Multi-faceted Clinical Services Incorporate Counseling, Psychotherapy, and Animal-Assisted Activities

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Family work is an integral part of a
child’s success. The therapeutic program includes:
1. Psychiatric & Medical Services
2. Social Work & Therapeutic Support
3. Nature-Based & Animal-Assisted Therapy
4. Behavior Management
5. Family Therapy & Support

1. Psychiatric & Medical Services
Each child in the Residential Treatment Center is assigned an individual psychiatrist who becomes a vital member of that child’s treatment team. The primary functions of the psychiatrist are to monitor and regulate a child’s psychotropic medications and to educate staff and families regarding the types of medications, target symptoms and any possible side effects. The goal of youth mental health treatment is to stabilize a child’s mood and behavior, enabling them to benefit from academic instruction. Our psychiatrists look to reduce medication use whenever possible, particularly as a child prepares for discharge.

2. Social Work & Therapeutic Support
Upon admission, each child is assigned a therapist, who may be a licensed Social Worker, Mental Health Counselor, Psychologist, or Graduate- or Ph.D.-level Intern. Therapists meet with each child for weekly individual counseling and psychotherapy sessions and also work with direct care staff in weekly living unit group sessions. Specialized small groups in areas such as trauma support, international adoptees, and children who are freed for adoption also may be offered.

Sessions are individualized to each child using a number of different therapeutic modalities, including, but not limited to, Dialectical Behavior Therapy, Cognitive Behavior Therapy, animal-assisted therapy and play therapy. All therapists practice within a family systems and trauma-informed framework.

In addition, therapists may coordinate classroom psycho-education groups on social skills and other topics.

3. Nature-Based & Animal-Assisted Therapy
An enriched treatment milieu that brings people together with animals and plants in a mutually beneficial relationship lays at the foundation of the Green Chimneys approach. Nature-based programs at Green Chimneys support the school and residences, as well as clinical approaches and the overall therapeutic process. Our entire team of farm and clinical staff is part of the treatment process, and the nature-based activities provided each day are a cornerstone of a child’s experience with us.

Animal Assisted Therapy (AAT) can be applied with an individual child, families and groups in many different forms, from working with animals at the farm and horse barn to the use of employees’ personal dogs. AAT helps improve trust, communication, confidence, boundaries, impulse control, management of emotions, focus and attention, relationship-building, empathy, mastery and self control.
Clinical benefits of Animal-Assisted Activities/Therapy >

All animal activities are conducted by a licensed and/or credentialed health provider such as an occupational therapist, physical therapist, social worker, or mental health professional. Animals are handled by the professional who have incorporated animals as part of their specialty or by another staff member under their supervision.

How does Nature-Based or Animal-Assisted Therapy take place?

  • Social workers and other treatment staff bring a child to the farm or gardens during formal treatment session
  • Goal-based occupational and speech therapy with farm animals or in horticulture areas
  • Through equine-facilitated psychotherapy and hippotherapy
  • Inclusion of individual certified therapy dogs in occupational therapy and social work
    Read about our Therapeutic Nature-Based Programs >

4. Behavior Management
Green Chimneys uses a variety of behavior support techniques that consistently manage the environment safely and effectively. These techniques, along with tools to make informed decisions in crisis situations, are provided for all direct care staff based on the Cornell University Therapeutic Crisis Intervention Curriculum, 6th edition. Staff receives extensive training and refresher sessions in effective de-escalation techniques, our preferred method of management.

Green Chimneys is committed to becoming a restraint-free environment and employs a behavior management system that promotes safety and healing by developing techniques and incentives for rewarding desirable behavior. This system is designed to not just prevent children from engaging in destructive or unsafe behaviors but to teach them effective alternative behaviors when faced with difficulties.

Treatment team members develop an Individual Crisis Management Plan for each student as a means of coordinating behavior management techniques across the various program areas in a consistent manner. This plan considers the child’s particular history, alerts, age, cognitive functioning and emotional development; provides a guide for crisis intervention that includes preventive measures and physical interventions (if and when necessary); and is designed for all staff working with that child to understand:

  • Specific warnings about particular safety concerns
  • Potential triggers
  • High risk behaviors
  • Specific intervention strategies
  • Their role in providing a unified approach in meeting each child's needs

5. Family Therapy & Support

Counseling and Psychotherapy Support Services for the Entire Family
Family work is an integral part of a child’s success at Green Chimneys. Therapists arrange family sessions twice monthly, offering daytime, evening, and some weekend hours. Parents and guardians can access resources and support through monthly psycho-education groups and trainings. Additional education and support opportunities include a Parent and Educator Workshop Series and participation and networking with the Green Chimneys Parent Association (GCPA).

Monthly sibling groups are offered on campus during Visiting Sundays at the same time as parent groups. Sibling groups can range from psycho-education activities to animal activities, process groups, and support groups covering a variety of topics. All siblings of residents are welcome.

For more information on our clinical services, contact Admissions at 845.279.2995 x115 or submit a Residential Program Inquiry Form.

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