Using Relational Therapy at Equinox
Longstanding research on therapeutic effectiveness and outcomes has repeatedly identified the relationship between client and caregiver to be the most highly contributing factor to therapeutic success. This is no different for trauma treatment—in fact, research on the treatment of trauma suggests that relationship therapy, in general, outweighs all other factors when it comes to trauma recovery.
Unfortunately, very little research has isolated the specific elements a relationship needs to exhibit in order to be a healing agent for trauma. While this may be the case, at our treatment center for boys we feel we can speak confidently to the key relational elements that facilitate healing with different types of relationship therapy.
What is Relational Trauma & Therapy?
Relational Trauma is defined as a disruption in a child’s sense of safety and well-being due to inconsistent relationships, which leads to grief, loss, and attachment issues. This can manifest in a child as anxiety, depression, substance use and abuse, poor self-esteem, poor social skills, etc. Cutting-edge neuroscientific research has identified regulation as the key element found in healthy, healing relationships and countering the effects of Relational Trauma. When the brain is regulated, our rational side is in charge, but when dysregulated we tend to display poor emotional boundaries, high levels of emotional reactivity, and are unable to attune to our own needs – let alone the needs of others. Through Equinox’s relationship-based therapy model, we generate change through the development of trusting relationships, clinical, and academic treatment.
How We Address Relational Trauma
Despite the Relational Trauma a student has experienced, they still have a base desire to relationally connect with others. At Equinox, we help our students and families learn to regulate their emotions through the modalities of mindfulness, relationship therapy, equine-assisted psychotherapy, adventure therapies, and art-based therapies. We emphasize this teaching by training every member of our staff on how to self-regulate, and how to help a teenager develop his own self-regulation skills. We offer students clinical and academic treatment which is supported by weekly experiential therapy activities. Clinically, we implement evidence-based treatment modalities such as EMDR, TF-CBT, Brain spotting, and Neurofeedback in our effort to bring hope and healing to our clients.
How We Prepare Our Students for Relationships After Equinox
At Equinox it is important to us that your son’s healing work is not simply limited to the time he spends at our program. He is engaged in life-changing therapeutic work every minute of his day as he engages in relationships with each and every person in the program, a skill that we ingrained in our students to persevere well after graduating from Equinox. It is not only the student that needs to recognize and make this change for the better, but anyone they have a strong relationship with, such as parents. Outcomes have shown that family engagement significantly impacts the trajectory of young men. Equinox works hard to integrate positive, engaging family experiences into the healing journey and set our students up for the meaningful relationships they deserve.