Group therapy is a form of psychosocial treatment where a small group of patients meet regularly to talk, interact, and discuss problems with each other and the group leader (mental health therapist or psychiatrist).Group therapy attempts to give adolescents at CASA House a safe and comfortable place where they can work out problems and emotional issues. Through group therapy, adolescents can gain insight into their own thoughts and behavior, and offer suggestions and support to others. In addition, adolescents who have a difficult time with interpersonal relationships can benefit from the social interactions that are a basic part of the group therapy experience. Group therapy occurs daily at CASA House and makes up the majority of treatment.
Individual family therapy sessions occur biweekly (twice a month) between each adolescent’s family at CASA House and the assigned Mental Health Therapist and Psychiatrist. Family therapy sessions begin by first identifying treatment goals and then working towards nurturing change and development in order to fulfill these goals. Family therapy focuses on improving family relationships and dynamics to meet these treatment goals.
Individual therapy refers to therapy sessions between the adolescent and a CASA House Mental Health Therapist. The mental health therapist works together with the adolescent in working towards identified personal goals on an individual basis. While the majority of therapy at CASA House is done in a group format, individual therapy is also provided to further promote positive individual development.
Milieu therapy is a type of in-patient therapy which involves the use of particular activities and social interactions to increase adolescent’s awareness of themselves in relation to others and social situations. Child and Youth Care Counsellors and Nurses (frontline staff) provide regular direction and encouragement to adolescents at CASA House to help improve adolescents’ social skills, self-awareness and insight.
Prescribed medications may be an important part of the adolescent’s treatment. In consultation with the treatment team, the adolescent’s psychiatrist assesses the need for medications and prescribes medication as required. Parents of the adolescents should not hesitate to contact their therapist or a nurse, if they have any questions in regards to medications or other concerns. Families will be informed of medication changes if they occur.
Schooling is part of the CASA House treatment program. CASA House has four on-site classrooms and four full time teachers from the Edmonton Public School system. Therefore, any work accomplished will be credited to the adolescent’s regular school work. Students are given individual attention paced at their own academic level with a focus on math and English. After treatment is completed, students are reintegrated into their community school.
PHYSICAL EDUCATION AND RECREATION
CASA House offers a physical education program designed to ensure activity on a regular basis (e.g., gym, swimming, movies, bowling, etc.). A recreational component to this program offers relaxation, fun and alternatives for healthy use of leisure time.
Weekend passes with the family/guardian are a regular part of the program. Adolescents have the opportunity to utilize knowledge and skills gained in the treatment program on weekends. Passes assist in maintaining family and community contact and in easing integration of the adolescent back to the family and community. If the adolescent is in treatment at CASA House during the summer months, a vacation pass is considered on an individual basis.
PARENT SUPPORT GROUP/ MULTI-FAMILY THERAPY
Every family in the CASA House program is expected to attend weekly Parent Support Group and Multi-Family Therapy on Wednesdays at 6:30pm to 8:30pm. All group members are involved in an exploration of what is going on in the family that contribute to the problem of the adolescent. The contribution of any group member is equally important. The group helps the families find new and better solutions to their problems.