All Kinds of News for May 09, 2018
April marked two years of Pacific Quest being Site Certified in the Neurosequential Model of Therapeutics© (NMT). As Founder and Senior Fellow of the Child Trauma Academy (CTA). Bruce Perry, MD, PhD has expertise in child and adolescent psychiatry, neurodevelopment and traumatology. He is highly respected internationally and has done extensive neurobiological research on the effects of trauma in young people. Dr. Perry led the Pacific Quest team into certification and maintenance of the NMT.
The Neurosequential Model© integrates neurodevelopment, developmental psychology, traumatology, sociology and other disciplines to understand individuals and the family. Pacific Quest uses this model to inform program design and individualize interventions. Initially, the focus of treatment is developing regulatory capacities to support neurodevelopment and to optimize learning. Next, students strengthen relational health and problem solving abilities.
Pacific Quest’s trained clinicians use the NMT assessment process to collect developmental history, assess current functioning and inform clinical decision making. This approach guides treatment through a selection of interventions and program design.
To support brain development, Pacific Quest utilizes a “bottom up” approach following Dr. Perry’s sequence of engagement: “Regulate, Relate and Reason.” This is the process of moving from the bottom of our brain (brainstem) up to the top (cortex). The sequence is very important. When a person is regulated or feeling emotionally and physically settled, they are more able to relate or feel connected. When a person is connected, they are more able to reason and engage in higher level executive functioning, which is critical for problem solving, prediction, perspective taking, etc.
At Pacific Quest, the garden lends itself to many opportunities to regulate. Regulation involves patterned, rhythmic, repetitive activity. Gardening examples includes digging, weeding, breaking apart lava rock to make room for new gardens, building rock walls and clearing land. Regulation also includes daily exercise, expressive therapies such as art, quiet breathing meditations or cooking, chopping and stirring in the kitchen.
Through this regulatory and relationship support, students practice reasoning. Reasoning skills include being a camp leader and having to schedule an entire day and hold peers accountable to camp expectations. Students often create garden projects or legacy projects in which they have to plan, organize and problem-solve, allowing for a natural method to practice executive functioning. Students often process and reason in their therapeutic work as they reflect, come into awareness and work to shift from their old story (negative behavior) into their new story (healthy behavior).
About Pacific Quest
Pacific Quest is an outdoor therapeutic program, located on the Big Island of Hawaii, for struggling adolescents and young adults that offers a clinical, yet holistic, approach to treatment. Our neurodevelopmental approach, combined with horticultural therapy, integrates evidence-based therapeutic methods, whole-person wellness and organic gardening to sustain a healthy community and motivate change. www.pacificquest.org