Clinical Services

Individual Therapy

Individual therapy occurs at least once weekly, or more often if indicated, with a master’s level or licensed clinician. Clinicians most often utilize a behavioral and cognitive behavioral approach. Emphasis is placed on teaching the child/adolescent age appropriate coping skills and then in assisting the child/adolescent in applying the skills learned, first in the milieu environment, and then in the community during facility sponsored outings and ultimately transitional passes with family members. All therapeutic approaches are geared toward assisting the child/adolescent to function in a less restrictive environment. For children presenting with past trauma, the evidenced based treatment modality of Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT) is most often utilized. We also offer family therapy and other programming to involve family members.


R.O.P.E.S. Course

The R.O.P.E.S (reality, oriented, personal, experience, services) course is offered to incorporate many different experiential elements which encourage team oriented cooperation, development of group problem-solving, trust, leadership skills, understanding of self and others, development of self-esteem, and exploration of verbal and nonverbal communication. Groups are facilitated twice weekly for all residents and once weekly for families by certified facilitators who have taken a week long certification course. Facilitators maintain their certification through quarterly supervision.


Group Therapy

Licensed or master’s level primary clinicians facilitate twice weekly process groups with their individual caseloads. Clinicians utilize a number of different formats, each providing a mechanism for feedback, support, guidance, insight and the development of socially appropriate behavior. Clinicians focus on assisting the residents to share issues and feelings that relate back to their individualized treatment plans. Self-esteem, stress management, anger management, coping skills and conflict resolution are also taught.

In addition to twice weekly process groups, each resident is provided with additional groups, which are specific to their primary presenting problems. Additional groups include:

  • Trauma
  • Creative Therapy
  • Expressive Therapy
  • Young Men’s Group

Animal Assisted Therapy

The research on the benefits of utilizing AAT in the healing of medical conditions has recently begun to extend to include the benefits to children and adolescents with mental health issues. Specific areas where research on the positive effects of AAT is emerging include: Reactive Attachment Disorder, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Depressive Disorder, Anxiety, Sexual Trauma Survivors, Aggressive Behavior, and Self Injurious Behavior. The animals have a soothing effect on residents, stimulating them to express emotion. SandyPines partners with Canine Assisted Therapy benefit our residents with this service. Canine Assisted Therapy Inc. comes to the facility on a weekly basis with trained animals to work with our residents and provide play and comfort.


Substance Abuse

All residents age 12 and older are assessed by the Certified Addictions Counselor (CAC) who utilizes the SASSI assessment tool. Treatment is facilitated for those residents who are dually diagnosed, as Evidence Based research indicates improved outcomes for integrated treatment. Treatment focuses on the stages of change, origins and triggers for use, and relapse prevention planning. SandyPines utilizes the Stages of Change Model developed by Prochaska and DiClemente in assessing and starting “where the resident is,” in reference to their feelings regarding their use. We also employ motivational interviewing techniques, which is an evidenced based model. Therapy modalities utilized include education/prevention, and cognitive behavioral therapy with incorporation of the 12 step model. Twice weekly groups are facilitated in addition to weekly AA/NA meetings. The CAC may also provide individual sessions with the resident depending on their assessment needs. This therapy would be in addition to individual/family therapy with the residents’ assigned primary therapist. During a resident’s transition phase, he/she may be encouraged and/or expected to attend 12 step meetings while on transitional passes to reinforce what is being learned in the facility, in the community setting. Residents are strongly encouraged to obtain a sponsor while on transitional passes, prior to discharge to strengthen the discharge plan and increase the resident’s potential to maintain their sobriety following discharge.


Activities Therapy

The Activity/Creative Therapy Department provides a variety of therapeutic activities and experiences to all residents. These experiences are age appropriate and may range from project groups and physical activity groups to more process oriented groups. In these groups, the resident is given the opportunity to explore their interests, talents, and sense of self. They learn a wide range of interpersonal and social skills. The resident is allowed to express their feelings through a variety of artistic, creative, and expressive activities in a supportive and safe environment. As we believe activity is an integral part of normal living and the agent through which human beings learn and grow – activity groups require involvement thus teaching a sense of self as a contributing participant.

Minimally, each resident participates in once weekly structured creative therapy groups. In addition to the formal structured groups, informal groups and activities are planned throughout a residents stay to coincide with holidays, special events and school breaks. For example, our creative therapy department hosts an annual Halloween party, in conjunction with a costume parade, complete with outfitting each resident with their own costume. During the summer months when summer school is not in session, the creative therapy department facilitates a structured summer camp program. During school breaks, various activities such as volleyball tournaments are scheduled. The above mentioned activities are merely examples and not all-inclusive.

In addition to groups and holiday activities, the creative therapy department is responsible for facilitating therapeutic outings. Therapeutic outings occur on a weekly basis for all residents on level 3 and above and who are deemed safe by the treatment team and on a bi-monthly basis for all residents on level 4 and who are deemed safe by the treatment team. All residents on level 4 are offered the opportunity to participate in both level 3 and level 4 outings. Some examples of Level 3 outings include trips to the park or the beach with a picnic lunch or pizza, trips to museums, paddle boarding, and attendance at local plays/shows, while examples of level 4 outings may include dinner in a restaurant and/or a movie.


Other physical activity

Daily supervised use of an outdoor swimming pool, a full-size gymnasium including basketball court, and acres of outdoor playing areas for team sports. In addition, each unit has a “backyard” area in which the residents can participate in physical activity. Our adolescent units have a basketball hoop in their backyard, while the children’s unit (ages 5-12) has a “jungle gym.”