- Location: Southern Michigan
- Students: 15 (10-17)
- Gender: all male
- Website: PromiseVillage.com
Promise Village is a clinically sophisticated therapeutic program dedicated to improving the lives of struggling boys ages 10-17 and their families.
The belief at Promise Village is that God has an awesome plan, hope, and future for every boy who comes to this program. This program’s mission is to provide a safe, caring, structured, relationship-based, clinically sophisticated program of the highest quality in a positive, home-like environment. This powerful combination creates opportunities for meaningful and lasting change.
Promise Village’s therapeutic setting is on a 70-acre ranch where at-risk boys can overcome challenges, discover their strengths, grow in character, heal from hurts, restore family relationships, develop spiritually, and improve academically. Its program is based on current research that shows relationships to be the number one predictor of positive treatment outcomes. This approach integrates multiple treatment modalities into the treatment program and allows for the individualized needs of each resident.
The Promise Village Approach builds on the positive character traits outlined in the “PROMISES” Character-Building Stage System and promotes growth and change through learning to prosper in each of these areas. A nurturing clinical atmosphere helps to foster the development of trust, confidence, respect, responsibility, self-worth, and self-control in the lives of the residents. The multi-modal approach includes individual, family, and group therapies in combination with milieu and animal/equine assisted therapy. Promise Village’s program is therapeutically intensive and residents are closely supervised by therapists and Life Coaches who model, motivate, and mentor. Staff is privileged and honored to be a part of seeing radically positive changes occur in the lives of children and teens, who come to realize the wonderful potential that lies within them.
Every resident at Promise Village will be assigned to a primary therapist and will meet with them for individual therapy 3-4 times a week. The frequency and duration of the meetings can be adjusted to meet the individual needs of the resident. Each therapist will work with the resident and parent/s to develop a Master Treatment Plan that identifies personally tailored goals and measurable objectives targeted to work toward, during their time at Promise Village. There will be specific timelines defined for each objective. This plan will guide the therapeutic process by identifying the core issues and help the resident to heal from past struggles, restore family relationships, learn healthy coping skills, eliminate thinking errors, resolve conflict, repair relationships, and develop a new attitude toward life. The Master Treatment Plan will be developed soon after admission into the program, and it will be reviewed and updated every 90 days or as needed throughout the Treatment Plan Review process.
Therapy is conducted by fully licensed therapists who are at a master’s or doctoral level. Interventions are planned and developed using multiple theoretical frameworks adjusted to the needs of the resident. This eclectic approach permits the therapist to determine the best model for each situation and works in collaboration with both the structure and freedoms of the program. All interventions are consistent with the Promise Village Treatment Approach and are instituted to effect change in the lives of the residents. Promise Village therapists utilize “best practice” approaches based on research and practical experience. Individual therapy with a trusted therapist truly allows for the resident to “heal, change, and grow.” There will never be more than six residents/families on each therapist’s caseload, in order for an intensive investment of time to be dedicated to address complex family, emotional, and behavioral issues.
Promise Village believes that family therapy is a key part of the resident’s overall treatment and progress. It is important for families to witness the efforts made by their child/teenager and for them to encourage and support continued growth. Family therapy will focus on issues specific to each resident’s family and will be comprised of improving communication, repairing relationships, learning conflict resolution and conflict management, and addressing treatment concerns as they arise. Residents will gain insight into what they have done to contribute to conflict and chaos in the family. They will be challenged to “get things right” with their parents/family members and make changes that will enhance these relationships. Sessions designed to teach and empower parents can also be scheduled, as needed. These sessions will focus on increasing parenting skills by learning how to set limits, establish healthy boundaries, consequent negative and inappropriate behavior and design structure and expectations in the home. Family therapy will take place on a weekly to bi-weekly basis depending upon current needs and logistics for parents. Sessions can take place on a conference call or through webcam technology for families that live out of state or a significant distance from Promise Village.
Current research suggests that group therapy is the most effective therapy in treating the adolescent population. This is due to the overwhelming attention this age group places on their peer group and trying to conform to group norms. Promise Village places significant emphasis on the importance of the group process. Residents participate in a wide variety of group formats including both psycho-educational and psycho-therapeutic models. Diverse age appropriate topics are also covered and include groups on respect, anger, peer pressure, conflict resolution, decision making, emotion management, positive relationship development, spiritual development, and many others. Groups are led by therapists and typically range from 60-90 minutes long. Group therapy sessions allow residents to give feedback and support to their peers and also to receive feedback and support from members of their peer group. The group sessions permit this process to take place in a productive, controlled, and safe environment. This environment promotes a thriving culture where positive behavior is rewarded and negative behavior is exposed as counter-productive. This awareness allows the young person to see that the negative behaviors/peers that they previously aligned themselves with were self and family-sabotaging.
The term milieu describes the social environment/culture of the program. Milieu therapy is an approach that uses the nurturing, caring, and safe environment of Promise Village to facilitate healthy change in the resident. The residents are able to receive and give positive exchanges from both their peers and staff through the intervention of milieu therapy. This approach is based on the concept of social learning and modeling but includes multiple other dynamics designed to foster lasting change in children and teenagers. Staff at Promise Village models a positive attitude and lifestyle to the residents and look for “teachable moments” throughout the day to help them learn life lessons and gain life skills. This helps create a powerful environment focused on positive peer influence.
Psychiatric Evaluations/Medication Management
Psychiatric services are provided in collaboration with St John’s Health Eastwood Clinics. Residents are assessed and monitored throughout the duration of their treatment for any psychiatric/medication needs. A Promise Village therapist will schedule and attend an initial psychiatric evaluation with the resident after a determination of a possible need in this area has been made by the treatment team. The therapist will also schedule and attend with the resident any follow up appointments recommended by the psychiatrist in an effort to manage medication regimens and monitor progress. The follow up sessions are typically monthly to bi-monthly, but are determined by the psychiatrist on an individual basis. This is to ensure the needs of each resident are being met and that the proper and most effective medication plan is being implemented. The focus of the Promise Village clinical approach is to reduce or eliminate the need for medication as the resident grows in their ability to self-regulate and core issues are resolved.
Family involvement is encouraged and expected during the course of treatment at Promise Village. Parent and family involvement is one of the most significant predictors of success. This includes working to resolve family issues (usually one of the key reasons for placement) through family therapy sessions and repairing family relationships through visitation, phone calls, and home visits. Family visits to Promise Village are encouraged when it is feasible and appropriate. The residents need to feel cared for during their stay, but parents also need assurance and support during this hope-filled time. All visits are set up through the resident’s individual therapist and are viewed as opportunities to support family growth and progress. Regular phone calls and letter writing is also encouraged and a great way to nurture and support the progress and efforts of the resident. Lastly, home visits are viewed as a designed therapeutic tool for parents and residents to practice the things they have been working on and learning in therapy. A resident is considered eligible for home visitation after they have completed the Stage I requirements and have successfully been promoted to Stage II. This process generally takes 30-40 days to complete. Once a resident becomes eligible for a home visit, the therapist, resident, and family will examine possibilities and determine the appropriate timing for a visit to take place. Promise Village stresses the notion that home visits are not just vacations and should be time spent as family, practicing newly learned growth strategies. Typically, parents are encouraged to take their child home for holidays and special occasions.
Animal-Assisted and Equine Therapy
A key part of the clinical program at Promise Village is connection of the residents with horses and various other therapeutic animals, such as dogs and birds. Kids having struggles with a variety of issues including trust, attachment, anger, depression, trauma, low self-esteem, and lacking confidence can benefit from working with our “animal therapists.” These animals are used as a “transitional object” where the resident will first learn to trust the animal and eventually humans. The animals are often the first ones to break through the internal walls put up by guarded youth. The residents will also learn a variety of life/social skills and teach responsibility as they care for the animals and enjoy time with them. The bonding process will encourage them to treat others with compassion, respect, and patience. Time spent with the animals is designed to be therapeutic and fun, as well as create memories that will last long after residents leave Promise Village.