Written by Gretchen Bartlett, Director of Admissions at New Haven Residential Treatment Center
Relationships and interactions help to define who we are and how we see the world. February often becomes a month where everyone thinks harder about relationships as we encounter all of the hearts and cupids tied to Valentine’s Day. At New Haven Residential Treatment Center we not only focus on interpersonal relationships, but also our relationships with our bodies, our skin color, our neighbors, our style, but most importantly ourselves and our families.
AWAKEN: Relational therapy has always been a cornerstone of our delivery model at New Haven. One of our mottos for healing is, “a thousand moments”. What is the goal of those thousand moments? To awaken a young woman to her own goodness, and to reintroduce her and her family to the innately worthy, valuable, bright, talented and beautiful person that they truly are, but have lost along the treacherous road of life.
HAND IN HAND: William Glasser, a highly renowned psychiatrist, author and theorist, stated: “In practice, the most important need is love and belonging, as closeness and connectedness with the people we care about is a requisite for satisfying all of the needs… Being disconnected is the source of almost all human problems such as what is called mental illness…” (1). Hackney and Comier concur in their position, stating that “Unconditional positive regard was one of the original conditions identified by Rogers (1957) as necessary and sufficient for positive personality change to occur. He defined it as prizing the client as a person with inherent worth and dignity…” (2). At New Haven, we join with these and many other theorists of psychology and sociology, who indicate that the most influential aspect of healing is relational.
SUPPORT OF HER FAMILY: From New Haven’s humble beginnings it has been clear that the most powerful relational work we will do will be centered within families. There are few things more poignant in the life of young women than the relationships that exist within the walls of her own home. By the time a young woman reaches New Haven, these family relationships have often been battered, bruised and/or abandoned. We Heal Families. We heal by imploring mom’s and dad’s, siblings and close relatives. We invite them to explore points of discord and sources of trauma, supporting insight into the genesis of these items and the things that perpetuate them. Next we encourage young women and their families toward integrity and fidelity to new ways of being, that ultimately allow for a healthy, interdependent family experience. The process is not easy, though the payoff so sweet.
So as you think about your relationships it’s important to remember that relationships require energy and work. They require perpetual motion, movement and growth in order to be productive. So as a Valentine’s gift to yourself this month, think about one thing that you really like about yourself and share it with those whose relationship you value most. For more information on relational healing at New Haven Residential Treatment Center click here.
1. The William Glasser Institute (2010). Obtained online at: http://www.wglasser.com/the-glasser-approach/choice-theory
2. Comier, L.S., Hackney, H.L. (2001). The Professional Counselor; A Process Guide to Helping. Allyn & Bacon. Fourth Edition, p.48