THE FIVE ELEMENTS OF A SUCCESSFUL GRADUATION FROM RED MOUNTAIN

Throughout their Red Mountain experience, our students learn our core values: mindfulness, safety, confidence, compassion and growth.

These core values influence each student’s journey through the program and they learn tools to help with each one.  In fact, the therapeutic assignments for each phase focus primarily on one of these core values, so that by the end, the student has done a “deep dive” into each of them (of course, the values are all interrelated and a clear line of delineation does not exist, but we do focus on particular things at particular times).  

The core values tie into our philosophy of discharge planning.  We feel a program is only as good as its discharge planning.  While a student may feel ready to leave our program, and their parents may feel the student is ready, experience tells us that students need to show they can carry forward what they have learned outside the container of our program while still in the program in order to achieve optimal results. 

[grve_image_text image=”6979″]Due to the fluctuating nature of completing these tasks, graduation dates can not be set until all of these items are complete and a student has demonstrated their ability to complete them independently outside the treatment environment. This will usually include multiple visits to their next destination; extensive conversation with and about the people they will be spending time with; and, at times, adjustments to plans as the process unfolds. [/grve_image_text]

The elements needed to graduate are as follows.  

  1. Recovery plan.   This ties into our core value of mindfulness.  We want our graduates to be aware of the particular triggers that can lead back to problematic behavior; to be able to identify them as soon as they arise; and to have tools to deal with them in a healthy way.  This is, at its core, the benefit of mindfulness: the ability to recognize non-working thoughts and behaviors before they become problematic and make healthier choice.  NOTE: We are aware not all our students have significant substance issues, so in this case we mean “recovery” in the sense of moving away from any problematic behavior (including but not limited to substances) as a reaction to stress, boredom, loneliness, etc. 
  2. Safe, secure housing.   This ties into our core value of safety.  We want to ensure our students are engaged in an emotionally and physically safe housing situation.  For adolescent students, this usually means returning home, although some of our graduates do go on to boarding school.    We want to make sure family dynamics, home contracts, and rules and expectations are in place for adolescent students, and that they are ready to succeed at home.   For young adult students, post-treatment housing may include a college environment, or living independently, but very rarely involves returning home.   Either way, we want our graduates to be prepared to deal with whatever issues may arise in their housing environment, and to have both the executive and emotional skills to succeed wherever they’re going. 
  3. Therapeutic handoff.  This ties into our core value of confidence.  We want to make sure our students have confidence in themselves and their therapeutic process, and have developed a plan for ongoing outpatient therapy and, if needed, psychiatry.  This includes physically visiting and interacting with their new providers and signing releases of information so we can have a clinical handoff BEFORE they leave.   We want to have confidence that the therapeutic work our graduates have undertaken with us will continue, and that graduates will have the confidence in their new providers to feel comfortable continuing their therapeutic process.
  4. Healthy relationships.  This ties into our core value of compassion.    We want our students to demonstrate compassion for themselves and others and have strong relationships with themselves, family members, and supportive friends.    Throughout their stay, students learn healthy relationship skills, and we want to make sure this continues to inform their social and family relationships after there graduate.  Of course, healthy relationships also help prevent isolation, emotional dysregulation, and returning to old behaviors.  
  5. Plan for work and / or school.   This ties into our core value of growth.  We want our students to continue their growth as emerging adults with a clear plan for academic and / or vocational achievement.   This includes knowing where they will be working and / or going to school; having a clear budget if not living with parents; having academic support in place if needed; having a safe mode of transportation if needed; having an awareness of work / life balance; and achieving THEIR particular “sweet spot” of being challenged enough that they are growing, but not so challenged that they get overwhelmed and give up.

It is not uncommon for students to struggle to complete some of these tasks.   This is where “the rubber meets the road” and we get to see where a student really is in their process.  It’s important that all involved practice patience as it does take time to land all of these elements of a safe, secure, actionable graduation plan.  

When properly applied during the Completion phase, these elements give our students their optimal chance of success.