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New Perspectives - Dec, 1997 Issue #49

A Division of the Brown Schools of Central Texas
Austin, Texas
Jane Ellen Rhodes, National Manager
Call Center 800-848-9090

Hill Country Place is a therapeutic community living program for adolescents ages 14-17. It was designed to be more psychiatrically intense than a therapeutic boarding school, but less clinically intense than a residential treatment center. “Students may enter Hill Country initially, step up from a therapeutic boarding school, step down from a residential treatment program or use it as an extended therapeutic component after a wilderness program.” 

It accepts a maximum of 18 students. “The philosophy of the program is based on the principles of a positive peer culture. Students are taught to assume responsibility for helping to solve problems. It does not seek to impose rules but to teach values instead. The staff of Hill Country Place provide guidance and support to the students in this process. As the peer group evolves, students are expected to take responsibility for holding others accountable and taking leadership in the group process.” 

“The school at Hill Country Place is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. The educators are able to adjust the curriculum to meet the needs of the individual student. An integrated curriculum approach is utilized to incorporate specific credits that lead to high school graduation. The educational staff believe the most effective way to teach a student is through experiential instruction that matches the specific learning style of the student. By catering to each student’s learning style, the staff is able to assist the student with the learning process in an effective and rewarding environment. The learning styles are addressed through conscious efforts in curriculum development and innovative teaching techniques.”

“Group counseling is a primary method of assisting the students with their difficulties. It is a required component of the program. Group counseling is provided three times per week for a total of three hours.” 

“Family involvement is an important element of the program. Parents or guardians are required to attend a scheduled visit to the program twice during the year..... Weekly telephone sessions occur between the family and the therapist. Periodic telephone contact between the students and their families is encouraged.”

The program was purposely situated in a rural environment that was still close to the opportunities available in the Austin metropolitan area. 

Copyright © 1997, Woodbury Reports, Inc. (This article may be reproduced without prior approval if the copyright notice and proper publication and author attribution accompanies the copy.)

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