The social therapeutic approach

The social therapeutic approach

At White River Academy, we incorporate several different forms of therapy for our students, including a social therapeutic approach. This approach incorporates the idea that a positive social environment is important to develop individuals with disorders to enable them to live productive lives. This approach also incorporates a sense of public service, with which all students fulfill their duty according to their areas of talent. This form of therapy is most often group related, though proponents claim it is different from group therapy. It examines what physical, social and spiritual requirements are necessary for such a community to grow as a team and thrive.

Common methods

Social therapy is based on the ideology that people evolve in a social environment, with individual growth viewed as a related occurrence. Learning experiences with others are strongly emphasized. Participants are encouraged to live their lives in new and different ways. This therapy allows people to present an idealized vision of themselves, to which they aspire. Personal growth is encouraged and all in a group session are treated as equally as possible. People are encouraged to bring up matters that are troubling to them in group sessions, even if they may be embarrassing on a personal level. Some students are often surprised by the empathy and lack of judgment demonstrated by others in the group. One type of group is called the community group, which is a larger gathering that has several more participants than smaller groups. Improvised exercises are encouraged, along with group and one-on-one interactions.

One key function of group therapy is to improve the participants’ spirits and keep them from experiencing emotions such as isolation. The progress of those in the group is recognized publicly to boost confidence. On the other hand, smaller groups tend to focus on more personal concerns and self-understanding. Social therapy also incorporates sensitivity training, which is intended to improve individual awareness across the board.

In familial forms of social therapy, the behavior patterns from one family member to another are examined for better effectiveness. Different conflicts are examined in such circumstances as divorce, financial issues, disagreements on raising children, drug abuse and more. Families, including spouses and children, find ways to more effectively manage conflicts that arise in their daily lives.


Social therapy aims to provide an atmosphere of beneficial, positive support for students. The intent is for a social structure that emphasizes equality among participants. Student responsibility is also practiced, so that each maintains a proper level of conduct during group interactions. Social therapy is meant to provide a sense of empowerment for those who participate in it. The ability to better control emotions, strengthen and form connections to others, and promote teamwork are key elements to this program, as students are taught to cope with different situations, be social and form new, healthy relationships.

To learn more about the program at White River Academy, call us at 866-520-0905 for more information.

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Justin Nielson

Program Administrator

It is natural for parents to worry and have concerns when sending their son away to a residential treatment center. We hope this detailed description of the admission process at White River Academy will answer some of your questions.

  • Small and Family-Directed

  • Accredited Educational Facility

  • Individualized Academics

  • Behavior Learning Component

  • Positive Peer Culture

  • Licensed Residential Treatment Center

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