Trauma Informed Program for Adolescents

Mesilla Valley Hospital - Multisystemic Therapy

Mesilla Valley Hospital – Trauma Informed Program

Trauma that impacts us in an emotionally painful or stunning manner may result in psychological dysfunction. These types of events may shatter our sense of security and make us feel helpless and frightened. This sense of loss of safety and security may result from an unsafe living environment, sexual, physical or verbal abuse, neglect, etc.

While people react to trauma in a wide variety ways, there are some common symptoms of psychological trauma including:

Intrusive Symptoms:

  • Persistent re-experiencing of the event in images, thoughts, recollections, daydreams and nightmares
  • Acting and feeling as if reliving the event
  • Distress in the presence of symbolic reminders

Avoidance Symptoms:

  • Avoiding places and thoughts symbolic of the trauma
  • Problems in recalling the event
  • Loss of interest in important activities
  • Restricted emotions
  • Sense of foreshortened future

Arousal Symptoms*:

  • Hyper vigilance
  • Exaggerated startle response
  • Sleep disturbance (sleep avoidance, oversleeping)
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Irritability or angry outbursts

These symptoms often lead to:

  • Dysfunction at home and/or school
  • Experiencing severe fear and anxiety
  • Depression
  • Terrifying memories, nightmares and/or flashbacks
  • Becoming emotionally numb
  • Use of drugs and/or alcohol to alleviate the pain and memories

Treatment Program

Mesilla Valley’s Trauma Informed Program (TIP) is a Residential Treatment Program in Las Cruces, New Mexico, that is dedicated to providing a safe, non-revictimizing, healthy environment to allow adolescents to heal from trauma. Our intensive format combines psychotherapy and pharmacology within a therapeutic community. We provide a positive, structured, caring environment that is conducive to individual growth and development. This program is a minimal of 12-weeks, but the length of stay is determined on an individual basis and based upon progress within the program.

The program is a value-based approach that helps the patient take positive control of their life by teaching them to shift their focus of control from external (others influences control the patient) to internal (patients controls themselves). Instead of using “Level 1,” “Level 2,” etc. for the levels of care, we use words that have special meanings: Safety, Expectations, Exploration, Insight, Integrity and Interdependence. Two stages begin with the prefix “EX,” as in the word “ex-ternal,” which suggest that the patient is still being controlled or motivated by outside influences. The last three stages begin with the prefix “IN,” as in “in-ternal,” representing the patient’s shift from being controlled to taking control of themselves.

We understand that individuals who have been traumatized behave in a way that often creates more complications for themselves. Our program is designed around the core concepts of Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and approaches treatment from a stance of understanding and caring. Our staff has been trained to understand the effects of trauma and is available 24/7 to help progress individuals towards healing.

*(Flannery, R.B (1999) Psychological Trauma and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder: A Review. International Journal of Emergency Mental Health)