Our Therapeutic Approach

Green Chimneys’ approach focuses on an awareness of how trauma impacts human and animal lives, that a healing setting can benefit both, and that there is a broader parallel between human, animal, environmental and societal well-being.

Animals and plants are incorporated into many settings, including Green Chimneys School, student residences, campus offices and Putnam County youth program locations. Aviaries, mini-gardens, goldfish ponds, classroom fish tanks, photos of nature and animals on the walls, and an innovative program that permits staff to bring carefully screened personal dogs to work reinforce the Green Chimneys connection to plants, animals and the outdoors and incorporation of the natural world into services and environments.

Green Chimneys’ Farm & Wildlife Center primarily serves Green Chimneys School and the Residential Treatment Center with nature-based activities that are also infused into programs across the organization, including summer camp, nursery school/day care, and community-based programs.

Pairing Animal and Child

Most children come to the Farm & Wildlife Center in their first days with their social worker, class or dorm staff. They soon “pick out” a favorite animal quite naturally, and the child is given opportunities to work with that animal and form a bond. But all the animals are shared by everyone and they are all to be taken care of; the child’s desire to care for “their” animal dictates that they learn about that animal from others.

The trust and friendship established because of the animal’s needs and the child’s desire to nurture them are often the basis for therapeutic treatment; the animal acts as a bridge from the child to the staff working to help him/her become successful.