At the northern end of the Shenandoah Valley, about 1.5 hours from the busy DC metro area, Winchester, Virginia provides a real-life backdrop for a select group of emerging adults intent upon engagement in the active process of therapeutic change. Designed to provide an enriched, meaningful and intensive therapeutic experience while simultaneously minimizing negative attitudes often associated with hospital or residential program placements, New Lifestyles quietly and unobtrusively accomplishes this task in the context of a small town, college community, well suited for young adults seeking opportunities for growth and independence with the support and guidance of a clinical staff with specialized training.
Living in homes nestled within the historic section of this city, attending college or community college, and working, volunteering, and engaging in social and recreational activities, participants experience the challenges of everyday life. Within this context of “real-life;” the New Lifestyles student participates in physical, health, wellness, and recreational activities as well as psycho-education groups in a variety of areas including mindfulness, social skills, technology use regulation, interpersonal relationships, life competencies, such as financial skills and grocery shopping, as well as career and work exploration. The structure at New Lifestyles is dynamically modified with various levels of support based on each client’s needs. The progression from the initial assessment and orientation phase of New Lifestyles leads to an emphasis on core skills acquisition, followed by increasing levels of independence in the transition readiness phase, and ultimately, to program completion. Upon graduation, participants are eligible for Reaching Beyond services which foster an even greater level of independence while maintaining essential supports for on-going success.
The New Lifestyles design is unique in two important aspects:
- Clinical concepts and goals are emphasized throughout the milieu, not just during therapy sessions.
- Quantified performance review is utilized in daily feedback, for on going progress review, and for program self-evaluation and development.
The Life Directions Survey©, as well as an individualized treatment plan provide the templates through which general clinical treatment strategies address affect regulation, executive functioning, anxiety management, addiction recovery, and other critical areas customized to each individual throughout the program. Thus, while working as part of a community that overall endorses good mental health hygiene practices, each New Lifestyles client further refines his or her activities in a personally meaningful and relevant manner. Staff interventions are likewise guided by these shifts in direction.
Staff observations are quantified and measured, tabulated, and reviewed by the treatment team. These results provide a basis of objective, personalized, feedback for each client. Methods that emphasize compassionate delivery drive the therapeutic process and create healing moments that increase self-awareness of true potential. With more that 25 years experience collecting and analyzing performance and psychometric data, Kenneth L. Cuave, PsyD, founder and president, ensures that the New Lifestyles approach undergoes a process of continuous quality improvement that benefits each participant and fosters the greatest amount of success in the shortest possible period of time.
The New Lifestyles philosophy has proven beneficial for those with average to above average ability who present with diagnoses to include: mood disorders (depression, bipolar disorder); anxiety disorders (OCD, social phobia, generalized anxiety, PTSD); personality disorders and traits (borderline, narcissistic, dependent, avoidant); learning, attention and executive functioning disorders; and certain types of autism spectrum disorders.