Ironwood Maine Web Update

“Times and conditions change so rapidly that we must keep our aim constantly focused on the future.”

Walt Disney

The theme of this weekly update is change. This week, especially, many things have been changing on-campus. This allows opportunities for positive growth and originality, while also putting stress on group dynamics and resident / staff communication. Increasing change has impacted the campus as a whole, as well as the therapeutic and enrichment groups themselves.

For the house crew, last Sunday’s field trip was a walk along the beach, followed by a trip to Dairy Queen. Afterwards, they spent the evening relaxing and watching movies. For the barn crew, the field trip and movies were rescheduled to this upcoming weekend due to time constraints, but they were still able to take a trip to Dairy Queen for some weekend Blizzards. Additionally, the new privilege system has created new opportunities. Still in the trial stage, this system promises to replace the previous Phases with a checklist of expectations. Depending on whether or not all of the expectations are met, determines the resident’s allowance of privileges for that week. For senior residents who worked to get Phase 4, this comes as a challenge to adjust to. Whereas, newer residents struggle to understand exactly what meeting expectations entails. Nevertheless, the updated system grants the potential for brand new privileges – such as time on a PS5, solo trips, and chances to watch Netflix.

While the structure of Ironwood’s therapeutic groups isn’t changing, the topics within them have been. This week, Seeking Safety continued to discuss negative coping strategies and how they can be corrected into healthy methods of recovery. Great group participation and engagement allowed residents to be vulnerable and grow closer together. DBT group started fresh two-weeks-ago with an explanation of the thought process and psychology behind dialects. That set the stage for this week, where the group learned about radical acceptance from Cinemetherapy, and how it relates to the AA Serenity Prayer. They then discussed how this mindset could allow one to feel more empowered by focusing on practical steps toward positive change.

Enrichment blocks this week have become more open-ended, letting staff be more relaxed and spontaneous with their plans. For instance, art group was altered after the facilitator wasn’t available. So instead the lead, Logan, had residents draw illustrations for and of the barn / horses. Yesterday, barn manager James took residents around campus on a mule ride in his free time. In the afternoon, Rachel got members of both the barn and house crew to help weed the garden in the summer sun.

While any sort of change presents its own challenges, the adjustments made around Ironwood have the potential to open new doors, individualize programming, and present opportunities for greater responsibilities.

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