All Kinds of News for October 10, 2018
All students at La Europa Academy present with some type of anxiety disorder diagnosis including Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, Social Anxiety disorder and Generalized Anxiety Disorder. Many of the students also experience intense anxiety sensitivity which makes it difficult for them to tolerate uncomfortable bodily sensations. Because of these issues, all of the clinicians at La Europa Academy received additional extensive training September 17-18, 2018 in the implementation of Exposure Response Prevention (ERP), which is the recommended evidence-based treatment for Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. This training will greatly enhance the clinical team's awareness of students’ anxiety sensitivity and the use of body-oriented expressive therapies.
One 16-year old student, “Mary”, arrived at La Europa with a history of one of the most common manifestations of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder - she couldn’t stop washing her hands. Prior to La Europa, Mary had received intensive Exposure Response Prevention (ERP) treatment. Mary knew all about ERP, could advise her therapist on how to implement ERP and yet, was still compulsively washing her hands! Mary found it difficult to implement the ERP strategies she had learned effectively because of her inability to be present in her body. Mary had intense anxiety sensitivity which created a lack of awareness of many of the ritualized behaviors and safety behaviors (behaviors the person engages in to reduce anxiety when he/she cannot engage in ritualized behavior) in which she was still unconsciously engaging.
The expressive therapies at La Europa combined with an effective implementation of ERP were the right combination for Mary. Mary was able to stop her hand washing and drastically reduce other hand-cleaning behaviors. Throughout her journey at La Europa Academy, Mary participated in dance/movement therapy, trauma sensitive yoga, psychodrama and art therapy to help her connect to herself more deeply, recognize and tolerate the anxiety she was attempting to avoid and push through that anxiety so that hand-washing was no longer necessary.
About La Europa Academy and Mosaic House Transition Program
La Europa Academy is a residential treatment center for girls ages 14 -18 who struggle with emotional dysregulation, anxiety, depression, school refusal, disordered eating and substance use. Our program, located in Murray, UT, uses a combination of Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) and clinical expressive arts to help students learn to manage their emotions effectively. Students at La Europa experience expressive art therapies multiple times per week as well as engaging in creative arts in our fully-accredited high school.
Mosaic House Transition Program provides La Europa students with a step-down experience toward the end of their stay in residential treatment, in order to help transition the student to the next step. Mosaic House is a 15-bed home where students can practice the skills they have learned in a less-structured environment.