Mountain Valley is a holistic, milieu-based treatment program built on a foundation of exposure and response prevention therapy, or ERP-considered the gold-standard of anxiety treatment. Employing a milieu-based approach ensures that ERP skills and insights find their way out of psychotherapy sessions and into real life situations. When ERP is skillfully employed by clinicians and then practiced as part of an interdisciplinary, milieu-based approach, the resulting growth is both durable and transferable. As a result, our graduates report continued growth for months and even years after leaving Mountain Valley. Perhaps most importantly, our highly experiential approach to ERP teaches residents how to apply it themselves so that they leave Mountain Valley with the skills necessary to engage future challenges not as threats to be avoided, but as challenges to be engaged. Our goal is to set our residents on a lifelong course of self-directed healing and growth.
On this ERP foundation, we have built a program that includes highly intentional experiences of academics, recreation, community life, and family interaction. These experiences are structured into an approximately 90-day program consisting of three thirty-day phases. Each phase consists of specific therapeutic processes, goals, skills, and benchmarks designed to help residents, and their treatment team, encourage and measure specific progress toward the larger goal of successfully engaging life after Mountain Valley. The phase system at Mountain Valley is based on evidenced-based psychotherapeutic occupational therapy approaches as well as narrative psychology. Both are highly compatible with our core modality of ERP.
Our approach to anxiety treatment is designed to do much more than relieve symptoms, it transforms our residents’ lives by turning their relationship with anxiety on its head. By teaching young people how to be “unafraid of fear,” they can trade trade fear-based habits of avoidance for new habits of courageous engagement. Anxiety becomes less of an enemy and more of an ally–a valuable emotion that can inform a lifetime of growth.
Finally, in order to sustain progress made during treatment, it is critical that parents are equipped to understand and support that growth in the context of the family system. To that end, Mountain Valley offers regular family therapy sessions during treatment, as well as a robust parent support program both during and after treatment. The latter takes the form of virtual psychoeducational sessions on anxiety, parenting, SPACE* treatment, and self-care as well as facilitated peer-support groups led by Dr. Lisa Rosen. To date, active members of our highly popular parent-support program number in the hundreds.
*SPACE stands for Support Parenting for Anxious Childhood Emotions