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New Perspectives - Nov, 2000 Issue #75 

Vista Adolescent Treatment Center
Magna, Utah
Ryan Pepper

Vista is a licensed residential treatment center dedicated to the healing of male and female adolescents between 13-17 years of age who either suffer from depression, are victims of abuse or neglect, have substance abuse or dependency, personality disorders, eating disorders, school failures, grief from death or abandonment, or have difficulty with family relationships. Vista Adolescent Treatment Center could best be described as a "Cost Contained Alternate Care Program" used in lieu of acute care services for the adolescent needing extended services at an affordable cost. They offer a quality, cost effective, safe, and home-like environment.

The staff at Vista does not limit themselves to official work hours and they interact individually with the adolescents to create a "save, caring, and individualized" experience. Vista has on staff, board certified psychiatrists, clinical psychologists, licensed clinical social workers, master's level social workers, master's level professional counselors, licensed addiction counselors, certified teachers, licensed recreational therapists, a medical director, nursing staff, and administrative support personnel. Vista also uses interns and volunteers who are directly supervised by licensed professionals.

The Vista treatment approach is uniquely designed to resemble a family model, incorporating school, recreation, and leisure time activities into daily living, based on the philosophy that "the treatment process should be one that closely reflects "real life" settings and situations." Each resident has an individualized treatment plan established by the treatment team, involving professionals from all disciplines, and implemented by the assigned staff. Their use of a cognitive behavioral goal-directed level system is designed to encourage the development of pro- social behaviors in the family and community. They also teach accountability through "natural consequences" rather than shame- based models, if a resident violated any of the rules.

Adolescents engage in at least one individual therapy session per week, but it is not uncommon for the therapist to spend 30 minutes to an hour in personal contact each day with the residents. There is a required daily group therapy session tailored for each adolescent's specific needs. Family therapy is a component that is considered to be vital to the success of the adolescents' treatment. Vista requires that the family or support system commits to bi-weekly family therapy sessions and quarterly parenting seminars to help them cope with the difficulties they previously encountered and to help prepare them for any future difficulties.

Residents at Vista are required to participate in a full curriculum of course work through Vista Private School, which is located on the campus. Vista Private School is an accredited educational institution through the Northwest Association of Schools and Colleges and the Utah State Board of Education. They offer course work in all core curriculum areas, as well as a variety of other elective courses. Each student's academic level is determined by performance on required exams. All grades and credits are transferable to any school in the country.

Vista's Chemical Dependency Program emphasizes overall wellness, using a twelve-step model to establish and maintain abstinence, which is combined with a structured clinical program. Additionally, educational groups specifically targeting self- esteem, relationship issues, self-care, stress management, relapse and social skills provide residents with an opportunity to maximize overall functioning and wellness.

Adolescents at Vista participate in recreational therapeutic activities on a daily basis. These activities include comprehensive programs designed to increase social skills, cardiovascular fitness, fine motor skills and improved awareness of personal fitness needs. Residents and their families also participate in "experimental activities" that provide the opportunity to experience and process meaningful feelings, and integrate positive changes in their lives.

Throughout their stay, the residents work with their therapist to develop an appropriate and realistic aftercare plan that is reviewed by staff and presented to peers prior to discharge. The resident and therapist then present the aftercare plan to the parents, promoting an open line of communication. Vista works with aftercare providers and shares information for the purpose of providing structured treatment and monitoring services. When an aftercare provider is not available, Vista sets up monitoring services twice a month in telephone sessions for a period of six months.

Copyright 2000, 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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