Individual therapy is a process through which students work with a trained and supervised therapist to explore their emotional experiences, sense of self, behavioral tendencies and reactions, and short-term/long-term goals. Each student is assigned an individual therapist to work with in a one-on-one setting promoting safety and connection. Individual therapy sessions are goal-focused to help students work through challenging experiences and emotions, improve self-awareness and identification of needs, and work toward change and growth. The therapists conduct therapy in a manner to best meet the students’ needs while also meeting the requirements outlined in the student’s IEP. Therapists collaborate with the teaching staff to identify appropriate times to pull students from their academic day for therapeutic services and support.
As the student works toward the goal of self-advocating, therapists are available throughout the day as needed when a student feels he/she requires more resources. Additionally, therapists are accessible during the school hours for risk assessment and crisis management in the building. If a student reports any distressing and/or concerning event, or shares information about the following three issues, staff members report this information to the primary therapist or clinical supervisor immediately:
1. The student intends to harm her/himself.
2. The student intends to harm someone else.
3. The student is being harmed by, or is harming, someone else.
Within Individual therapy, clinicians utilize several approaches depending on the needs and receptiveness of the student including: cognitive-behavioral/ problem-solving approach, psychodynamic, family-systems, narrative principles, among others. Our therapists communicate regularly with parents, guardians, families, and other service providers outside our agency (outpatient therapists, psychiatrists, DCFS caseworkers, probation officers, SASS workers, hospital programs, etc.) for the most beneficial results in therapy.
Under the leadership and supervision of two full-time on site Licensed Clinical Psychologists, a portion of the clinical team is composed of Master’s and Doctoral level graduate students in counseling and clinical psychology. Therapists attend multiple supervision activities weekly to provide guidance for student growth in therapy.