• Residential Treatment Program for Teens 14-17


Hear from Solstice students and families on their success.

Before I went to Solstice, my Dad and I were pretty much like strangers, and I was fighting with my Mom all the time. I hated my life, but couldn’t talk to anyone about it.

Adapting to the Unknown of Solstice

I don’t adapt to new situations quickly, so when I first went to Solstice, it took me a couple of weeks to settle in. Being in treatment can be uncomfortable, because there’s nothing you can go back to, what you were doing before wasn’t positive or productive.

So you’re moving forward into something unknown and new. I felt like I didn’t have any other option than to change my life. I wasn’t close to my family, so it wasn’t about ‘I’m doing this for my family’. My family had been pretty broken, and my parents were divorced. I felt obligated to change because I wasn’t happy with my life, though I didn’t know how to tell anyone that before I went to Solstice.

Heart at Peace

‘The Anatomy of Peace’ and ‘Leadership and Self-Deception’ were incorporated into the work at Solstice, and that was a big thing for me. I was able to practice the Anatomy piece, and what’s known as being ‘in the box’ or ‘out of the box’. Say for example, that I’m sitting in class, and someone next to me drops a box of markers. If your heart’s at war you won’t help them, or you’ll help them just so you can look good yourself.

But if your heart’s at peace, you’ll either not help them so that they have a chance to learn for themselves, or you’ll help them simply to be useful, not just to look good. We all learned new ways to relate to people that were way better than what we’d been doing before.

The therapy work I did with TJ was really important. TJ is a great communicator, and he could say things to my Mom in Family Therapy that they wouldn’t listen to before. If I’d said those kind of things to their before I went to Solstice, she’d have blown up. But TJ knew how to say things in a way that they could understand and accept, which helped us learn new and better ways to communicate with each other.

A New Way for Family to Engage

My treatment was also about my family’s treatment, and we all needed to learn to do some things differently. My Dad and I didn’t even really have a relationship before, and everything was kind of scary when I went to Solstice. The Family Therapy meant that my Mom and Dad, and Stepmom and Stepdad also examined their behavior, and they changed too. My Mom’s fuse just got longer and longer, which was great for me.

For example, one time after I graduated, I told my Mom that I needed their to talk to my Dad about my going to live with him for a while. They started getting hot under the collar, but then we drove in silence for a few minutes. Finally, they said ‘I realize that I overreacted. You should be able to live with your Dad if you want to. I’ll talk to him about it.’ So they did, and I went to live with my Dad for two years, and we developed a good relationship, which is really important to me now.

I’m really grateful that my family did such a great job, and changed as a result of the family therapy we did. A lot of what needed to happen was not to rehash the past, it didn’t need to be revisited.

I’d been in so much family therapy that talking about the past wasn’t helpful anymore. I needed to find a way forward, especially with my Dad. We began to develop a way of being together that was much more productive as we got to know each other, which we really hadn’t before.

Erica Takes Responsibility for Herself

Today I live by myself, but I live close to my Mom and see their at least once a week, usually for a meal. I wish I saw my Dad more, but he’s moved out east. Our relationship is really good now.

My life is very different after being in treatment at Solstice. It empowered me to change and take responsibility for myself. Being able to listen to others and becoming a helpful person was a step away from my youth, and into adulthood.

A really important thing about being at Solstice was having the space to pause and decide what I really wanted out of life.  I had time to think about the way I wanted to go about things. I learned to ask myself three important questions. “Is my heart at peace, am I going to grow from this experience, and will it help me expand my comfort zone? Those questions still help me make good decisions about how I live my life today.

Erica - SRTC Student

Since I was young I’d had problems with my parents. I didn’t like being told what to do and I wanted to have control of my own decisions. I became rebellious. I’d been a good student, but when I got to high school I just stopped trying.  I started hanging out with some bad people, drinking and smoking pot as a way to escape my problems. My parents were worried about me and the downward spiral I was in.

I was very angry and became anorexic. Deep down I think I wanted to change, but just didn’t know how.

No Longer Feeling Alone

It was hard to adjust to being at Solstice at first. But it wasn’t long before I started to like the structure, and it became easier and easier for me to work on myself there. Solstice is a small school, with a very well trained staff, and I realized pretty quickly they really cared about me and wanted to help me.

One day I was sitting in the hall outside my room, ignoring everyone around me. One of the mentors came up to me and said they didn’t want to butt in, but wanted me to know that, even though I had to deal with my own problems, I didn’t have to do it alone. They and I became friends, and they helped me to come out of my shell and start to open up. The mentors came from a loving place– they are there to help us literally all the time, day or night.

Caring & Compassion Helped Create Change

The family therapy sessions and seminars were very helpful.  They were some of my favorite things about the program. The biggest thing was that before I went to Solstice, I felt so alone, anxious and depressed. When I got into the program I learned that there were other people with the same kinds of problems as me. The fact that people at Solstice really care and listen to you was really important for me.

Darren, my therapist, had a lot of insights and perspectives that were very useful, and he held me accountable for my behavior and progress. I was there nine months and Solstice totally turned my life around.

Amazing Success After Solstice

When I went home, I worked with a transition therapist for a while. Then I got into college and graduated last August with a degree in clinical psychology.

I have a really good relationship with my parents now and value their opinions. I realize that my parents love me, which I didn’t understand before going to Solstice.

Right now I’m working with adolescent boys as a mentor and supervisor at a residential treatment center.  It’s very rewarding. I’m going to apply for Grad school and get my Masters in Clinical Psychology.

I’m still friends with some of the girls and assigned female at birth that I met at there.  Solstice will always have a special place in my heart because it saved my life.  I’m really grateful.

Christine - SRTC Student

Alexis spent 74 days in the wilderness of Utah. 74 days sleeping outdoors, backpacking, and focusing on herself.  But as they shared “I didn’t have to change until I came to Solstice.”

Imagine being 16, female, and fighting with your parents day in and day out.

Girls and assigned female at birth – girls and assigned female at birth struggle for many different reasons when they come to Solstice. At Solstice, we understand that every girl or child assigned female at birth is unique and because of this, we’ve created a personalized approach to help girls and assigned female at birth work through their struggles. Through Therapy, Family Work, and Academics we return girls and assigned female at birth home with more confidence and a much stronger relationship with their parents.

Alexis was really struggling when their parents first looked to therapeutic programs for help. The family as a whole was dealing with distrust and a lot of disrespect issues. In this situation, many parents look for a short term program to create solutions for a variety of problems.  Alexis’ parents did just that, sending their to a wilderness program for 74 days. However, like a lot of girls and assigned female at birth coming out of wilderness programs they still needed help.

“At wilderness I could just go through the motions. Coming to Solstice therapy is more intense, you cannot work the system here.  The biggest help at Solstice has been the group therapy.  There are three different teams, you have friends but they hold you accountable.”

The program at Solstice is more than just therapy, a lot of our girls and assigned female at birth find a passion for academics. Alexis is no different. “My grades have improved a lot while at Solstice. I have had straight A’s for the first time in my life. The teachers here really work hard with you if you have trouble in a certain subject.”

While at Solstice, Alexis has made a lot of progress academically.  Not only is they on track to graduate on time, they also has a renewed relationship with their parents and will be transitioning home soon.

Alexis, 16 - SRTC Student

“Solstice gave me the space to pause and decide what I really wanted out of life. It empowered me to change and take responsibility for myself. Being able to listen to others and becoming a helpful person was a step away from my youth, and into adulthood.”

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Erica - Alumni, who learned to be accountable and rebuilt relationship with family
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