Our family therapist, Mike Beswick, coined the witticism “ad-ol-li-tis” to describe the universal adolescent condition of existential angst, the quest for meaning.
Your daughter’s teenage years are filled with explorations about “who am I”, “what is my value”, “what is desirable”, “what is right and wrong and who decides”, “what is life all about”, and “where should I put my heart”.
Your daughter may have voiced these dilemmas, but she has also been unconsciously searching for answers. Confusing and misleading answers are implicitly found in the teenage culture of peers, media, school, and commercialism.
With tongue in cheek we joke about drugs, sex, and rock and roll.
However, feeling good, looking good, and self-obsessing are the disturbing values of this culture. Consequently, adolescent girls are confused, devalued, and emotionally injured by this narcissistic and shallow culture.
She unfortunately suffers mentally and emotionally.
The GBA Village is a counter-cultural experience to create contrast, clarity, and healing.
One week each quarter equating to four weeks during a twelve-month year each student lives in the Village.
The curriculum was developed over ten years ago by L Jay Mitchell, and over 2,000 students have enjoyed its rewards.
Quite often Greenbrier graduates choose the Village as their most impactful therapeutic experience. A Village site has been created on the 140 acre GBA campus located at the top of the mountain behind the main school facility.
It is facilitated by full time GBA employees led by Director, Paul Fowler, who has over 10 years of Village experience.
Below are operational and key points about the Village.
- The format is based on a therapeutic construct often called the “Hermeneutic Circle”. Hermeneutics refers to the science of interpretation. The Village creates a format for interpreting the meanings of their various cultural backgrounds and how that affects their self-concept, quality of relationships, and emotional health.
- For contrast and comparison the students create an indigenous counter-culture with unique ways of working together, eating together, counseling together, and holding one another accountable in a non-selfish, virtuous manner.
- Students experience simple indigenous ways of inculcating positive beliefs and releasing negative beliefs. In doing so they learn the meaning and use of archetypes.
- Near the end of each Village week they will experience some type of mental, physical and emotional challenge in the spirit of a “rite of passage” to leave behind the negative and embrace the positive.
- The Village experience is coordinated with their academic schedule to insure no loss of credits or seat time.
- The context of the Village requires focus and concentration that limits all contact and communication with the outside world or the main campus. However, minutes away are school staff for medical or other support needs.
- The intriguing context, the intellectual and mystical nature of ideas, the isolation, the challenge, and the intimate opportunity to build peer relationships without the interruptions of schedules and busyness creates their investment in the Village experience.
- Generally, no more than 15 girls are in the Village at one time.
- Reliable and vested students who have Village experience often act as mentors and advisors but are not part of the group. This benefits the experienced girls as well as the group attendees.
- Progress and observations of each girl are subsequently reported to her therapist for follow up. Often, therapeutic breakthroughs are accomplished in the Village that enhance therapists’ one on one work with each girl.
- Generally, upon completing the Village and returning to the school, the girls are greeted by a welcome ceremony attended by the entire student body.
“Plain and simple, Greenbrier gave us our daughter back.”