We are healthy when we can create and maintain positive, virtuous relationships.
That statement essentially encapsulates the Greenbrier philosophy. Strong Relationality is the psychological model that we use to facilitate that philosophy, and we have found it to be the most effective path to creating desire and resources for deep, lasting change.
Each of us has our own unique filter through which we see the world, ourselves, the past, present and future. Through these filters we form our identity. We identify ourselves as parents, siblings, friends, enemies, judges, experimenters, tall, short, ugly, pretty, hyper, laid back, kind, impatient and so on. Relationship is the common denominator of all those identifiers.
What those relationships mean, and what it means to be in or out of the relationship adds to our identity and understanding of ourselves. If we change our relationship, the meaning of the relationship and our engagement in it, we change our identity.
Frequently, students come to the Greenbrier Academy for Girls with harmful beliefs about themselves, the world, their ability to succeed in the future or their helplessness to overcome a diagnosis. “I am a loser”, “I am bulimic”, “I am unwanted”, I am worthless”, I am dumb”, “I am an addict”, “I am lazy” are common identity statements we hear when students first arrive. But what we are expert at is helping girls change their relationships with themselves and the world around them.
So instead of believing “I am a loser”, she can believe “I am capable”. Instead of believing “I am unwanted” she embraces “I have an important mission in this life that no one else can do like I can”. Those are powerful shifts! Those shifts take into account not only the self, but encompass the self in relationship to the rest of the world. It creates connectivity.
Without the vital work of relationship identity shifting, the more standard psychological and academic models are prone to failure. Relationship helps give the students an answer to the question WHY?
“I learned so much at Greenbrier, I can’t even explain my gratitude.”
– H. N. (Student)
Strong Relationality can be found implemented in all aspects of campus life. Within the classroom, teachers contour their curriculum to create context and understanding for information shared. They create the relationship between knowledge and application. This makes learning and academic success much more accessible.
Therapists and teachers work together to meet the needs of each individual student. They work with the residential advisers to plan trips and activities with specific students in mind. Probably most impressive to many visitors is the amazing culture of support from peers that the students have created. You might be surprised at how often in community meetings, or even sometimes in school wide emails, students are asking each other for support or for clarity on how they could improve. And they get what they ask for. That kind of sharing and support is hard to find in this world. It forges strong friendships and sisterhood.
It is no wonder that our alumni program is so active, or that we often get requests from graduates to come back to visit.
Context is everything. At Greenbrier we strive to construct and empower students to create diverse contexts for learning, growing and healing. There are student led organizations and projects that change with the interests of the student body.
We have had everything from poetry clubs to shark clubs.
We have competitive sports like basketball.
We have some amazing animal programs that include our equine program, canine rescue program and cat club.
Other service opportunities abound. Students can participate in drumming and join our highly acclaimed Performance Group. Campus life is full of opportunity, and so are the chances for growth.
We hope you take a few minutes and explore our website. If you would like to know more, or would like to visit our campus, please contact us; we would love to meet you.