FAQs for Parents

Question: How would you describe the program?

Answer: MVTC is a unique, nonprofit, residential treatment program combining evidenced-based Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP) therapy delivered within the context of an experiential wellness curriculum.  Activities focusing on organic gardening/farm-to-table, fitness, mindfulness-based programming, recreational therapy, therapeutic equine experience, and stewardship projects engage residents in ways to develop skills for a better quality of life after Mountain Valley.

Question: Whom does Mountain Valley serve?

Answer:  MVTC treats adolescent and emerging adult males and females, ages 13 to 20, suffering from:

  • General Anxiety Disorder
  • Social Anxiety Disorder
  • Panic Disorder
  • Obsessive-Compulsive/OC Spectrum Disorders
  • School-based and performance anxiety
  • Perfectionism
  • Specific phobias

Question: What makes Mountain Valley different than other anxiety and OCD treatment programs?

Answer: Mountain Valley is unique – and effective – because of our purposeful programming and un-paralleled environment for healing.  Unlike other residential treatment programs that focus solely on anxiety and OCD (and there are very few), Mountain Valley is not an institutional or hospital-like setting.  Our campus is situated on 1800+ acres of conservation land and within an iconic New England countryside as our back drop.  Our clinical programming will match up with the most recognized institutions yet the “fun stuff” is what sets us apart.  The experiential education modules, our caring, competent and professional staff, and our commitment to serving the whole family system truly makes us a special place.

Question: What will my child do on his/her first day at MVTC?

Answer: Our goal during the first day is to assist your child in adjusting to his/her new environment. For some, this is very easy, and for others, is it very challenging. We have found that helping new residents engage in an activity (e.g. art, bike riding, cooking) that they enjoy is helpful. Your child can also expect to participate in group and individual therapy. There will also be time for your child to meet with a residential staff member to get his/her room arranged and to review basic MVTC expectations.  Your child may even have the opportunity to begin designing his/her dinner plate.

Question: How do phone calls work after the initial one?

Answer: After the first phone call – which typically occurs within a week – your child will fall into the regular phone call system.  That is, each evening residents are able to sign up for phone call time occurring in the dormitories.  Due to limited phones and because our model requires a residential counselor to be within “ear shot” of phone calls (unless otherwise directed by the resident’s therapist), calls typically only occur once or twice per week.  Letters and emails to your child’s therapist are welcome.

Question: What if my child won’t talk to me?

Answer: Adjusting to Mountain Valley does take some time. Please know that your child’s therapist is working with him/her to be able to express his/her thoughts, feelings and concerns to you over the phone. In the meantime, sending a supportive card or letter to let your child know that you are thinking of him/her may be helpful.

Question: What if my child asks to come home?

Answer:  It is very likely that your child may ask to come home. This can be due to a variety of reasons: homesickness, an increase in the intensity of therapy, fears related to separation anxiety, a new Mountain Valley friend graduating, feeling overwhelmed, knowing he/she is missing a family trip or event, etc. Whatever the reason, please respond by validating their reasons for wanting to come home, while reminding them that you believe that continuing treatment at Mountain Valley is very important and what is needed right now.  We would also recommend following up with your child’s primary therapist regarding how your child is doing and their request to come home. Talking with the therapist will help you to understand your child’s concerns and also provide support as to how else to respond to your child’s request to come home.

Question: When will I be able to visit my child?

Answer:  Visiting about once a month is typical. Some families, due to distance, may not return to MVTC until their child’s graduation. Coordination of visitation with the primary therapist is essential so that family therapy can occur as part of your visit to campus. Feel free to join us for any meals while you are on campus.

Question:  How is it determined that a resident has completed the treatment program?

Answer:  Each resident has an individualized treatment plan with specific goals based on their presenting issues.  This plan is created in collaboration with the resident, therapist and family.  It is periodically adjusted and updated during the 60 to 90-day stay.  When goals have been completed, and a resident has taken ownership of his/her exposure therapy work, then a discharge date will be identified along with the family and aftercare supports.  “Ownership” of his/her own exposure therapy work simply means that a resident can put him/herself into a fear causing situation (rather than avoid) and manage through it.  The situation/scenario or object may still cause anxiety, but it won’t be debilitating.

Question: What if my child has dietary needs?

Answer:  You will be given the opportunity to discuss your son or daughter’s dietary needs with our nurse. Our chef is also able to accommodate a variety of dietary needs, and will want to talk with you about specific food products and/or brands that you typically use at home.

Question: Can I send a Care Package to my child?

Answer: Yes, but please do not send sugary foods and snacks. Please send items such as, books, magazines, art supplies, new clothing, games and sports equipment.

Question: Who will be my point of contact during my child’s stay?

Answer: The primary therapist will be your primary point of contact during your child’s time at Mountain Valley. The primary therapists are available via phone or email. Prior to leaving on your first day, you will arrange a phone call with your son/daughter’s primary therapist. Typically, this first call is the day following intake.

Question: Whom do I call if I have a question or concern?   

Answer: Ideally, please work with your primary therapist first. The Resident and Family Handbook has a list of administrative staff who are able to address questions and concerns.  You may also contact the Executive Director at any time.

Question:  Do you involve siblings in family therapy?

Answer:  Each resident’s treatment is specific to them and involvement of siblings and the extent of that involvement is determined on a case-by-case basis with the primary therapist, the resident and the parents.

Question: What is the average length of stay?

Answer: 60 to 90 days.

Question: What if my child becomes sick while at MVTC?

Answer: There is a Registered Nurse on campus who oversees, all residents’ health needs. Should your child need to see the doctor, there is a nearby pediatric office, Upper Valley Pediatrics, that sees our residents. Should there be the rare urgent medical need, we would go to Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center or Cottage Hospital. Additionally, if your child needs to see a specialist (e.g. pediatric endocrinologist), he/she would see a practitioner at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center.

Question: How do families afford Mountain Valley?

Answer:  Mountain Valley offers need-based financial assistance, and also has a relationship with SJ Health Insurance Advocates to assist with reimbursement from your insurance company.

Question:  What should my son/daughter bring to Mountain Valley?

Answer:  We have a suggested winter and summer packing lists in the Handbook. If you have additional questions, please contact Jen Fullerton.

Question:  Can prospective families schedule a tour of Mountain Valley?

Answer: Yes, please come and visit! It is best to visit on a weekday.  Tours can be arranged with Jen Fullerton or Tanya Moulton.

Question: Do you have past parents willing to speak with me about their MVTC experiences?

Answer: Yes, there are many past parents, that would be happy to talk with you. Please contact Jen Fullerton, and she can provide contact information for you.

Question:  My child hates the outdoors, what will he/she do at Mountain Valley?

Answer:  We offer a range of activities for our residents. Some your child may enjoy, some will be new, and others will be challenging. Our goal is to help residents prepare for life after Mountain Valley. Gaining the confidence to try something new can be very rewarding.

Question:  Whom do we contact for further information?

Answer: Jen Fullerton, LISCW, at jfullerton@mountainvalleytreatment.org