AT THE CHARLTON SCHOOL, we know that some girls too often get broadly categorized. Healing happens differently for each girl so our approach varies for every student. The aim is always the same, though. Students leave Charlton able to independently self-regulate their behavior, set goals, and care for their own intellectual and emotional needs. Our integrated behavior strategies lead to emotional balance, clarity of self, and healthy habits that are sustainable.
To us, behavior is a form of communication which we view as an invitation to help. We base each student’s program on an ongoing functional behavior assessment, monitoring her progress and adjusting therapies and education as needed.
We focus on the positive.
For each student, we create a positive behavior support plan that rewards problem-solving, makes each girl accountable for her behavior and decisions, and supports her efforts in social, academic, and vocational settings.
We keep the momentum going.
Residential treatment at Charlton is integrated throughout a student’s entire day—from time spent in our residence cottages, to classroom experiences, and from extracurricular activities to, of course, a wide range of clinical interventions.
At The Charlton School, we focus on delivering the right treatment—one that’s individualized and customized specifically to the needs of each student. We base each girl’s program on an ongoing functional behavior assessment, monitoring her progress and enhancing or adjusting our therapies as necessary.
Students on The Charlton School campus are typically struggling with:
- Emotion Regulation
- Attachment Issues
- Symptomatic Behaviors
Message from the Director
“We are not your typical residential treatment center. We are a therapeutic learning community where students learn to trust and develop a positive sense of self.”
I have been a part of The Charlton School since 2003 in the positions of Therapist, Clinical Director and now as Executive Director. Our clinical, residential, and educational staff are in constant collaboration to ensure that the efficacy of the highly individualized, therapeutic environment we have created remains. We understand the overwhelming feelings that come with sending your child away and the struggles that come with trying to explain this as a selfless act of love. This important process starts with new student admissions and is the reason why I remain a central part of our admissions team.
We are not your typical residential treatment center. We are a therapeutic learning community where students learn to trust and develop a positive sense of self. We often hear our program “has a feel” that is different than other experiences families have when touring other programs. I would encourage you, family members, and all professionals supporting your continued success to come and see us and see if you feel the same.
If all other options have been exhausted, perhaps it is the right time for a residential program and perhaps The Charlton School is the place. Please feel free to call me anytime.
Therapy and Aftercare
INDIVIDUAL & GROUP THERAPY
Each student is involved in weekly therapy sessions with her assigned therapist. Students also participate in regular meetings with our school psychologist and psychiatrist.
Positive Behavior Support plans, medication adjustments, and other modifications to a student’s treatment plan are addressed during various weekly clinical meetings that include the:
- Clinical Team
- Child Study Team
Group therapy occurs weekly as well and includes discussions on self-exploration, the impact of trauma on development, self-regulation, emotional management, art therapy, and equine therapy.
The faculty and therapists at The Charlton School know that placement here is a difficult transition for the entire family. That’s why the family is expected to be involved in the change process while the student is residing at The Charlton School. Family therapy usually includes bi-month family sessions on campus with encouragement to continue to resolve past issues and strengthen family relationships at home.
If the family cannot participate in family sessions on-campus, arrangements are made to conduct family sessions via Skype videoconference or telephone.
Students and families are encouraged to participate in Charlton’s one-year, voluntary AfterCare Program. Aftercare planning begins prior to discharge and is designed to provide support, assistance, and feedback to former Charlton students in managing both daily living tasks and crises after discharge.
This intense, one-year program is divided into four quarters and includes weekly phone calls and face-to-face visits in a variety of settings and circumstances—from home, school, Charlton, and job-hunting to medical appointments. More
Students build upon their strengths and discover new ones at The Charlton School. We offer more extracurricular activities than most other residential programs, providing students with exceptional opportunities for self-expression and learning outside the classroom.
Charlton’s Equine Therapy Program is an important part of our overall treatment program. Students nurture and care for a variety of domesticated animals (horses, chickens, etc.) which strengthens self-esteem and facilitates their growth and healing. Students also experience privilege, responsibility, and the personal reward of success.
The Charlton Therapeutic Riding Program has opened a new world of learning and responsibility for many of our students. Students learn about relationships and commitment while caring for the horses, and they experience the joy of riding.
The Expressive Arts Program at Charlton is visual arts based. Directed by Jesse Epstein, MFA, the program offers students an intensive, individualized experience in the Fine Arts. Students are guided through the stages of the creative process: inspiration/idea development, materials selection and engineering, technical processes, evaluation, editing, and critique. Our program is unique in that it focuses on the individual, exploring and giving voice to their experiences while challenging them with university level processes.
Expressive Arts works in conjunction with our Treatment Groups. The flexibility of the arts as offered through the expertise of our instructor leads to personal growth and development while providing us with additional insight about the student. Topics and issues that are too hard to confront directly can be expressed through art. As our students work on their art, they are really working on themselves. The studio becomes a training ground for real life as students learn about commitment, dedication, responsibility, risk taking, handling failure, and success.
Students also have the opportunity to learn and achieve in an environment outside of the school setting. Wide ranging conversations and an open-ended research process expose young minds to possibilities never before encountered. Because math, science, technology, and invention are foundations of art making, students learn that careers as electricians, architects, scientists, engineers, and others are attainable. In the studio, student projects range from simple pinch pots to more complex mold making, life casting, soldering, and moveable parts.
Students of The Charlton School/Ketchum Grande School are offered a wide array of opportunities to learn and practice both hard and soft skills related to leading a successful life in the community. These “life skills” or “living skills” are blended into the many aspects of the residential program.
Students are expected to participate in keeping their living spaces clean. This responsibility is divided into two areas: completion of a daily cottage housekeeping chores and maintaining their personal room to an accepted standard. Weekly allowance is earned through the successful completion of cottage jobs.
A wide variety of social and emotional skills are taught through the residential program, both on an individual basis and in group settings. Students are routinely given the opportunity to interact with the community and utilize those skills practiced within the residential milieu. Among those skills modeled and taught are appropriate interpersonal social skills, structuring free and leisure time, the use of personal schedules, personal appearance/ hygiene and grooming, educational planning, health and sexuality, money management and consumer awareness, nutrition and healthy eating, the benefits of exercise, emergency and safety skills, and knowledge of community resources including transportation.
Each student is assessed for competency in a variety of life skills areas using the Casey Life Skills Assessment tool. Deficiencies in specific areas are determined, and students are provided opportunities and programs designed to bolster their skills.
Living Skills groups facilitated by the Living Skills Coordinator more formally introduce students to many of the topics listed above, and provide opportunities for group discussion and for students to practice experiences in the community.
As students grow and mature, some are offered campus-based employment, leading to off campus community employment or volunteer opportunities as a step toward independence and self-sufficiency.
Acts of giving and service to others strengthen self-respect and esteem, so Charlton students are encouraged to participate in a variety of community service activities such as volunteering at the local consignment/thrift shop or generously donating time at a nearby nursing home or animal shelter.
Mature and responsible individuals are also invited to work or volunteer with our students on-campus as tutors and visitation resources, or to provide supervised activities off campus.
“Parents recognize The Charlton School model is less about penalizing girls and more about respecting girls for who and where they are when they come to Charlton.”
“In referring patients, I look for a standard of care based on evidence-based treatments, the flexibility to tailor a treatment program to each child and family, and a willingness to include and communicate with an outside psychiatrist. Charlton does all of these things well.”
“Since I was young, I have always known that this life damages us, everyone. We can’t escape that damage. But now, I am also learning this: We can be mended. We mend each other.”
“Charlton is for students who are fragile and present with emotional issues such as depression, bi-polar disorders, anxiety, and personality disorders.”
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the frequency of therapy provided at Charlton?
Our program is a therapeutic microcosm. Every interaction is a potential therapeutic intervention or mishap. Through this lens, the amount of ‘therapy’ a student receives can vary. Students formally participate in individual therapy a minimum of one hour per week, family therapy twice a month, and group therapy two times a week. Licensed therapists and our consulting psychiatrist, psychologist, and school counselor deliver these more traditional therapies.
What treatment model do you use?
We do not have a model for treatment at Charlton for a simple reason—as soon as we subscribe to one, we begin to lose our individualized approach. We draw upon various models that result in customized treatments and encourage collaboration between our students and their families. Much of our understanding of a student’s struggles is informed by the research of Bessel van der Kolk, MD and Dr. Ross Greene.
Do you use a Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) model?
We do not. We draw on several concepts to assist with our ultimate goal of teaching students to independently self-regulate their emotions and behaviors. Through years of trial and error with various models, we have come to understand that committing to one model often dilutes the efficacy of our individualized approach.