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Adolescence Mental Health Recovery School Treatment

The Benefits of Blending School and Treatment

There is tremendous value in blending school and treatment. Many clients come to us

(Photo credit: theirhistory)

having fallen off-track in their education as a result of substance abuse and mental health issues. There may also be undiagnosed learning disabilities that need to be addressed. Falling grades and school pressure can create another layer of stress and panic for a teen. When an adolescent comes to treatment, it is our responsibility to provide them with both treatment and educational support that fosters an environment of safety and encouragement around learning and healing. At the same time, providing school and treatment simultaneously allows us to notice where an adolescent needs extra support so we can provide that client with adequate educational and clinical support.

 

I looked to Daniel Dewey, our Residential Director of Education, and Joseph Rogers, our Educational Coordinator at our Outpatient Day School for some insight and perspective, particularly since they each see both sides of the education/treatment pendulum. Daniel sees our clients from their initial point of treatment, while Joseph spends time with our clients during their aftercare process. Both of them promote and create foundational pieces to add to the bedrock of an adolescent’s recovery; they invite curiosity about learning, provide support during times of difficulty, and provide individualized methods of teaching to facilitate and nurture a healthy outlook on education.

 

Daniel gave me some wonderful insight when he said, “School is important for treatment success; when a resident can stay on track (or in many cases gets back on track) they will have a stronger foundation for their aftercare. School can be a big stressor, so if school can work with treatment, we feel residents will be better equipped to leave Visions and follow their academic path. Additionally, doing well in school tends to be a source of self-esteem for adolescents.  We want our clients to feel good about learning. Many of our clients come into treatment hopeless. It is our goal to help them see the intrinsic value in education and to guide them toward a meaningful life.”

 

Joseph gave us similar insights, which also help identify the continuum that occurs with school and treatment. He said,  “The practical piece of joining treatment and education is having the benefit of rolling enrollment – clients can enroll at any time, increasing their opportunities of getting back on track. Additionally, students may not be emotionally able or prepared to go back into a normalized educational setting. Having them in a setting that is therapeutically structured for their safety gives them the chance to practice their new behaviors before they go back to their regular school, and because we have clinicians on staff, we can react to and notice a change in behavior quickly and effectively.”

 

We understand the importance of creating a therapeutically alive and nourishing environment for our clients and their families. Placing school in the treatment arena allows us to support our clients at optimum levels, and it provides a multi-level aspect to the healing process. Blending school and treatment from the residential and outpatient perspective is a necessary stone in the path to wellness. It is beneficial to the adolescent, building confidence and self-esteem, and it is advantageous for parents to see their children simultaneously succeed in their education and in their substance abuse and mental health treatment.

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Anniversary Blogs Service Treatment

Daniel Dewey – Teacher/Residential Director of Education

Daniel Dewey has been with us from the very beginning, nurturing Visions during the early days of its burgeoning development and creating a safe space for learning and academic achievement within our residential facilities. Daniel works to create academic stability for incoming clients, whose education has fallen to the wayside. Setting up educational plans and creating that type of stability works to not only create confidence in the parents, but in the students as well. There is an element of kindness that permeates everything Daniel does, whether it’s working with students, talking to the staff, or being a parent to his son. He’s an inspiration to all who cross his path. We’re lucky to have him with us. Happy 10 years, Daniel. Thank you for everything you do!

Our staff weren’t shy in their expressions of appreciation either:

“Calm, caring gentle presence.” – Heather Colligan

“Daniel is without a doubt one of the most unflappable people I’ve ever met.  His kindness is a constant that clearly is the cloth from which he is woven.  I’ve never met a former student of Daniel’s who hasn’t spoken of him with respect and great fondness.  Visions is fortunate to have such a caring and warm educator. I also hear he’s a wicked dancer.” – Joseph Rogers

“What can I say, other than that Daniel really is the heart of Visions.  He’s an institution around here.  He’s been here forever, but even after all this time there is never a day that he doesn’t give his all for the kids.  Daniel is one of these guys you can’t not like.  He is one of best people to work with, nay, best people to know. He is a model of genuine compassion and good works.   I have been incredibly blessed to have him as a mentor and a friend.    Just, please, don’t ask him to dance, for all of our sake.” – Troy Matthews

“Daniel has been with us before we even had clients…or the hope of clients! 🙂 Over the years, he has been one of the vertebrae of Visions.  His quiet strength and patience has helped us grow and change and change again into the program that we are today.  We are most thankful for his ability to teach kids that thought they were “unteachable.”  We can’t tell you how many times we have heard that Daniel was the first teacher that ever “got” them to learn and inspired them to not only finish high school, but to go to college.  When we call parents to check in, Daniel’s name is usually followed by glowing reports of professionalism, kindness and knowledge.  We have often come into the facility and gone directly to Daniel to figure out exactly where the clients are emotionally.   Although he is not a clinician, he always has his finger on the pulse of what is going on with them. We can’t imagine what the past 10 years at Visions would have been like without Daniel Dewey.”  – Amanda and Chris Shumow

Without further adieu, let’s see what Daniel had to say when we asked him a few curious questions:

1. Favorite genre of music?

Classic Rock if I had to narrow it down. I love most all genres of music except modern country and Dubstep.

2. Chalk or dry-erase?

I’m Old School in many ways, but I appreciate the convenience of dry-erase.

3. Favorite poet?

Bukowski.

4. If you could invent something, what would it be?

A time machine so I could visit exotic times and places throughout history..

5. What inspires you to teach?

Sounds corny, but it’s the kids and the hope that they’ll change their lives and make this world a livable place when they get older.

6. Favorite thing about Los Angeles?

Central to the mountains and the beach and a great culinary selection.

7. Webster’s, Random House, or Oxford?

Oxford.

8. What did you want to be when you grew up?

A professional athlete; probably a quarterback or a pitcher.

9. How does your son inspire you?

He inspires me to give him a better life than I had and he keeps me out of trouble (most of the time).

10. Why do you choose to work for Visions?

It’s my addictive personality. Visions gives me the opportunity to work in a small group setting so I feel like I have some impact on the kids. The people here are cool too.