Treatment Philosophy

The therapeutic philosophy of Sandhill Center emphasizes a clinical approach that is grounded in the Neurosequential Model of Therapeutics (NMT) developed by Bruce Perry, M.D., Ph.D. and The ChildTrauma Academy, as well as a relational based residential treatment model. At the heart of this philosophy is the focus of helping children improve the ability to emotionally regulate.

The Neurosequential Model of Therapeutics (NMT) is a developmentally-informed, biologically-respectful approach to working with children struggling with emotional dysregulation. The NMT is not a specific therapeutic intervention but a way to organize the child’s history and current functioning to optimally inform the therapeutic process.

Children referred to Sandhill are kids who have long standing significant difficulties with regulating their arousal level. They come with many different diagnoses including anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, attachment problems, and some on the autism spectrum. More often than not, we hear from parents that they have tried every kind of out-patient treatment, behavior modification, adjunctive therapy possible, and nothing has worked.

Accordingly, instead of simply focusing on changing behavior, we see the primary focus of treatment as helping the children learn how to regulate their affect and making neurodevelopmental change. Negative behavior, of course, has to be managed, but in a model emphasizing affect regulation, the priority shifts.

Sandhill’s program is focused on providing a therapeutic environment that helps them regulate themselves every day, all day long. The social relationship model of treatment, informed by the Neurosequential Model of Therapeutics, is designed to do this. Instead of utilizing a common behavior modification techniques, we emphasize the importance of genuine relationships to help children. By forming a strong therapeutic web, we focus on providing numerous activities and interventions throughout the child’s day, understanding that multiple repetitive and relational therapeutic experiences will create the change needed.

The family is also a critical component of treatment. Family work at Sandhill goes beyond the traditional family therapy session. Webinars take place approximately every 8 weeks. Family therapy takes place online and in person. Day passes, off campus overnight visits, and home visits are all structured to provide optimal therapeutic benefits.