Cumberland Heights Youth Program provides unique programming separate from the adult population specifically designed to meet the needs of adolescents struggling with substance abuse. The designated staff working with this population are highly trained professionals that understand that the development needs of these teens. The program provides a safe community for these teens to become sober and to work through the underlying issues that has contributed to their self-medicating and addictive behaviors. The families of these teens are also provided with programming specific to the issues related to teen addiction and given support throughout the treatment process.

Cumberland Heights Youth Program offers a continuum of services for adolescent males age 14-18. The first 30 days consist of primary substance abuse treatment heavy focused on assessment, addiction education for the teen and family and learning and practicing the principles of the 12-Step philosophy. It is not uncommon for a teen to need additional treatment beyond the initial 30 days, so many transitions to our extended care program which will provide the opportunity for 30-90 day extension as determined by the treatment team and family.

Each teen is given a multi-dimensional assessment and a treatment plan tailored to meet his needs. Interventions will be geared to meet the adolescent where they are at in their development. The peer driven community milieu is designed to compliment the teens developmental needs, including the need to belong, acceptance from others and frequent acknowledgement of treatment milestones through our stage system. Experiential interventions are frequently utilized, taking advantage of our 177 acre property.

Program Specifics

Our treatment model consists of a multi-faceted approach, understanding that connecting and relating to the male adolescent can be a challenge, but essential for positive outcomes.


Comprehensive Assessment


A detailed clinical interview is conducted to assess all areas of functioning with the teen, parents/guardians, and referring professional (therapist, educational consultant, psychiatrist). This information is utilized to develop a treatment plan used to guide the course of treatment.


Psychiatric Evaluation


Each teen participates in a psychiatric evaluation to manage mental health issues that frequently accompanies substance abuse. The onsite medical department manages any prescribed Psychotropic medication regimen.


Twelve Steps


The primary intervention utilized in the youth program is the Twelve Step model. The teen is educated on the 12 Steps and will be expected to actively participate. Participation includes attending on and offsite meetings a few times a week, obtaining a temporary sponsor and practice utilizing the sponsor, Big Book study groups and working through steps 1-3 is expected. Teen’s extending will work on steps 4 and 5 as time permits.


Individual Therapy


Each teen will participate in regular individual counseling with staff specializing in treating adolescent issues. Substance abuse and addictive behavior will be addressed. In addition, underlying issues will be addressed, including depressive symptoms, anxiety symptoms, trauma, grief, co-dependency on others, relationships with others, any issue that compliment the self-medicating behavior will be given attention.


Group Therapy


Daily group therapy is provided. The focuses of these sessions are related to issues that all of the substance using teens can relate to. The therapeutic environment provides an opportunity for the teen’s to explore sensitive subjects, support each other, to heal from struggles shared by their peers, all under the guidance of an experienced and professional counselor.


Community and Milieu


The group of adolescents form the Community of peers in which they will be supported by and held accountable to. The treatment milieu provides the structure in which services are delivered. The focus is on role-modeling appropriate behavior, learning productive relationship skills, and nurturing independence while also learning to work as a team. Incentives are provided to reinforce productive participation.


Family Therapy and Involvement


The youth program offers several opportunities for families to get involved in the treatment process. Weekly therapy sessions, either in person or by phone, aid in identifying and working through issues within the family system. Weekly Sunday visitation is offered with the first eligible visit occurring 5 or more days after admission date. Weekly phone calls home are made by the teen, and regular letter writing is encouraged for both.


Family Program


Substance use and addiction impact the entire family system. The family program is a four day intensive that focuses on education, support and healing for the members of the family that have been negatively impacted by their child/sibling abusing substances. Each day builds upon the one prior. The family program addresses addiction education, family dynamics, connection, communication, hope and healing. The adolescent family program also takes into account normal adolescent development and the impact of substances used on this process. We work with family to assist them in understanding and providing tools to effectively support their teen’s recovery. Additionally, this program links families with external resources to support their own recovery and healing process as well as family aftercare participants and youth alumni who share their own stores of strength and hope.


Academics and River Road Academy


River Road Academy is a state licensed private high school which meets the unique needs of students pursuing recovery from substances. Each student follows the curriculum of their local school district standards in all core and elective areas. River Road Academy will either partner with the students school and proctor course work or enroll as a traditional student at RRA. River Road Academy provides credit, credit recovery, EOC prep, and GED prep. In addition, our licensed teacher works closely with families to provide guidance when transitioning back into an academic setting.


Experiential Therapy/Ropes Course


Experiential/Adventure therapy is ideal for the adolescent male population; keeping them both physically active and mentally engaged. Our ropes course is designed to extract, through metaphor, various concepts of the 12 Steps including powerlessness, spirituality, and team work. In addition, adventure therapy helps teens that may find traditional talk therapy difficult.


Equine Therapy


Equine assisted psychotherapy (EAP) and Equine Assisted Learning (EAL) is a collaboration between a therapist and an equine specialist who work together to address treatment plan goals. This is an experiential process that incorporates horses for emotional growth and learning. Horses respond and interact with human emotions often mirroring patterns in a teen’s life and allowing them to increase awareness and work through these feelings and patterns in a non-traditional way. Equine assisted psychotherapy works to increase insight, identify individual patterns and build emotional intelligence. Equine assisted learning is most often used in the group setting to address necessary skills to support self-awareness and recovery such as communication, team work, trust and problem solving. Equine is effective with various issues including depression, anxiety, trauma and attention deficit disorders. As with all experiential work processing begins in the arena but continues through a patient’s stay as they continue to address barriers to their recovery.


Sand Tray Therapy


Sand tray provides a vehicle for some adolescents who may struggle to express themselves in traditional talk therapy to translate personal experience into a concrete, three-dimensional form and explore thoughts and feelings through symbolism and metaphor. Sand tray is a modality that therapists utilize based on individualized treatment planning for adolescents struggling with a wide range of co-occurring issues including: trauma, grief, relational problems, and abandonment and identity issues.


Spiritual Growth


Spiritual programming is provided for the teen’s, which includes daily mediation, weekly spirituality groups and weekly chapel services. The teen is provided with the tools to pursue their own spiritual journey. Pastoral care services are provided for those youth struggling with specific spiritually based issues.


Continue Care Planning


It is important to make the transition from inpatient treatment as seamless as possible and still keeping the patients’ needs first. Preparing the patient and their families for aftercare services and discharge planning starts on the first day of treatment. The primary counselor and case manager will be working closely with the patient, family, and referent (if applicable) to formulate the best continue of care plan. (i.e. IOP, individual and/or family therapy, medication management if needed, and NA/AA meetings in your area) Our goal is to meet the patient’s individual needs and continue them on their journey of sobriety.


Referral Involvement


The treatment team will collaborate with referring professional’s or other professionals who have served the teen in the past or who have been identified to provide services post-discharge.


Alumni Participation


Hearing back from our alumni and their families is something we cherish in the Youth Program. We are constantly hearing back from our previous kids on how they are doing with their recovery through emails, phone calls, letters, visits, and donations. We have alumni come back and share their stories with our current community, which helps the teens relate to someone their own age with the same struggles. We have recently created a scrapbook filled with letters and emails from alumni for encouragement to our patients, families, and staff. Here are some memorable quotes: “Hardly a day goes by that I don’t appreciate and remember all that you and your team did for our family”, “Home is where the heart is and mine will forever be at Cumberland Heights”, “This week marked six months of total sobriety for our son and his miraculous journey of recovery”, “Every day I’m sober is a blessing and I plan to keep it that way for my family and especially myself”.