Self-harm refers to behaviors in which a person intentionally inflicts some form of pain onto him or herself. Also referred to as self-injury or self-mutilation, self-harming behaviors can include burning, cutting, biting, breaking one’s bones, or drinking a harmful substance, such as bleach. Some children and adolescents participate in self-harming behaviors as a way to deal with emotional turmoil that they do not know how else to regulate. Through the act of initiating physical pain onto themselves, these adolescents are able to control what they are feeling, while they are unable to control the inner struggles that they are plagued with. Other children and adolescents will use self-injury as a means of putting a temporary ending to uncontrollable feelings of anxiety. Yet, regardless of the reasons why someone begins to purposely harm him or herself, the behavior itself can quickly become addictive, leading many to require treatment in order to stop.
Resource Treatment Center is a residential placement for children and adolescents between the ages of 11 and 21 who are in need of a safe, secure, and structured setting while addressing behavioral and emotional impairments and deficits. All of our programs are designed to provide intensive mental health treatment for psychiatric, behavioral, and/or chemical dependency concerns in a comfortable and nonthreatening environment that is conducive to healing and recovery. At Resource, we recognize that having a child who is participating in self-harming behaviors can be heart-wrenching, scary, and leave you feeling helpless, but we are here to help both you and your child. Our compassionate staff has years of experience helping children learn to gain control of their symptoms and develop the coping skills needed to successfully move forward towards a bright and happy future.
Helping a Loved One or Family Member Get Treatment
Due to the fact that many children and adolescents self-injure in private, it can be difficult to recognize whether or not the behaviors exist. However, there are some telling warning signs that can be indicative of the presence of such behaviors. Examples of these warning signs for self-harm may include:
- Wearing long-sleeved shirts or long pants, even when it is hot outside
- Having low self-esteem
- Displaying a lack of interest in things that one was once interested in
- No longer participating in activities that one once enjoyed participating in
- Unexplained cuts, scrapes, burns, or bruises
- Having frequent “accidents”
- Making statements that hopeless in nature, such as, “It’s just not worth it anymore”
If any of these warning signs are things that you have noticed in your child, then it is imperative that you become active in getting him or her the help that he or she needs. Try to remain patient and nonjudgmental, and refrain from lecturing your child about the dangers of his or her behavior. This is likely to only result in making your child defensive, hindering the beginning of the treatment process.
Why Consider Treatment at Resource
When children and adolescents participate in acts of self-mutilation, they are typically doing so because it provides them with a temporary sense of relief from whatever inner turmoil they are facing. Yet, because that relief is only temporary, the behavior becomes part of a pattern. In order to break that pattern and get to a point where they can find permanent relief from their emotional pain, the underlying reasons for why the behavior exists needs to be addressed.
Residential treatment programs can be a beneficial way for children and adolescents who self-harm to get the intensive treatment that they need. First and foremost, by entering into a residential program, these children are being placed in a therapeutic environment where they are monitored 24/7, taking away the opportunities that they normally have to engage in the self-mutilating behaviors. In this safe and secure setting, children are able to learn the appropriate coping skills that they need in order to overcome the compulsions they feel to participate in these behaviors, while also confronting and coming to terms with the underlying emotional pain that triggered the onset of the self-harming behaviors. Additionally, in a residential setting, children are surrounded by not only mental health professionals, but by other children who are facing similar struggles as well, helping to boost their confidence by showing them that they are not alone.
Program Philosophy and Benefits
Resource Treatment Center is dedicated to providing structured and therapeutically intensive treatment that offer comprehensive, efficient, and effective programming that is designed to meet the needs of the youth and the families that we serve. At Resource, we focus on providing a safe and comfortable environment while the children and adolescents in our care receive individualized services tailored to meet their specific needs. We strive to deliver programming that allows youth to experience a sense of normalcy while taking part in the treatment process, while also benefiting from a vast array of services that are centered on an evidence-based therapeutic foundation. Maintaining the goal of stabilizing emotional, behavioral, and psychological symptoms, the staff at Resource guides patients through treatment so that they can be successfully reintegrated back into the community.
Types of Treatment Offered at Resource
At Resource Treatment Center, we utilize a number of sound, evidence-based practices that are designed to produce successful treatment outcomes. Upon arrival at Resource, each youth is evaluated using multiple assessment tools, allowing us to appropriately match therapeutic treatment techniques with each patient’s unique needs, risks, and strengths. We offer two separate, distinct residential treatment programs that include our psychiatric residential treatment (PRTF) and our general residential program (RTC). The intake assessment that our patients take part in prior to admission will determine which program is better suited to fully meet the needs of each child. We implement a phase system approach to treatment in which each patient is required to go through four specific phases in order to successfully complete programming. These phases include identification, connection, demonstration, and contribution. Both the PRTF program and the RTC program include the following treatment methods:
Medication management: Every patient who takes part in one of the programs here at Resource will meet with a psychiatrist regularly in order to monitor any medication needs. Youth in the PRTF program will see a psychiatrist on a weekly basis while those in the RTC program see a psychiatrist on a monthly basis.
Individual therapy: Individual therapy sessions are held on a weekly basis and are meant to be a time for each patient to meet one-on-one with a therapist in order to focus on the application and generalization of new skills. These skills can then be implemented in the child’s home and community life. We also offer individual skills-building sessions that focus on six specific proficiencies, including: social, emotional, educational, self-care, health and wellness, and daily living skills.
Group therapy: Group therapy sessions are held at a minimum of once per day, but children may participate in more groups depending on their specific needs. We have a number of different types of groups that cover a variety of different topics, including mood regulation, anger management, social skills, healthy coping skills, and independent living skills. The main purpose of group therapy is to provide a structured, skills-based program that allows for learning skills to be developed while also promoting specific critical skills in a structured and encouraging setting.
Family therapy: Family therapy sessions are held at least every two weeks, but may occur more often if family members are local or request more sessions. During this time, therapists will move the family unit as a whole through the treatment process in order to enhance motivation and establish a collaborative approach. Additionally, every Tuesday night we hold a family night in order to help educate family members about their child’s disorder and treatment process.
School programming: At Resource Treatment Center, all patients attend a fully accredited on-site school for three hours each day. Classes are held in a traditional classroom setting and are led by fully qualified special education teachers. Additional school services are offered, including credit recovery and GED preparation.
In addition to our regular treatment techniques, we also offer a number of experiential programming options, including:
- Daily recreational group therapy
- Student council
- Computer lab
- Girl Scouts (Boy Scouts program will be starting in the near future)
- Spiritual youth group ministry
- Teen outreach program
- Community volunteering opportunities
- Community outings
- Prosocial activities
- Holiday activities
- Special ceremonies in which awards are given to celebrate successes
- NA meetings for youth who are struggling with substance abuse concerns
Other services that are offered as part of our comprehensive programming include:
- 24-hour medical and nursing coverage
- Crisis intervention
- Dental and vision care
Continuing Care and Levels of Treatment
All discharge planning begins once a child has been admitted into our program. Here at Resource, we place a high priority on effective discharge planning in order to ensure that all continuing care needs are in place before the child leaves our treatment center. We have a set of criteria put in place that determines what warrants a successful discharge. The criteria that a child must meet in order to be considered safe to successfully discharge back into the community include the following:
- Youth has reached a level of stability where residential placement is no longer needed
- Youth displays significantly improved conditions by exhibiting little or no maladaptive behaviors
- Youth is able to articulate plans to manage his or her emotional and/or behavioral responses in regards to various psychosocial stressors
- Youth is better able to manage potential family conflict
- The family of the youth has demonstrated a commitment towards successful reunification based on their level of participation in their child’s treatment
- There are reasonable expectations that the youth will be compliant with family rules and expectations, as well as remain free from legal involvement
- Youth has articulated plans to manage independent living skills, such as employment, school, etc.
- Youth has taken an active part in his or her discharge planning and can reasonably be expected to follow through on all aspects of that discharge plan
- Youth demonstrates the ability to maintain a lower risk of participating in unsafe behaviors that present them as a risk to the community