Ironwood Maine Web Update

“For one to solve a problem or have any good relationships in life, communication is key.”


            Communication and problem solving are important skills to everyday life. Group dynamics are affected positively, or negatively when there is either good or poor communication. Therapeutic groups are helpful with strengthening those skills. Recent enrichment groups, which were Maple Tapping and Music, also used communication to problem solve.

            The campuses are sometimes struggling with communication and problem solving. When this happens, there are ways that we are taught to overcome those barriers. A few examples of the skills that we are taught are stopping, clearing one’s mind, taking a breath, and thinking. Another skill is asking peers, or adults for ideas. We have been taught ways to communicate effectively with skills such as active listening, non-violent communication and using “I feel” statements instead of blaming or “always” statements. 

            In my experience, DBT was impactful because the activity and the session concept on 3/23 revolved around what a person’s values are and how one shows them. Let’s say you are in a difficult situation and your peers are pressuring you. Your values are strength and discipline. The strength is the power and ability to communicate without giving in and the discipline helps you control yourself to problem solve. This is why I think values are important.

            There is a new enrichment called Maple Sugaring and on Saturday, the Farm House and Lake House went to collect sap. The buckets were all frozen solid, or so we thought. We didn’t know what we should do next and were trying to come up with ways to problem solve. Within a few minutes we, as a group, came up with a solution by using effective communication. We found out that the buckets were not fully solid and were starting to thaw. We decided to carefully dump the sap into different buckets and the sap ice into another set of buckets to thaw. Problem solved. Another enrichment we are continuing with is Music.  In Music, residents put together songs for Family Weekend. In the process, there are errors while practicing. The group has to use communication to figure out where the error are, so they can be worked on and fixed.

            Both the Farmhouse and Lake House have new members who have been promoted in the past several days. We also have just started dog training as a new enrichment program. Residents have received some newer privileges, for example: if one turns in a certain number of merits, they can listen to music on an MP3 player.  Another, is the use our hammock for a certain amount of time to relax.

            In my opinion, I believe that the communication skills we are learning are necessary to being successful in and out of Ironwood. Communication can either be helpful or harmful to a group dynamic. The therapeutic groups at Ironwood help individuals build those important skills. Problems are solved with communication in our enrichment groups, which help us to continue to strengthen those skills. 

            I hope that parents can use effective communication to problem solve and form stronger relationships with their family.

*This week’s author is our newest addition to the Lakehouse and “my oh my”, has this young person grown, since starting her journey at Ironwood.  Of course, we are all a work in progress, but the shift in consideration, patience and stress tolerance is remarkable. 

We wish you a wonderful weekend and hope that all is well back home.  Keep your words of encouragement coming our way, as your thoughts and feelings are more valuable than you may know!