• Residential Treatment Program for Teens 14-17


Experiential Family Therapy at the Ropes Course

Experiential Family Therapy at the Ropes Course 150 150 Solstice RTC

Parent seminars are an opportunity for our students, their parents and siblings to work on family centered issues in-person, through both traditional group and experiential family therapy activities. Erik Yost, our Adventure Therapy specialist, shares a little about the experiential family therapy that went on at the ropes course during our most recent parent seminar.


This past week Solstice held our quarterly parent seminar. This quarter we visited Clas Ropes Course in Provo, Utah. All students and their families were given the opportunity to participate in both low and high elements on the course. Families and students were grouped together into smaller groups for their individualized experiences. Each group began with an “ice breaker” game to get familiar with each other. From there each group worked as a team to solve a low element challenge. In the photos below you can see a group working together to get everyone across an imaginary “peanut butter river”. Although highly contrived, the low element challenges provide scenarios where individual and family patterns may surface as well as an opportunity to gain awareness about behavioral patterns and a chance to do something different.


Once the groups completed their objective on the low element they advanced to the high elements. These are challenges that require individuals and groups to work together, high above the ground. In some cases as much as 40 feet! As always, these activities are challenge by choice and almost everyone gave it a go. The high elements are where individuals and groups move from a contrived challenge to a very real challenge. The idea is for participants to take what they learned on the low element and to apply it way up high. As you can see in the photos below this is a very challenging task where the participant has to face fears, use skills to work through their fear and to trust themselves and their group members for support.


After the high challenges were over we sat and talked about our experience as a group and shared what each individual may have learned about themselves. One of our participants shared this:


“My whole life, fear has controlled me. I still felt fear up on the pole but in the moment that I took the leap, I was free of my fear and I didn’t let it control me. I feel very empowered after the experience and I feel like I can depend on myself without having to have someone save me.”


After our time at the ropes course, families and students returned to campus to further discuss this experiential family therapy and how it relates to them and their family dynamic. Families also learned about new concepts and skills to help them work together through future challenges.

Group Spotlight: Healthy is the New Skinny

Group Spotlight: Healthy is the New Skinny 150 150 Solstice RTC
Solstice is lucky to have dietitian Julie Hansen as a part of our team. Julie has been with us since 2013 and, in addition to working one-on-one with our girls who need a little more help with their nutrition, she also leads an intuitive eating lunch once a week and runs a group called “Healthy is the New Skinny.” Here is what she has to say about that group:
“One of my jobs at Solstice is leading a group called: “Healthy is the New Skinny”.  Therapists send their girls to the group if they do not have a healthy relationship with food.  Some girls struggle with overeating and binge eating, while others use food restriction as a way to deal with their feelings.  The class lasts for 12 weeks.  Some of the topics included are nutrition and metabolism, digestion, childhood eating, the division of responsibility in eating, mindless eating, Intuitive Eating and emotional eating.  The group enjoys the focus on eating and food since most of their therapy does not deal with these issues.  The girls learn a lot from each other and find common ground as they share their experiences and struggles with eating.”
Julie does so much to help our girls develop healthier relationships with food. To learn more about how Solstice is helping our girls to learn that healthy is the new skinny, give us a call at (866) 278-3345.

Tips for Helping Teen Girls Cope with Anxiety

Tips for Helping Teen Girls Cope with Anxiety 150 150 Solstice RTC

While all of us feel anxious at some point during our lives, many teen girls face high levels of anxiety every day. When this is the case, it is can be difficult for parents and friends to know how to help. Here are 5 tips for helping teen girls cope with anxiety as stated by 3 NASP members.1

The first of our tips for helping teen girls cope with anxiety is helping her develop a social support network. When a teen girl is experiencing anxiety, it is important for heAnxiety Tips blogr to have healthy, supportive people she can talk with. By talking through her anxiety, she may be able to more easily challenge the errors in her thinking and bring her to a calmer state of mind. When she has a healthy support network encouraging and helping her, she is more likely to turn to them than to unhealthy behaviors when her anxiety becomes overwhelming. At Solstice, we encourage this idea through our therapeutic milieu and focus on relationships. We create a safe place for our students to develop relationships and to learn to use their support network to get through difficult times.

The second of our tips for helping teen girls cope with anxiety is encouraging her to regular exercise. It has been found that, for some people, exercise can work as well as medication for reducing anxiety symptoms. Exercise can reduce tension levels, help to stabilize mood and improve sleep and self-esteem.2 At Solstice, our students participate in workouts 5-6 times each week. We have seen many of our girls have a reduction in their anxiety symptoms as they participate in these workouts.

The third of our tips for helping teen girls cope with anxiety is helping her learn to relax. Taking time away from everyday stress to relax in a way that works for her can help a teen girl cope with anxiety. By taking a walk, reading a book, listening to quiet music, or drawing, a teen can get out of her anxious mind for a few minutes. At Solstice, we teach our students to practice mindfulness. Mindfulness helps our girls to be present in the moment, allowing her to be more accepting of the feelings she is having.

The fourth of our tips for helping teen girls cope with anxiety is helping her to prepare ahead of time. When a girl is feeling anxious about an upcoming situation, helping her prepare will help reduce the anxiety surrounding it as she feels more confident going into the situation. For example, if a teen is feeling anxious about an upcoming flight, you can help her go over what is going to happen, what problems may arise and how she will handle them, help her put together some coping skills that she can take with her, etc. At Solstice, we teach our girls a variety of skills of how to prepare for situations that may increase anxiety.

The last of our tips for helping teen girls cope with anxiety is encouraging her to be optimistic. Anxiety often pulls a girl into a negative state of mind, which may lead to lower self-esteem and the use of unhealthy coping skills. By helping her to stay positive and challenge her negative thinking, you can help her to be in a better state of mind to handle her anxiety. Solstice teaches and encourages our students to challenge their negative thoughts whenever they arise. By recognizing thinking errors, are girls are able to develop healthier and more optimistic views on anxiety-provoking situations.

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


1. Lowe, P., Unruh, S., & Greenwood, S. (2004). Anxiety: Tips for Teens. Retrieved from http://www.nasponline.org/educators/hchsii_anxietytipsteens.pdf

2.  Exercise for Stress and Anxiety. Retrieved July 27, 2015, from http://www.adaa.org/living-with-anxiety/managing-anxiety/exercise-stress-and-anxiety


Skills Learned in Residential Treatment Applied on the River

Skills Learned in Residential Treatment Applied on the River 150 150 Solstice RTC

Students from Solstice Residential Treatment Center recently had the chance to apply the skills they are learning in therapy on the Snake River.

Once each quarter our students have the opportunity to leave the residential treatment setting to challenge themselves on overnight camping trips. These trips, which take place in a variety of places throughout Utah, Idaho and Wyoming, allow the students to apply the skills they are developing in therapy in a whole new environment. As the students apply their skills in these Adventure therapy settings, they are able to build self-esteem and stronger relationships.

Recently we took Winter team to Wyoming to run the Alpine section of the Snake River. This is one of the most famous white water stretches in the country. Many of the girls had some level of anxiety or fear about the rapids on the river; how big are they, what happens if I fall in…? Before the trip, we had talked a lot about the therapy skills that the girls can use to manage their anxiety and fear. Many of the girls in our residential treatment program come to us struggling with high levels of anxiety. One way we help teach our students to deal with these overwhelming emotions is through the use of Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT).

Right before we were about to drop into “Big Kahuna” rapid Adventure therapy specialist, Erick Yost, jokingly asked the girls in his boat if any of them were using DBT skills in that moment. To his surprise, many of them spoke up and shared that they were, in fact, using skills and shared which ones were working for them in the moment. One of the students was able to ask for help from others to help her calm her fear. Then we dropped in. Our boat made it successfully through “Big Kahuna” and entered immediately into “Lunch Counter” rapid. One of our students actually fell out of the boat and into the river in the middle of the rapid. As Yost shouted to her to swim to shore, he noticed the look of calm on her face and knew that she was OK. When we asked her how she was able to stay calm while floating through the rapid she replied, “I was able to use radical acceptance to stay calm and just enjoyed the ride”. Radical acceptance is one of the many DBT skills our students learn in their stay at Solstice Residential Treatment Center.

We love how outdoor adventure creates challenge and an opportunity for our students to use their therapy skills in a real-life scenario. They learn that if they can use these skills in such challenging situations as white water rapids then they can use them in everyday life as well. At the end of the trip we held a group to recap the ways in which each student managed their anxiety, fear and other emotional situations throughout the trip. Looking back, reflecting, and sharing their experiences with others helps students internalize their experience and to hear different perspectives. The goal is that each student learns something that they can apply going forward.

Top 5 Reasons Girls Benefit from RTCs

Top 5 Reasons Girls Benefit from RTCs Solstice RTC

Girls can benefit in any number of ways from a therapeutic program like Solstice.

This is the First Blog Post

This is the First Blog Post 150 150 Solstice RTC

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Hello world! 150 150 Solstice RTC

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