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New Perspectives - Nov, 1999 Issue #63 

Peninsula Village
Larry F. Brown, Ph.D.
Clinical Director
Louisville, TN

“When faced with disturbed and hard to treat adolescents who are often difficult to place, many IECA members have referred these clients to Peninsula Village.”

“The 75-bed Peninsula Village is a residential treatment center for adolescents aged 13-18 years, who typically show some combination of behavioral disturbance, mood disorder, and substance abuse, often in the context of narcissistic or borderline pathology. Our specialty is the extended care of treatment-resistant adolescents, regarded as “out of control” by their families, other professionals, and often, by the courts.”

The three levels of group-oriented treatment are available, including longer term care, the Life Skills Program, and the 30- day program. 

The original Village program, known for its “long term, reconstructive approach to treatment, has six distinct characteristics: * extended care in an attempt to provide lasting change; * intensive, therapeutic group processes; * extensive use of Native American images, stories, and metaphors; * regular family therapy * heavy emphasis on chemical dependency recovery, and * the constant challenge to the patient to surrender pathological narcissism in exchange for a commitment to love and work as an independent, responsible members of society.” “Extended care is necessary for patients to internalize the values, coping skills, and lessons we wish them to gain from treatment. However, not every troubled adolescent needs or has insurance coverage for such intensive, lengthy, and demanding treatment.”

“Consequently, the Life Skills Program was developed as a supportive treatment approach not attempting to rebuild or reconstruct the patient, rather, to stabilize, strengthen, and cause limited behavioral change. Significant progress can be achieved towards these goals over a period of 3 months. The routine chores associated with living in the primitive cabins during the second phase of this program highlight a patient’s problematic behaviors, in a group setting. Rather than examining the “core” issues behind problems, since time spent examining the past tends to regress these patients, the group activities instead emphasize the here and now, confronting painful feelings and conflicts in a constructive way, teaching how to avoid problematic behaviors. This program does not seek to “cure” patients but to improve them so that they can make use of outpatient services. Each patient will leave with a practical aftercare plan utilizing services that are both available to and affordable by the family.”

“We now also offer a 30-day program with far more modest goals, that are obtainable for certain carefully selected adolescents. The primary chief goal is to increase clarity and stability so that, at discharge, the patient will be able to effectively use outpatient treatment. Once stabilized, we can often complete a more thorough diagnostic evaluation than is possible on an outpatient basis, especially with a markedly resistant adolescent or where the underlying problems are obscured by severe substance abuse. Given that our setting allows for both intensity and containment, we are often able to tackle resistances to treatment that are inaccessible on an outpatient basis.”

“Established in 1986, Peninsula Village is located in East Tennessee on the outskirts of Knoxville. The coeducational facility is staffed by clinical psychologists, clinical social workers, child and adolescent psychiatrists, A& D counselors and other certified or licensed treatment and educational specialists. It is a licensed, JCAHO approved, not-for-profit, belonging to the newly formed National Association of Therapeutic Schools and Programs (NATSAP). Commercial insurance plans will typically pay for treatment, though many are private pay, with a few states approving school funding.”

Copyright © 1999, 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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