The Northwest Passage III program is an intensive residential program for adolescent females ages 12-17. The program provides an intensive, small group (4-6 girls) therapeutic and skill-building experience. Residents learn to support other members within the group, tap personal strengths, and develop self-discipline. The challenges within the adventure education program teach cooperation, self-control, and the fundamental need for following rules and limits. A primary objective of this program is to provide a treatment community that reopens the possibility of renewed self-respect.
The program is located within the Northwest Passage Child and Adolescent Center but has separate living, educational, and recreational areas within the facility. Northwest Passage III utilizes many regional resources such as wooded areas for hiking, cross-country skiing, and camping, as well as the rivers and lakes for swimming and canoeing.
Within our multifaceted treatment approach, clients of the Passage III program receive a psychiatric evaluation and ongoing psychiatric services and consultation throughout their stay. These services, including use of psychotropic medications when appropriate, are fully integrated with the treatment approaches used throughout the program in individual therapy, group therapy, and the milieu as a whole.
While each of our clients is unique, we strive to promote these core goals with all of them:
- Establish emotional and behavioral stability
- Increase self-esteem
- Promote positive relationship skills and boundaries
- Develop healthy coping skills
Therefore, Northwest Passage III incorporates service-learning programming to assist clients with productive and rewarding community involvement with the aim of broadening the relationship-skill-building to include communities. We partner with organizations in surrounding communities to engage our clients in rewarding service-learning projects.
Integration of Dialectical Behavioral Therapy…
Northwest Passage III engages programming specific to the needs of our clients. Although our female clients are often referred because of behaviors that have been concerning to those who love them and problematic in their lives overall, most often it is their emotions that lie at the root of their difficulties. Often, our clients are those who have experienced extreme emotions and who often attempt to avoid distress by engaging in harmful behaviors (drug use, elopements, promiscuity, self harm, etc.). Therefore, we have integrated Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, or DBT, into our programming. This type of therapy differs from other methods because it focuses on emotions rather than thoughts.
DBT teaches people to look at areas of conflict in their lives and resolve them differently than they typically have in the past. Ultimately, this will help them discontinue those harmful behaviors.
DBT focuses on the here and now, rather than what may have occurred in the past and includes instruction in areas such as:
- Emotional regulation -learning to change emotions and promote stable emotions
- Distress tolerance -learning how to put up with emotions that hurt but can’t be changed
- Interpersonal skills -learning how to appropriately interact with people to successfully get what you want
- Mindfulness skills -learning to be in the moment rather than always in your thoughts
- Meaning-making skills -identifying what is really important to you so that your behavior and plans are always tied to your values
DBT typically includes one individual therapy session and one group therapy session per week. Both sessions focus on instruction of the necessary skills. Clients are also asked to complete homework assignments between sessions to help them maintain focus on the skills they are learning.
Relationships and skills for relating to others are critical to the stability and success of our female clients. Oftentimes, teenage girls can find greater stability in their lives if they can find healthy and successful ways to relate to others. A central focus to our programming involves group work aimed at promoting healthy relationships and relational skills. Groups involving anger management and peer relationships provide consistent opportunities for our clients to gain skills in these areas. In addition, we help our clients focus on an array of healthy daily living choices through healthy living group topics such as nutrition, exercise, relationships and sex education as well as providing chemical health groups and group programming aimed at daily living skills and resilience.
Healthy Bodies, Healthy Minds…
Few can argue the relationship between self-esteem and an active, healthy lifestyle. Key components of the Northwest Passage III program are physical training and activities designed to promote healthy living while also providing our clients with an opportunity to experience a healthy outlet for their energies. We weave physical training, weight lifting, and outdoor adventure skills training into the programming. These activities not only provide opportunities for our clients to engage in a more active lifestyle, but they also provide very natural opportunities for pro-social interactions and the development of team-building skills.
While in our program, clients are consistently engaged in a schedule that keeps them active and focused within a therapeutic living environment. This ensures that our clients have more opportunities to integrate their progress into their daily lives in a sustainable way.
The daily schedule includes time for educational instruction and physical training as well as groups and individual therapy. Weekends provide relaxing activities but remain structured and supervised with staff planning activities that are creative and fun, yet therapeutic.
Check out the girls photo blog:
Northwest Passage accepts referrals from parents, social service personnel, community service providers (therapists, psychiatrists), and independent educational consultants.