Multi-faceted Clinical Services at Green Chimneys

An integrated program of counseling, psychotherapy, and animal-assisted/nature-based activities supports the individual needs of each and every resident. Family work is also an integral part of a child’s success, and families are supported in the growth and development of their relationship with the child.

Psychiatric & Medical Services

Each child in the Residential Treatment Center is assigned an individual psychiatrist who becomes a vital member of that child’s treatment team. The primary functions of the psychiatrist are to monitor and regulate a child’s psychotropic medications and to educate staff and families regarding the types of medications, target symptoms and any possible side effects. The goal of youth mental health treatment is to stabilize a child’s mood and behavior, enabling them to benefit from academic instruction. Our psychiatrists look to reduce medication use whenever possible, particularly as a child prepares for discharge.

Social Work & Therapeutic Support

Upon admission, each child is assigned a therapist, who may be a licensed Social Worker, Mental Health Counselor, Psychologist, or Graduate- or Ph.D.-level Intern. Therapists meet with each child for weekly individual counseling and psychotherapy sessions and also work with direct care staff in weekly living unit group sessions. Specialized small groups in areas such as soft skills, grief & loss, sensory integration, sex education, and children who are freed for adoption also may be offered.

Sessions are individualized to each child using a number of different therapeutic modalities, including, but not limited to, Dialectical Behavior Therapy, Cognitive Behavior Therapy, animal-assisted therapy and play therapy. All therapists practice within a family systems and trauma-informed framework. In addition, therapists may coordinate classroom psycho-education groups on social skills and other topics.

Nature-Based & Animal-Assisted Therapy

An enriched treatment milieu that brings people together with animals and plants in a mutually beneficial relationship lays at the foundation of the Green Chimneys approach. Nature-based programs at Green Chimneys support the school and residences, as well as clinical approaches and the overall therapeutic process. Our entire team of farm and clinical staff is part of the treatment process, and the nature-based activities provided each day are a cornerstone of a child’s experience with us.

Animal Assisted Therapy (AAT) can be applied with an individual child, families and groups in many different forms, from working with animals at the farm and horse barn to the use of employees’ personal dogs. AAT helps improve trust, communication, confidence, boundaries, impulse control, management of emotions, focus and attention, relationship-building, empathy, mastery and self-control. Clinical benefits of Animal-Assisted Activities/Therapy

All animal activities are conducted by a licensed and/or credentialed health provider such as an occupational therapist, physical therapist, social worker, or mental health professional. Animals are handled by the professional who have incorporated animals as part of their specialty or by another staff member under their supervision.

How does Nature-Based or Animal-Assisted Therapy take place?

  • Social workers and other treatment staff bring a child to the farm or gardens during formal treatment session
  • Goal-based occupational and speech therapy with farm animals or in horticulture areas
  • Through equine-facilitated psychotherapy and hippotherapy
  • Inclusion of individual certified therapy dogs in occupational therapy and social work

Family Therapy & Support

Counseling and Psychotherapy Support for the Entire Family

Family work is an integral part of a child’s success at Green Chimneys. Therapists arrange family sessions twice monthly, offering daytime, evening, and some weekend hours. Parents and guardians can access resources and support through monthly psycho-education groups and trainings. Additional education and support opportunities include monthly parent training opportunities, an annual parent retreat, and networking with the Green Chimneys Parent Association (GCPA).

Monthly sibling groups are offered on campus during Parent Training Sundays at the same time as parent groups. Sibling groups can range from psycho-education activities to animal activities, process groups, and support groups covering a variety of topics. All siblings, ages 6 and up, of residents are welcome.