daughter

Solstice is a groundbreaking residential treatment center for girls, ages 14 to 18. Our girls often grapple with depression, anxiety, trauma, ADHD, and other emotional or behavioral problems when they come to us. Dealing with these issues can get confusing and overwhelming fast–but we’re here to help guide you.

Through a unique combination of therapeutic programs based upon both traditional and holistic mental health treatment, we treat our clients with age and gender specific techniques. We strive to empower teenage women with the ability to believe in themselves and provide the tools and motivation required to instill these beliefs for life.

For more information about how we help teens refusing school at Solstice, please contact us at (866) 278-3345.

College Prepared: Solstice Students Earn Higher Scores Across the Board

College Prepared: Solstice Students Earn Higher Scores Across the Board 1280 853 srtc_admin

At Solstice, education is a huge part of our programming. We understand that most of the girls that come in our doors are college-bound; therefore, we strive to provide them with excellent academic opportunities.

We’ve looked at the last five years of ACT scores from Solstice students and compared it to state and national averages–the results are astounding.

Solstice students score higher than state and national averages

We want our students to be able to graduate from Solstice and thrive out in the world.

For those with college in the future, we provide test preparation materials and classes for every student who seeks to take the SAT and/or the ACT. Our teachers work diligently and passionately to help students follow a structured academic plan that meets college admissions criteria.

Teachers aid girls in going through various possible colleges, understanding the application and essay writing process, and also give support for scholarships, financial aid, and community service.

It looks like all of our hard-work has paid off.

Our students at Solstice have surpassed state and national averages by enormous amounts. As you can see in the graph to the right, Solstice students scored nearly 75 percent higher on the ACT than the state average–they scored high above the national average as well.

Academic excellence at Solstice

For many of our students, school has become a place of struggle and negativity. We strive to create a traditional, challenging academic environment that can support our students emotional and learning needs. We want to transform the negativity into an excitement and hunger to learn more.

We’ve developed a program that can meet students where they are by having small class sizes, certified teachers, and individualized academic plans. Our academic program is fully intertwined with our clinical program which allows for a better overall treatment process.

If you believe your daughter may be struggling, it is critical to reach out to a professional for further guidance. There are options for your family.

Solstice is here for your daughter

Solstice is a groundbreaking residential treatment center for girls, ages 14 to 18. Our girls often grapple with depression, anxiety, trauma, ADHD, and other emotional or behavioral problems when they come to us. Dealing with these issues can get confusing and overwhelming fast–but we’re here to help guide you.

Through a unique combination of therapeutic programs based upon both traditional and holistic mental health treatment, we treat our clients with age and gender specific techniques. We strive to empower teenage women with the ability to believe in themselves and provide the tools and motivation required to instill these beliefs for life.

For more information about how we help at Solstice, please contact us at (866) 278-3345.

Alumni Event Brings Former Students And Families Back To Solstice

Alumni Event Brings Former Students And Families Back To Solstice 150 150 srtc_admin

First Annual Alumni Event Reinforces the Importance Of Solstice In Lives Of Students

Solstice West held their First Annual Alumni Event on July 28th & 29th, 2017. This event was held in conjunction with the Parent Seminar.

Over 20 Alumni and their families came to this event. Over the event’s two days, alumni and parents took part in an Alumni Group Panel with current families.  This provided meaningful insight for families as well as the other Alumni.  On the first day of the event, alumni and families took part in fun activities like karaoke, a dunk tank, shaved ice shack, drum circle, mural painting, t-shirt screen printing & photo booth.  We concluded the day with a BBQ dinner, music and a program to celebrate the successes of each of our Alumni.

Alumni paint a mural at the alumni event

On the second day,  Alumni and their families had a fantastic time at Pineview Reservoir.  There was sun, food, paddle boarding, trampoline, and a mega water slide. This exciting programming was a perfect setting for alumni to reconnect and bond. 

There were many memories made, but the most rewarding was hearing the Alumni discuss the importance of Solstice in their lives.  We heard comments such as:

“We don’t ever want to miss an Alumni Event, Solstice will forever be a part of me”

“It was important for us to be here, so my child could remember how far they have come”

“Solstice saved our daughter’s life, without question”.

More Than Stretching: Benefits of Yoga Include Lowering Depression

More Than Stretching: Benefits of Yoga Include Lowering Depression 1280 853 Solstice RTC

Yoga–it’s become a huge trend, especially among those who love pumpkin spice lattes and leggings, but new research is showing that it’s much more than a trend. Benefits of yoga should now include reducing depression and anxiety.

I know what you’re thinking that it sounds absurd that yoga could treat symptoms of serious mental health issues, but I’m here to show you the research. Now, it’s not like you can only do yoga and cure your depression–but it seems that you can combine it with other treatment methods to keep your mental illness under control.

Benefits of yoga now include lowering depression symptoms

There’s been plenty of research confirming how yoga has the power to lower anxiety and stress symptoms–but now depression has been added to the list.

benefits of yogaIn research conducted by the American Psychological Association, it was found by overviewing many different studies that practicing yoga can lessen symptoms of depression. The type of yoga used was varied forms of hatha yoga (yoga that focuses on physical exercise), along with breathing and meditative exercises.

In one study, 23 male veterans took two yoga classes a week for eight weeks. The vast majority praised the classes and reported that they would recommend that other veterans do it. It was also found that those with high levels of depression had significant decreases after the eight weeks.

In another study, 52 women, ages 25 to 45, participated. Half of them partook in the same type of yoga in the last study and the other half were the control. Depression levels were recorded at the beginning, along with weeks three, six, and nine. They found the same results–symptoms of depression were largely decreased.

In yet another study showing the clear benefits of yoga, researchers measured how practicing yoga affected levels of depression, anxiety, rumination, and worry. They found that even four months after the treatment of yoga, participants had decreased levels across the board.

Dr. Lindsey Hopkins, one of the chairs in the session that overviewed research on yoga and mental health, explained what these results could mean:

“At this time, we can only recommend yoga as a complementary approach, likely most effective in conjunction with standard approaches delivered by a licensed therapist. Clearly, yoga is not a cure-all. However, based on empirical evidence, there seems to be a lot of potential.”

It’s obvious that the benefits of yoga cannot fully replace licensed therapy, but has the ability to work alongside the therapy and improve an individual’s overall treatment.

Solstice is here for your daughter

Solstice is a groundbreaking residential treatment center for girls, ages 14 to 18. Our girls often grapple with depression, anxiety, trauma, ADHD, and other emotional or behavioral problems when they come to us. Dealing with these issues can get confusing and overwhelming fast–but we’re here to help guide you.

Through a unique combination of therapeutic programs based upon both traditional and holistic mental health treatment, we treat our clients with age and gender specific techniques. We strive to empower teenage women with the ability to believe in themselves and provide the tools and motivation required to instill these beliefs for life.

For more information about how we use the benefits of yoga at Solstice, please contact us at (866) 278-3345.

 

Helping Teens Struggling With Trauma Through EMDR

Helping Teens Struggling With Trauma Through EMDR 150 150 Solstice RTC

EMDR: A Unique Technique Helping Girls Heal From Trauma

Healing symptoms of trauma using eye movement may sound like something out of a science fiction novel, but it’s actually a very effective technique for some individuals struggling with trauma. At Solstice, we utilize Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing, or EMDR, to help teens who could benefit from the technique. EMDR

What is EMDR?

Through EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing), we utilize eye movement to move traumatic memories that are stuck and deeply engrained within the body to a more functional state. Here are a few ways EMDR helps teens:

  • Transform negative core beliefs into positive beliefs:

When someone is traumatized, their memory gets stuck in that moment. That trauma causes them to carry negative core beliefs about themselves. Those negative beliefs begin to frame the way they view themselves and the world. EMDR takes those negative beliefs and transforms them into positive beliefs.

For example, if the traumatic event left the student believing a negative core belief like “I am disgusting”. Through EMDR, we would replace “I am disgusting” with something like “I am worthwhile”.

  • See that their trauma is not their fault:

As EMDR progresses, clients begin to develop more realistic beliefs about their trauma as the trauma moves from a stuck state to a more functional state. In the functional state, trauma doesn’t drive behavior or symptoms.

 

  • Overcome anxiety:

 

One of the ways we utilize EMDR is called future template.  Many of our students struggle with anxiety. For those students, we’ll utilize EMDR to help them frame future events which they may have a lot of anxiety about. For example, if a student fears public speaking, EMDR will help them envision the moment they are speaking in public. Instead of being anxious in that moment, they imagine feeling confident. We’ll utilize eye movement to help solidify a different belief about public speaking.

  • Relieves somatic representations of trauma:  

EMDR focuses on the memory that lives in the body. Somatic representations of trauma often occur because of this. These may look like chronic headaches or stomach aches that take place without medical reason.

EMDR often eliminates these somatic representations. It does this by moving memories to a functional place. They are no longer held within a specific place within the body, which is causing the physical symptoms in the first place.  

Solstice can help

Solstice is a groundbreaking residential treatment center for girls, ages 14 to 18. Our girls often grapple with trauma, depression, anxiety, ADHD, and other emotional or behavioral problems when they come to us. Dealing with these issues can get confusing and overwhelming fast–but we’re here to help guide you.

Through a unique combination of therapeutic programs based upon both traditional and holistic mental health treatment, we treat our clients with age and gender specific techniques. We strive to empower teenage women with the ability to believe in themselves and provide the tools and motivation required to instill these beliefs for life.

Learn more by calling (866) 278-3345

Academic Challenges: How Overcoming Adversity Leads to Success

Academic Challenges: How Overcoming Adversity Leads to Success 150 150 Solstice RTC

For some students, academic challenges aren’t just struggling to get an A on an exam or passing the SATs—for some, it can seem like an impossible obstacle that can’t be overcome. Students with learning differences, like ADHD, can sometimes slip under the radar in typical schools, never getting the help they need to thrive. academic challenges

Being in an environment that supports these students and guides them towards overcoming this adverse experience has been shown in studies to increase the chances of a student’s success later in life. 

How struggle can lead to future success

Many researchers argue that “resilience”–the ability to recover quickly from setbacks and challenges–is learned, you’re not born with it. This means that through deliberate actions, thoughts, and processes, you can acquire that skill.

A recent study found that in some cases “learning to set and adjust goals and cope with adversity is more important for life success than improving cognition.” Now, they’re not saying to stop reading or learning how to do calculus, they’re saying that these types of “resiliency” skills are incredibly important for thriving in life.

Think about it–we all go through hard times. It’s extremely unlikely for anyone to go their entire life without having at least one “bad” thing happen to them. Whether that bad thing is losing someone you love, getting in a car accident, getting fired, or failing an important class.

For teens, the latter can be devastating if they don’t have the right support system and thought processes. For example, take a student who already struggles with self-confidence because they have an undiagnosed learning disability. She studied as hard as she could and still failed the very important exam–now she feels even worse about herself and may even develop depression or anxiety.

The researchers in this study believe that training these teens who are prone to academic challenges and adversity could help them get through it more effectively. They discovered that by teaching struggling teens self regulation–such as setting goals or learning from their mistakes–helped them perform better in school and in life. While academic challenges take place in school, they’re often linked to outside issues that need to be dealt with.

If you believe your daughter’s academic challenges are the result of deeper issues, it’s important to reach out to a professional for further guidance.

Solstice is here for your daughter

Solstice is a groundbreaking residential treatment center for girls, ages 14 to 18. Our girls often grapple with depression, academic challenges, anxiety, trauma, ADHD, and other emotional or behavioral problems when they come to us.

Through a unique combination of therapeutic programs based upon both traditional and holistic mental health treatment, we treat our clients with age and gender specific techniques. We strive to empower teenage women with the ability to believe in themselves and provide the tools and motivation required to instill these beliefs for life.

For more information about how we help with academic challenges at Solstice, please contact us at (866) 278-3345.