- What happens during the program?
- How long does the program last?
- Who will be our therapist?
- What makes your program unique?
- When should we enroll?
- Can you guarantee success?
After you enroll in the RGTS program, we will assign a qualified and invested therapist to work with your child, family, and community. He/she will try to contact you and your child before your child comes home from his wilderness or residential treatment center, whenever possible. Or, if your child is already home, the therapist will contact you and set up a first meeting. Sometimes the first meeting (and only the first meeting) will take place at the therapist’s office while you get to know one another.
But the core feature of our program is that the work is largely done in your own home and community. That is where your child has struggled in the past; that is where the change needs to happen. So your therapist will come into your home for as many as eight hours a week to provide individual and family therapy, observation, processing, and coaching. Your therapist will also contact (with your authorization) key members of your child’s community, including teachers, peers, coaches, spiritual advisors, etc. and will work with them to develop a strong network of support and encouragement for your child as he/she works to meet those goals that you will establish together (client, family, and therapist) during your first sessions in Phase I.
You will also be asked to complete several “therapeutic assignments” either 1:1 with your child or as a whole family unit, and those experiences will be explored as part of your clinical treatment. Also, each week you will spend 1/2 hour in a telephone or video cam conference with a supervisor from RGTS who will be assigned to monitor your progress and address any questions or concerns that may arise. Finally, between your therapist and your RGTS supervisor, someone will be available to you 24/7 to help with crisis intervention and management.
Our program generally lasts from one (1) to three (3) months, depending on the level of service that you choose. We have several plans available, with varying levels of intensity, so that you can choose the program that best suits your family’s needs.
We contract with therapists who live and work near your home to be the direct service providers for our program. We have already identified and trained therapists in several major US markets; however, if we receive an application from a new area, we consult with the client, educational consultants in that region, and nearby universities and clinics to identify local therapists who might have the background and skills that we require for our program. We will even work with your specific insurance panel in an effort to find an in-network therapist for you if you ask us to! Once we’ve identified a potential therapist for the program, we require him/her to complete a comprehensive application, professional license verification, and criminal background check. We train all our therapists to use our treatment model because research tells us that compliance with our program design will yield positive and productive results for you, our client.
Our program is different from other programs you may find available to you on several different levels. First, unlike many traditional “aftercare” programs, ours meets you in your own home and community. We work with you on the front lines of your life, where the real action happens. We don’t bring you into an office or ask you to attend group therapy somewhere. Instead, we forge a personal, therapeutic relationship that demands transparency and allows for a high degree of disclosure.
Another unique feature of our program is our clinical emphasis. While most transitional or aftercare programs focus on goal-setting and system planning (and we work on these things, too), we believe that therapeutic interventions are equally critical to your success. We include individual and family therapy as part of your weekly regimen because we believe in its power to help you identify internal struggles that may be interfering with your external goals.
Finally, we believe firmly in the positive value of a strong client-therapist relationship. We focus on a therapeutic triangle that includes (1) a client who is motivated to succeed, (2) a therapist who is invested in seeing her client succeed, and (3) and strong bond between therapist and client that is built on trust and mutual goals. Our program is designed to promote a strong client-therapist bond, because we believe that life’s challenges are more manageable when we know that we aren’t facing them alone.
We believe that the most critical element for success must be the relationship that exists between the therapist and the client. For this reason, we encourage you to enroll in the program 3-4 weeks before your child is discharged from his/her wilderness or residential treatment program. This length of time allows us to establish a contractual relationship with a therapist that will best fit your needs, and then give that therapist time to contact your child before he/she comes home, thus forging a critical bond that will carry through the rest of the program and significantly contribute towards a successful outcome. However, we understand that often the decision to pursue transitional or aftercare is a last-minute one. In that case, complete your enrollment paperwork as quickly as possible. Our experience tells us that youth begin to “dip” emotionally 3-4 weeks after returning home; at this point the “honeymoon” has ended and life begins to return to more regular patterns that may or may not be conducive to healthy behaviors.
We wish that we could. Unfortunately, psychological, behavioral, and emotional issues are complex. Just as a medication may work for one person and not for another, all therapies will ultimately work for some clients and not for others.
What we do know is that our program is grounded in a treatment approach with proven success. We know from studies conducted over the past ten years that the principles of MST, which we apply in our program, lead to decreased suicide attempts, decreased (by up to 75%!) days of subsequent residential or hospital placement, increased school attendance, and increased family cooperation and communication.