By addressing each youth individually, our sophisticated therapy ensures healing and healthy development.
Each youth brings an entirely different set of experiences that have shaped patterns and behaviors — so far. But the brain is amazingly pliable: it changes with relationships, experience, and circumstances all the time.
Therapy at Gateway is designed to address each youth as an individual. What are their strengths? Their deficits? What factors contribute to their unique mix of confidence, frustration, behaviors, and beliefs?
Drawing on years of experience using multiple clinical techniques and supportive evidence-based, interventions our highly credentialed therapists design sophisticated, treatment plans that specifically address each teen's unique needs – and those of their family. By tailoring treatment individually and intentionally, we create a space where healing begins.
Rooted In Relationship
We believe by facilitating a positive relationship in the security of the therapeutic environment, youth grow in self-awareness and confidence. They become aware of their needs, motivations and behavioral patterns; learn to make thoughtful and positive choices; and build resilience to handle challenges as they come.
Therapy at Gateway extends well beyond a clinical setting. To be emotionally healthy is to live in healthy relationships with peers, family, and community. Relational therapy isn’t a theory: it’s life.
That’s why therapy at Gateway is reinforced in the classroom, in the outdoors, in the community, and in one-on-one interactions. Every touchpoint offers an opportunity to practice and solidify healthy relationships. Every interaction becomes an opportunity for healing and growth. Every interaction is an intervention.
Inspire To Rewire
The latest studies in neuroplasticity reveal that wherever we focus the brain’s attention is where it is actively making and reinforcing connections. We know our brains constantly form new pathways that help us make sense of ourselves and the world around us.
So when youth try out new healthier choices, or learn a new coping skill or see a new behavior modeled, their brains makes new connections — figuratively and neurologically. They grow, change, and heal.
Putting Assets In Place
Gateway helps our youth tap into the unique talents and strengths they already have in place in order to promote developmental assets such as resilience, clear and positive identity, emotional and moral competence, and belief in the future. These are the “developmental nutrients” that can help young people sustain positive attitudes and protect them from making unhealthy choices or engaging in negative and risky behaviors.
The Search Institute, a leading innovator in discovering what children and adolescents need to succeed in their families, schools, and communities, has identified 40 building blocks of healthy development, ranging from external assets such as parental involvement, caring adults, and community connection to internal assets like values, commitment to learning, and social competencies. With these 40 developmental assets in place, adolescents grow up healthy, caring, and responsible. For more, read the fascinating “Positive Youth Development So Far” white paper from The Search Institute here (downloadable pdf).
Specialized Clinical Tracks
Gateway offers over twenty different specialty track groups in our treatment programs. Depending on their needs, each youth may participate in up to six track groups during their stay at Gateway. Each youth is placed by their therapist and the treatment team in the track group that most suits their needs at the time. Some of our track group topics include:
Adolescent Development: Gender-specific interventions assist Gateway's young people to examine internal and cultural influences of insecurity, fear, and frustration that lead to acting out. Youth develop emotional coping skills to identify and express feelings and solve problems. They also explore issues related to social competency, healthy relationships, positive identity, gender expression, healthy sexual development, self-destructive behavior patterns, screen addictions, and personal and community responsibility.
Anxiety and Depression: Rational-emotive, sensory, and occupational therapy interventions assist youth to identify and understand the activating events, beliefs, and emotional consequences related to their anxiety and depressive symptoms. Each youth is also assisted to develop and implement Dialectic Behavioral Therapy and mindfulness practices, relaxation, self-calming and self-regulation techniques to facilitate normalization of their emotional state and increased distress tolerance and feelings of self-confidence.
Trauma Resolution: Young people overwhelmed by unresolved traumatic life events such as abuse or neglect, the loss of a parent or sibling, life-changing accidents, high conflict family situations, and other challenging circumstances attend this therapy track where they can process and resolve trauma-based thoughts and feelings in a safe, supportive environment. Through the use of multiple modalities (i.e., sensory integration, structured attunement interventions, cognitive-behavior therapy skills, literature and other media), our youth learn and practice tools that allow them to grieve the loss of control associated with their experiences, manage lingering anxiety, and regain a sense of mastery over their lives and self identity. They are also taught to identify and challenge past destructive coping strategies, and replace them with more effective ones.
Relationships: The entire continuum of relationships are the focus in this group: How do we start relationships of friendships?, How do we know if someone is interested in a deeper, or more intimate, connection? What do we share with others, and when? Communication and connection with friends, family, and peers are the main talking points. There is also dedicated time for more serious conversations regarding consent, personal boundaries, and safety in relationships both online and in-person.
Brainworks: Youth in this group have problems in relating to others because of neurocognitive deficits in their ability to process energy and information. As a result they often struggle to develop reciprocal, emotionally connected (“attuned”) relationships, have poor social communication and/or rigid and reactionary thinking patterns. This group is used to address these deficits by helping them enhance their basic social and conversational skills (i.e., eye contact, voice tone, body language, non-verbal cues and clues, manners etc.), develop their sense of body boundaries, recognize and regulate their feelings, improve self advocacy, and increase flexible thinking and healthy problem solving. Our youth in this group also learn proper grooming and hygiene, skills to ease transitions and change, and improve organization and time management.
Adoption: Youth in this track have the unique challenge in life of balancing curiosity of their birth story and staying connected with their adoptive family. This group is used to explore the effects of adoption, issues of attachment, identity formation, and feelings of loss and rejection. They engage in a variety of activities including mapping out a family tree with birth and adoptive families, writing letters to address unresolved adoption loss, expressing unspoken needs and feelings, giving support to peers, and learning how to address the adoption issues with their adoptive families. The book 20 Things Adopted Kids Wish Their Adoptive Parents Knew by Sherrie Eldridge is used as a tool to create conversations about adoption as well as help students find words to attach to thoughts and feelings they may have been ignoring or avoiding expression.
iBalance: The iBalance group addresses all types of our adolescents' past behavioral addictions and avoidant coping methods such as excessive screen time, video gaming, pornography, mild experimentation with drugs or alcohol, cutting, sexual preoccupation and eating disorders. Gateway utilizes a holistic evidenced-based, developmental approach integrating aspects of mind-body awareness and neuroscientific research on the brain. The model is individualized for each youth to make certain they connect to concepts that will ensure greater increased awareness, self regulation, and enhanced healthy coping skills. Gateway clinicians assist each young person to discover how the core beliefs they hold as "real" either support a life of authenticity, acceptance, self responsibility and freedom, or perpetuate sadness, loneliness and thus, a greater need for disconnection, escape and the addictive behavior.
Equine Assisted Therapy: Horses can be valuable partners in therapy. In this group youth work with their therapist and equine professionals (egala certified) engaging in experiential activities with horses. Clients work with specially trained horses and learn about caring for them. The therapy focuses more on learning to care for the animals rather than learning to ride. Caring for horses requires concentration, selflessness, and teamwork. Equine-assisted therapy can help youth improve self-esteem, self-awareness, social skills, confidence, and empathy. Equine therapy can help youth with relationship issues, behavior problems, anxiety, depression, ADHD, and addition.
Additional Skills Groups: In addition to group therapy, our therapists provide clinical support both on and off campus, and evening life skill groups and activities, that focus on building social skills, executive functioning skills, increasing distress tolerance, and improving peer relationships.
On-Site Psychiatrist and Medical Team
At the helm of our multidisciplinary treatment team are our Board-Certified Psychiatrist, with training and experience consistent with the age and problems of Gateway clients. Gateway’s psychiatrists provide screening and evaluation of our youth prior to, and at the time of, admission. They meet with clients weekly, monthly, or more often as needed, for ongoing clinical, medical and/or medication needs, and to consult and discuss medical and medication related options with clients, parents, and with the youth’s assigned therapist. On the main campus, nurses are onsite daily to provide psychiatric nursing services, including continuous observation, monitoring, and crisis intervention, as well as to oversee and administer medications as clinically indicated. Our doctors and nurses are on call 24 hours per day, 7 days per week to respond to significant clinical needs.