Our philosophy inspires us to be passionately committed to unconditionally love your daughter, keep her safe, help her be empathic and responsible, and find a meaningful purpose in life while serving others.
We want her “relational experiences” at Greenbrier to be life changing in every healthy way.
The following explains the core of our motivation.
Unfortunately, many schools and programs have not formed a cogent “why” they use various academic or therapeutic practices.
Often they merely give lip service to a philosophy, and then individual staff members operate out of divergent, personal philosophies. Consequently, the program is not philosophically coherent, and therefore the program is not operationally coherent. If you are not clear why you do something, how do you evaluate its success or know how to improve it?
Research has shown that programs actively implementing a specific philosophy are more successful than programs that do not. Greenbrier has evolved from the constant questioning of what works and why. We have searched and experienced various psychological philosophies over the years. Our chosen philosophy has a rich intellectual history and is called Strong Relationality. The therapeutic/academic model of how we implement is called Applied Relationality.
Below we briefly list important distinguishing characteristics of Strong Relationality that directly impact your daughter.
We say “distinguishing”, because these assumptions are different and outside of most psychological philosophies and models found in other schools or programs. Unfortunately, many people are misled to believe that adolescent programs all believe and act on the same assumptions.
That is not the case.
For example the following Strong Relationality beliefs are not consistent with the basic assumptions of behavioral theory, cognitive-behavioral theory, humanistic theory, or cognitive theory. Most programs either explicitly or implicitly embrace these psychological models or philosophies as paramount. We do not. We acknowledge much of the phenomena they describe, but we disagree about what is most significant and controlling.
We do not claim that Strong Relationality is the “one and only” psychological philosophy, but we believe it is one of the most accurate and practical for several reasons.
Strong Relationality Assumptions and Beliefs
- The primary cause and resolution of your daughter’s symptoms (anxiety, depression, addiction, rebellion, family conflict, etc.) are her perceptions of past, present, and future relational experiences. Therefore, the focus of GBA’s program is creating powerful, quality relationships with peers, family and staff to inculcate new, positive beliefs. Meanwhile, we change old negative perceptions of past relational experiences. You can see these assumptions incorporated into our program of Aspirations, One-on-One Therapy, Group Therapy, Creations/Village, Family Workshops, Equine/Animal Assisted Therapy, Art Therapy, and Service to the Community.
- The past does not create the present. Present PERCEPTIONS of past experiences guide our behaviors and emotions. Meanings placed on anticipated future relational experiences can also create present negative or positive beliefs. Our one on one therapy primarily consisting of brain spotting, reimprinting, gestalt, and time line therapy elicits problematic core beliefs (relationally formed) and facilitates their change.
- The quality of our relationships in all contexts represents the degree of our emotional health or well-being. Hence, our program focuses on calibrating and improving the quality of relationships in as many contexts as possible. By quality we mean the ability to give and receive altruistic love from self and others. We sponsor lots of student activities on and off campus, and our objective is inculcating different types of quality relationships.
- The self is not “self contained” within our skin. Practically speaking, your daughter lives out her identity through the connections and relationships of her life. Her true self is not an isolated internal being but a connected, relational person. Her real self is not hidden away inside (maybe behind her liver). Therefore, context is therapeutically important. She needs more than “office visits” with a therapist to change. Therefore, we have a powerful culture built on improving quality relationships within the GBA community. We call this the Aspirations.
- The most meaningful relationships that form life-beliefs are within the family. Therefore, GBA has weekly family phone calls and periodic, interactive family workshops with parents and daughter on campus.
- Relationality views reality as everything in a context, seen or unseen. Please note that most psychological philosophies only consider reality to include what can be observed with the five senses. (This leaves love, relationships, etc. outside of reality.) While relationships are paramount at GBA we are logically concerned about brain chemistry, learning styles, entrenched habits or behavioral patterns, etc. The relationship of all these factors can affect the quality of your daughter’s relationships. We therefore have an on campus nurse, a psychiatrist off campus who meets monthly with students to monitor medications and provide other psychiatric services as needed.
- Spirituality is part of human reality. Your daughter’s spiritual life will be considered as part of her overall emotional well being.
As you read more about our academics, therapy, and student life, please keep our philosophic underpinnings in mind to better understand why we do what we do.