Alpine Academy Hosts Family Workshop Weekend Focused on Strengthening Sibling Relationships
Alpine Academy hosts Parent Workshop Weekends every quarter. This past workshop was a bit different. Alpine hosted 30 families for their annual Sibling/Parent Workshop Weekend August 6-8.
Day 1 of the workshop began with Parent-Teacher Conferences. Parents and students visited with each of their student’s teachers to discuss their progress. Meetings with Alpine’s School Counselor and Academic Director also took place to review plans for credit recovery, college placement tests, and next steps for students who are nearing a departure. Our Special Education Director was also on-hand to meet with parents who have questions about upcoming IEP meetings with their districts.
Day 2 began with an experiential group activity. Parents, students and siblings participated together in a family-centered experience. Later, students and their siblings split away from their parents and participated in therapeutic activities that were separate from the classes their parents attended. One of the sibling classes was a therapeutic art activity. The class was led by therapists Hailey Cerise and Erik McHenry. The therapists guided students and their siblings as they worked together to explore both individual and family dynamics and to help them learn to process the past and present through artistic expression.
A second sibling activity was presented by therapists Cait Kartchner and Mike Slade. They discussed what it’s like to have a sibling go through treatment and addressed topics that the group members felt were important. It was a valuable open discussion as the group members shared their own experiences as well as learned from others.
While children were in their own classes, parents attended workshops of their own. Several classes were offered, one called, “I don’t think this is working!” and “The Phrase We Love to Hate… Trust the Process”. This class focused on exploring the barriers that make it difficult to trust the therapeutic process while working toward a more manageable way of dealing with the ambivalence that often accompanies the journey.
Another class, presented by therapists Sarah Wright and Chris Horsfall, was titled, “Finding Compassion and Empathy for Your Partner”. It explored Gottman’s Four Horsemen of Criticism, Contempt, Defensiveness, and Stonewalling and how these impact co-parenting and partnering relationships.
Others on the therapy team conducted other parenting classes including skills and techniques in handling tough teenagers and problem situations as well as a parents’ processing group that allowed parents to come together in a safe space to explore their feelings and stories through connection and support. Families were also able to attend their weekly Family Therapy session in person.
One parent shared, “This has been a valuable experience for me, my kids, my spouse, and our entire family. It helped us remember that we are all in this together. It isn’t easy, but it is getting better.”
Day 3, Sunday was individualized for each student and their family. Throughout the conference there was time for staff, parents, students, and entire families to mingle over meals and get to know one another better. It truly did help everyone remember that we may be on separate journeys, but we are all in this together.
About Alpine Academy
Alpine Academy Therapeutic Schools, state-licensed as residential treatment for adolescents, ages 12-18, includes two campuses – one for males and one for females. The 30+ acre, Utah campuses are just three miles apart and are only 30 minutes west of the Salt Lake City International Airport. Both campuses serve students struggling with severe emotional disturbances. Alpine is a fully accredited school with dual-endorsed teachers. Therapy, with master’s level clinicians, is built into the school day. Alpine is a nationally certified Teaching-Family Model treatment program. Students live in homes with married couples who provide a family-like setting and serve as professional house parents. Through a strength-based, trauma-informed, individualized approach, students are taught healthy behaviors in a setting that best replicates family, school, and community life. Contact: Jill McIntyre @ 801-815-4683 or firstname.lastname@example.org.