THE CONCEPT OF TREATMENT FOR STUDENTS AT THE GROVE SCHOOL IS EMBEDDED IN THE CONCEPT OF THERAPEUTIC MILIEU; THAT ALL INTERACTIONS AND ALL RELATIONSHIPS HAVE THE POTENTIAL FOR BEING THERAPEUTIC.
Since all human interactions are a form of communication and occur whether it is intentional or not, whether it is verbal or behavioral, whether it is explicit or implicit, understanding what is being communicated is at the heart of the therapeutic community. Because Grove School is therapeutic community there is always a constant tension between the individual’s responsibility to him or herself and to the larger community. Being socially responsible is an integral part of mental health as well as balancing the tension between individual needs and social (family, community, society) obligations.
Our task is to shift the focus toward a more “self-validated” stance, a psychological position which encourages differentiation, maintaining emotional contact with others. Being in an environment which is safe and which encourages the individual to tolerate their anxiety as they confront their various fears (ex. rejection, abandonment, embarrassment, etc.) is what Grove provides. It is not the goal of this milieu simply to remove a student’s anxiety or fearfulness. Our purpose is to foster growth, to insist upon the honesty that is required for self-confrontation and to be respectful of the courage that this process requires. Helping a student develop, articulate, and live consistent with their own set of moral principles is an important cornerstone of the therapeutic milieu.
Honesty, courage, moral integrity, consideration of others, self-respect, commitment to holding on to Self in the face of the fear that accompanies true growth and differentiation form the foundations upon which Grove’s community is built. They are the principles which guide individual, group, and family therapy; they are the ingredients necessary for the development of social responsibility and obligation; and they are the guidelines for the staff’s interaction with each other and with their students. All interventions must be consistent with and measured against these principles.
The psychotherapy emphasis at the Grove School is multi-faceted and contextually based, recognizing that individuals exist simultaneously in multiple contexts: the biological, intrapsychic, interpersonal, family, community and societal realms. The overarching therapeutic umbrella is the therapeutic milieu and as such, our approach to treatment is to integrate the clinical, academic, residential, activities, and family components into a seamless whole. The clinical component, therefore, is not conceptualized as being separate from the other aspects of the school, but continually coordinates with the other staff that teaches and works with the student.
Our clinical department is made up of 19 licensed clinicians (3 psychiatrists, 2 APRNs, psychologists, clinical social workers, marriage and family therapists, and an art therapist). Intensive individualized twice-weekly psychotherapy is augmented with both family therapy and group therapy.