Individual therapy sessions are conducted by the primary counselor at least once a week. Additional therapy sessions may be added depending on the needs of the resident. The counselors at Otter Creek Academy use a variety of therapeutic approaches/techniques, including but not limited to; Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Reality Therapy and Client-Centered Therapy.
Otter Creek Academy offers a wide range of group therapy sessions. Some of the common group therapy topics are:
- Anger Management
- Bullying/Peer Pressure
- Body Image
- Healthy Relationships
- Substance Abuse
- Life Skills
In addition, residents have the opportunity to take Independent Living Classes while at Otter Creek Academy, if this is deemed appropriate by their social worker.
Family therapy is conducted as needed on a case by case basis. It can be conducted in person or on the phone. These sessions provide the opportunity for families to work through sensitive issues together and to support each other.
Behavioral treatment is provided continuously throughout the day by line staff, who are highly trained and closely monitored. The use of a phase/level system helps give residents an idea of what is expected from them therapeutically as they progress through the program. It also creates clear guidelines regarding behavior and can be used as a tool in behavior modification. Positive reinforcement is utilized for appropriate behaviors by increasing the privilege level, promoting the resident to a higher phase, and providing positive verbal feedback. If a resident continuously displays negative behaviors, then that resident may not be permitted to advance to the next phase, or may be dropped a level. In addition, behavioral consequences such as write-offs or loss of privilege are utilized to provide immediate consequences for a negative behavior.
The line staff are also responsible for skills development in helping residents learn social and life skills. Some of the skills that are actively taught and reinforced are: following instructions and rules, accepting decisions of others, accepting feedback, disagreeing appropriately, peer relations, expressing feelings, recognizing and reducing thinking errors, rational problem solving, accepting responsibility for behavior, positive and effective communication, empathy for others, appropriate boundaries, and so on.