• Residential Treatment Program for Teens 14-17

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Coping with Loss Shows Itself in Different Ways for Teenagers

Coping with Loss Shows Itself in Different Ways for Teenagers 150 150 Solstice RTC

Here’s a fact that many parents forget: coping with loss as a teenager is much different than dealing with it as an adult. It’s relatively common to have lost at least one close person in your life or experienced something mildly traumatic by the time you reach your mid-twenties. Many young people work through it fine, but some struggle.

Those that struggle usually were never taught how to deal with grief or loss, causing them to lash out in unhealthy ways. Coping with loss is an essential skill in life. Teaching your daughter how to effectively work through grief and loss will help her in the future when she’s inevitably faced with that difficult moment.

How coping with loss is different in teens

Coping with loss shows itself in different ways for teens than it does for older folks. Understanding these differences can greatly help a parent in helping their teen cope with a loss in their life.

Teens are more likely to experience sudden or traumatic losses. Almost three-quarters of all deaths between the ages of 12 and 19 are caused by accidents, homicide, and suicide. That means that it’s not incredibly rare for a teen to experience a loss. Even losses that would be considered “natural” tend to feel more unexpected than it would for an adult.

Leaning towards isolating in the face of trauma. During the adolescent years, it’s pretty natural for teens to drift away from their parents—but this also makes it harder for them to seek out support from their parents when they’re hurting. If a student has passed away at your teen’s school, it’s good to just take a moment to have a calm, private conversation about whether they knew the person or not.

Fear of what others may think. The teenage years are filled with insecurity and a yearning to fit in. Because of this, in the face of coping with loss, they may try to act as if they aren’t affected by it. They may be afraid to be considered “the girl whose mom died.” As a parent or guardian, it’s good to continue to watch for any signs of struggle with loss.

They may try to cover it up by acting out. One of the most common ways of coping with loss in teens is to act out. They start experimenting with drugs, alcohol, or begin skipping school. These “delinquent” behaviors act as a way for them to try to cope with or forget about the trauma they’re going through. Teens usually turn to acting out when they haven’t been guided towards a healthier way of coping with loss.

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, issues with coping with loss, low self-esteem, 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 teens in coping with loss at Solstice, please contact us at (866) 278-3345.

All Team Cabin Camping Trip

All Team Cabin Camping Trip 150 150 Solstice RTC

Each quarter, Solstice students get the chance to go on an Adventure Therapy camping trip. While these camping trip are normally attended by one team at a time, earlier this month all of our students were able to spend some time savoring the mountain air together. After a steady 2 mile, uphill hike, our Solstice family found their Retreat in the Mountains (R.I.T.A.), a cabin not meant for profit, but rather to be used as a retreat center for people to come up and enjoy time in the beautiful mountains near Causey Reservoir.

We had beautiful, clear skies for the hike in and most of us were down to our t-shirts & tank tops by the time we reached R.I.T.A.  It seems as though spring has come a bit early this year.  Once at the cabin, various adventures ensued from extreme sledding to competitive air hockey, pool, and ping pong.  Some chose to create paper cranes and stars out of origami paper.  It was a time for the girls to relax & create their own fun.  The opportunity for this kind of “down time” is often lost in our busy day to day lives. This unstructured play time allows our students the freedom of independence and risk taking, which helps lead them to discovery.

Our students were asked to pick an organization to donate the cabin fees to. In regards to this our Adventure Therapy Director, Stacey, said:

The owner of R.I.T.A. asked me to choose an organization that we would like to donate the cabin fees.  We decided that it was important to have the girls be involved in this process.  So we chose two organizations that we felt were important to both girls & education and left it up to them to decide.  The organizations we chose were The Malala Fund (https://www.malala.org/) and Rachel’s Challenge (https://rachelschallenge.org/).  It was great to be part of the discussions and really see each of them have a voice and an ability to see outside of their own perspective.  Although it was a short trip, they all left feeling rejuvenated and with new shared experiences.

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Year in Review-2015

Year in Review-2015 150 150 Solstice RTC

It has been an amazing year for Solstice! We have seen so much growth, healing and improvements, both in our program and in our residents. Here are just a few of the amazing things that have happened at Solstice this year!

New building

We waited patiently for many months as our new school and administration building was built. It was fully worth the wait! We are loving the custom-built classrooms, our state of the art computer lab and spacious therapy offices, as well as the abundance of new green-space throughout our campus.

New School Progress

Graduates

We are elated about the 17 graduates we had from our program this year! Each of these girls worked hard in both therapy and school to become successful, confident young women.

RelationshipsFeature

Ribbon Cutting Party

Along with our new school, Solstice threw a summer party for an official ribbon cutting! Between the dunk tank, horse rides for the staffs’ children, a lip-syncing battle and food provided by the Waffle Wagon, residents, staff and their families all had a great time celebrating our new building.

Party

San Juan trip

In May, Solstice partnered with Breakwater Expeditions to offer our first parent-daughter adventure therapy trip. Four Solstice families joined with a few Solstice staff to kayak the San Juan Islands. They traveled approximately 33 miles by kayak and then spent a day in Seattle to enjoy time together and practice their newly learned skills.

SanJuan

Employees of the year

At the end of each year we recognize an employee of the year. This year we couldn’t choose just one and our employees of the year were Recreation Director, Stacey Rosenberg, and Summer Team Director, Lacey King. We are proud to have Stacey and Lacey as part of the Solstice team!

oftheyear

A silent fear: Recognizing social anxiety in teens

A silent fear: Recognizing social anxiety in teens 150 150 Solstice RTC

Most teens dread the moment they have to go in front of people and give a presentation. Social anxiety in teens makes this activity even harder. If your teen is struggling with social anxiety, you probably don’t even know it. Teens with social anxiety may feel comfortable around people they’ve known for a long time. However, when they’re at school and in public, this anxiety may be crippling.

Signs of social anxiety in teens

If you think your teen is extremely shy, they might actually be dealing with social anxiety. It’s not something they’ll just “get over”, so knowing how to recognize social anxiety is important to getting your teen the help they need. Signs of social anxiety in teens include:

  • Physical reactions to social interactions such as stomach ache, fast heart rate, and dizziness
  • Avoiding eye contact
  • Declining invitations to social events such as parties
  • An intense fear of being watched by others. This fear makes it hard for teens to participate in public speaking, performing in public, and making friends.
  • Blushing and constant sweating

Consequences of social anxiety in teens

Not only do teens dealing with social anxiety suffer from the symptoms associated with the disorder, they also must overcome the consequences of their anxiety. Teens with social anxiety don’t participate in class, they are afraid to ask their teacher questions, and have trouble working on group assignments. Because of this, they struggle in school. If social anxiety is left untreated, it leaves teens at risk to develop other mental health issues such as depression, eating disorders, and suicidal ideation. It’s important to get your teen with social anxiety help as soon as you recognize what they are dealing with.

social anxiety in teens

Image source: Flickr user- dawnashley

Getting help

If your teen is struggling with social anxiety, you need to get them help as soon as possible. There are several ways you can help your teen work through their social anxiety. These include:

  • Teaching them breathing control: Breathing exercises are a proven way to reduce stress and help an individual calm down in situations that cause anxiety.
  • Change lifestyle habits: Cutting out caffeine and sugar can help your teen reduce anxiety. Also, make sure they are getting enough sleep at night. This may not be enough to help overcome social anxiety, but it helps with the overall healing process.
  • Help them face their fears: By introducing them gradually to social situations, your teen will begin feeling more comfortable around people. Start by having them accompany a friend to a small gathering and work up from there.

Further treatment

If your teen is struggling with social anxiety, consider getting help from Solstice. Solstice is a residential treatment center for teens ages 14-18 struggling with emotional and behavioral issues such as anxiety, depression, and eating disorders.

For more information about how Solstice can help your daughter, call (866) 278-3345.

 

Green Urban Lunch Box: Happiness through service

Green Urban Lunch Box: Happiness through service 150 150 Solstice RTC

Each Saturday morning at Solstice is dedicated to community service. Many times we have found that community service allows our students to get out of their own heads and focus on others. We will often have students who have had a hard week in therapy or school and are feeling pretty down when they head into the service event. By the end of the service, their spirits have been lifted and they have a far better attitude about what they are going through. Recently autumn team spent some time picking apples and were able to create happiness and community through their work. Read what our Recreation Specialist has to say about the event:

I don’t know about you but when I was a teenager the last thing that made me happy was physical labor. My Dad and Grandfather always had a long list of chores and tasks for me to do and often my Saturday’s would be filled with hard work. Looking back however, I appreciate all that work and find myself the happiest when I am working hard.

It is a bit different here at Solstice. While sometimes there are a few individuals who might be having a hard time that day, usually our girls are thankful to be working hard and giving back through service. This Saturday we were back at the Green Urban Lunch Box (GULB) farm in Layton, Utah. We have been working with GULB for several years to help them provide fresh, local food for those in need in our community. What is great about working with GULB is that our girls get to see the whole process of food growing; from preparation and planting in the Spring, maintenance throughout the Summer and finally the harvest in the Fall. Today we were out apple picking in the sunny, warm fall weather.

As I was looking through the pictures from today, I was struck by all the smiles I saw in the images. The girls were working side-by-side, holding ladders for each other and look content in their work. I love seeing these moments of peace and calm in our girls because I know how hard they work on themselves most of the time. Ultimately, when we are working hard and have a good purpose for that work, we can find happiness in the simplest of tasks.

 

 

 

 

 

 

To learn more about Solstice and how we use community service to enrich our students, give us a call at (866) 278-3345.

Afraid Your Teen May Be Using Drugs and Alcohol?

Afraid Your Teen May Be Using Drugs and Alcohol? 150 150 Solstice RTC

As a child transitions into high school they suddenly become more exposed to substances that could potentially harm their growth. Naturally the child is already experiencing many conflicting feelings, as they proceed to navigate teenage life. What can be worrisome to parents is how to spot early signs of drugs and alcohol abuse, and how to speak with your teen about their behavior in time to prevent addiction. Substance use can cause problems at home, school, and in relationships, leaving the teen feeling isolated, helpless, or ashamed. It is important to know that help is always available.

Many teens first try drugs and alcohol out of curiosity, peer pressure, or in an effort to improve stress, anxiety, or depression. Use doesn’t automatically lead to abuse/addiction, however it is extremely important to discuss with your teen the severe consequences of recreational drug use.

There is no easy way to identify if your teen is using drugs and alcohol. As you may observe below, many of the symptoms or signs are sometimes typical to adolescent behavior.

Personal Appearance

  • Messy, lack of care for appearance
  • Poor hygiene,
  • Red, flushed cheeks/face
  • Burns or soot on fingers/lips (from “joints”)

Personal Habits or Actions

  • Clenching teeth
  • Smell of smoke or unusual smells on breath/clothes
  • Frequently breaks curfew
  • Cash flow problems
  • Reckless driving
  • Avoiding eye contact
  • Secretive phone calls

Behavioral Issues Associated with Teen Substance Abuse

  • Change in relationships with family members or friends
  • Loss of inhibitions
  • Mood changes or emotional instability
  • Loud obnoxious behavior
  • Unusually clumsy, stumbling, lack of coordination, poor balance
  • Sullen, withdrawn, depressed
  • Makes endless excuses
  • Periods of sleeplessness or high energy, followed by long periods of “catch up”
  • Silent, uncommunicative
  • Unusually tired

School- or Work-Related Issues

  • Loss of interest in schoolwork
  • Loss of interest in extracurricular activities, hobbies, or sports
  • Failure to fulfill responsibilities at school
  • Complaints from teachers

Health Issues Related to Teen Substance Abuse

  • Nosebleeds
  • Runny nose, not caused by allergies or a cold
  • Frequent sickness
  • Wetting lips or excessive thirst (known as “cotton mouth”)
  • Sudden or dramatic weight loss or gain
  • Depression

If you feel that your teenager may be using drugs and alcohol it is important to remember to stay calm. Being accusatory of your child may only push your child farther away. The best way to find out what is going on with your teen is to begin a back-and-forth conversation. This allows your child the opportunity to discuss any questions or situations they may have found themselves in.

To help initiate a conversation with your teen try some of these tips.

  • Create a safe environment for your child to share the truth. Assure your child that they can always be honest with you.
  • When speaking with your teen on a serious subject don’t allow any interruptions between you two. This shows you are dedicated to what they have to say.
  • Listen to your child vent. Sometimes they just need someone to listen.
  • Ask your child what she thinks/feels about drug use and that behavior

 

The effects of peer pressure to use and abuse substances can be damaging to your teens health and family’s well being. If you feel your teen has been using drugs or alcohol, Solstice can help. With our specialized, clinically intensive residential treatment program, we can provide your teen girl with the help she needs to overcome peer pressure and begin her path toward healing.

 

For more information about how Solstice helps teen girls cope with substance abuse, call us at 801-815-8700.

 

Ribbon Cutting For our New School and Administration Building

Ribbon Cutting For our New School and Administration Building 150 150 Solstice RTC

Over the past several months, Solstice’s Utah campus has been undergoing major construction. Our students and staff were very patient as our new school and administration building was built, our parking lot was redone and an abundance of green-space was added to our campus. Last week we were able to begin classes in the building and had an official ribbon cutting and party to celebrate the new, custom-built building.

“This new school building is a fantastic addition to our campus.” said Dan Stuart, our Executive Director. “The large, improved classroom space will further enhance the learning experience for our students. Furthermore, the additional outdoor space is a beautiful combination of function and aesthetics, greatly improving the full campus experience for our girls and families!”

The lower level of the new building houses four classrooms including a computer lab for our students in independent study classes. The new, spacious classrooms feature large bookcases, wireless projectors and new furnishings. The upper level houses several therapist offices, our Adventure Therapy office and a large conference room with a beautiful wood table custom built by our own Adventure Therapy Specialist. Large windows throughout the building provide natural light and beautiful views of our new green-space.

What was once dirt and extra parking lot is now beautiful green-space. We are thrilled about the addition of a large grass area, fire pit, wooden gazebo, waterfall and pond. With these additions our students will be able to enjoy being outside on our campus and have more room to play, relax and meet as a team.
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Our students and staff are thrilled with our new building and have settled in nicely. One student reported feeling far more focused in the new, larger classrooms. If you would like to come see all the beautiful changes on our campus, please give us a call at (866) 278-3345!

Group Spotlight: Art and Music Therapy

Group Spotlight: Art and Music Therapy 150 150 Solstice RTC

One of our therapists, Jeff Lavallee, runs our specialty group “Art and Music Therapy” once a week. In this group our students explore their emotions through the use of art. Here is what Jeff has to say about the group:

“Art and Music Therapy group is a visceral experience. An expressive emotional roller-coaster in which we try not to hold on so tight and remember to enjoy the ride. The group is more experience oriented than talk therapy. We utilize music in the group to set or artificially create a mood or mixed moods. The girls create using multiple medias: pastels, water colors, pen and ink, paint, colored pencils, and collage. They are given topics or feelings to express through art and as a group the work to stay with their feelings and be creative while doing something positive. I love this group and from what I hear the girls do, too. Also, I always have multiple staff who not only sit there, they participate too.”

Take a look at some of the pieces of art that have been created by our talented girls in Art and Music Therapy group.

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Tips for Developing Flexibility in Teens

Tips for Developing Flexibility in Teens 150 150 Solstice RTC

Change isn’t easy for anyone, but for some teens, unexpected changes can lead to anxiety, depression or the use of unhealthy coping skills. The following tips give some ideas of how you can help develop flexibility in teens.

  1. Develop positive thinking. When a teen’s thinking become negative about a change, it is likely that this thinking will come with a multitude of incorrect or false ideas about the situation. By helping her challenge these negative thoughts and see the errors in her thinking, she will be able to think more positively about the situation and not get sucked into thinking the worst about what the change can bring.
  2. Learn about choice. Helping to see that there is a choice in every situation can help develop flexibility in teens. While some situations may seem not to have a choice, by helping your teen to see that they always have a choice, they may feel less “stuck” in situations. While teaching about always having a choice, it is also important to teach your teen to make good decision. Help them see the consequences of what their choices could bring.
  3. Play out the tape. Help your teen to “play out the tape” by helping her walk through what the change will bring. How will the change effect the situation as a whole? What things are going to happen because of the change? How will my attitude and effect how the situation plays out. By mentally walking through situations on a regular basis, flexibility in teens will increase as changes feel more “predictable.”Flexibility
  4. While this tip is not as “therapeutic” as the others, and may not always be available to all families, traveling really does develop flexibility in teens. When traveling, so many unexpected things occur: flight delays, getting lost, car problems, etc. Traveling offers up many instances where flexibility is necessary right in the moment. While it may be overwhelming for your teen, helping her to continue to “enjoy the ride” while on vacation can help her see how being open and adapting to change can result in positive things.

Developing flexibility in teens can help them to become more resilient and better prepared for the many changes life is bound to bring.

To learn more about how Solstice helps develop flexibility in teens, give us a call at (866) 278-3345.

Biking Trip: Experiential therapy in residential treatment

Biking Trip: Experiential therapy in residential treatment 150 150 Solstice RTC

A large part of the residential treatment program at Solstice is experiential and adventure therapy. Each week our students have the opportunity to challenge themselves in newbiking and fun ways. While working hard in therapy on campus is great, getting out of the residential treatment setting allows our girls the opportunity to flex their therapy muscles while having fun, trying new healthy recreational activities and developing positive peer relationships. Read below to learn more about a recent outing one of our teams took.

A few weeks ago we took Winter team biking along the Ogden River Trail. This is a paved trail that runs for about 4 miles along the Ogden River through Ogden town. This was the first time on bicycles in quite some time for most of the team members. We began with the basics of sizing your bike, inflating tires and checking the brakes to see if they are functioning properly. After that we loaded up and headed to Ogden. Once on the trail we practiced braking and shifting and other basic skills. All of this is in preparation for a mountain biking trip that Winter team will embark upon in September.

The day started with dark clouds and the threat of rain. Despite the ominous weather outlook we decided to go for it, and we were glad we did. The day was perfect for riding, overcast and fairly cool. We stopped at several parks along the way. We ate lunch at a busy playground and the girls joined in with some local kids, pushing them on the swings and climbing the jungle gym. When we arrived back at the van we had ridden nearly 8 miles. Some were tired but all spirits were high.

Each week we take teams on off campus outings and adventures. Many times there are therapeutic moments, learning opportunities and challenges to overcome. While there were moments during this day where girls struggled and used skills to work through them, there was one theme that ran throughout the experience…FUN!

At the end of the day one of the girls said it best:

“That was so much fun, I want to do it again”

Sometimes just having fun and letting yourself enjoy the simple pleasure of riding a bike is therapeutic enough.

To learn more about how Solstice Residential Treatment Center uses experiential to help struggling teen girls, call us at (866) 278-3345.