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Schools & Program Visits - Aug, 1997 Issue #47

Female Residential Treatment Center

Provo, Utah
Scott Davis, Director of Marketing
Lon’s Visit: July 9, 1997 

“Because they really care” answered the girls. I had asked them what was special about the program after they had told me they liked being there. They were talking about the staff, and in the behavior I saw, I can see why. Not only does the program have a ratio of more than two staff for every student, but dorms, offices and classrooms are all mixed together in the same building. This facilitates spontaneous interactions, and I saw many hugs following short conversations throughout the time I was in their main building. 

New Haven was created two years ago by Mark McGregor, MS, MFT, Kathy McGregor, MPA, Administrator, Craig LaMont, MS, MFT, and Diane LaMont, RN. The two couples developed the program to provide an intense, short term clinical experience in a home type setting for no more than 12 girls at a time, ages 13 to 17. The average time the girls are in residence is three months, with some girls finishing early, and a few others taking almost six months to finish. 

The owners assert they obtain faster results than typical treatment programs for several reasons, key reasons being female only and the very high staff to student ratios. Other reasons they point to that bring about faster results is all therapy is provided by therapists trained at the masters level, or above; each student is guaranteed a minimum of 23 hours of face to face therapy weekly (at least 45 hours total supervised therapy each week); they keep budgetary considerations secondary to therapeutic necessity; the program is owned and operated by on-site therapists; it is limited to a maximum of 12 students at one time; there is required weekly family therapy and parents also have treatment goals to parallel the work being done by their daughters; and families are invited to family weekends for one year after discharge and the staff aggressively coordinate with out-patient therapists. With all these elements, the girls’ negativity is overwhelmed by positive attention and intervention. 

The program is in a converted ranch house on 9 acres in a rural area outside Provo, Utah, near the mouth of Spanish Fork Canyon. It is a large house, but space is still at a premium and they are currently expanding and remodeling one part of the building to provide more room. The property is part orchard, and when they have achieved the necessary level of trust, the girls get to ride and take care of the horses owned by the program. Other activities include music and/or art lessons, agricultural training, and community involvement. 

The owners have been encouraged to expand their program by a number of professionals and parents, or at least start a another similar program to, in essence, clone themselves. They refuse to consider that possibility at the present time because although they feel their program is succeeding as anticipated (based partly on numerous reports of good success from parents of graduating girls), they feel there is still a lot of work to do to firmly ground the program, and point to the remodeling as an outward sign of things needed to be done before they can rest on their laurels. 

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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