Ironwood Maine Testimonials
Beth and John's Parent Testimonial
Eight-months-ago, we were considering a youth wilderness program for Aaron, whose withdrawal from life, lack of concern for himself, and spiraling, out-of-control behavior combined with our inability as parents to get him effective help for increasing depression and anxiety led to a crisis situation in our home. We are so grateful that we found Ironwood's website. A "course correction for good kids who are spiraling out-of-control" was just what we needed. Ironwood provided a home away from home with a healthy daily regimen that initially broke Aaron's downward cycle of personal destruction.
We read about Ironwood's solid program that incorporates healthy living with individual and family therapy, school lessons, and a variety of therapies including animal, equine, art, and music. Through lived experience, we have come to know how Ironwood's committed staff works within this effective framework to enable a life-changing experience for residents and their families.
You have helped Aaron learn much more about himself, the way he thinks, and how to use healthy coping skills. Now, it is up to him to choose to continue in his personal growth and development. In the same way, as individuals and parents, we have learned much; and now, the hard work begins anew as we journey forward as a family.
Before we pushed the send button on Aaron's application to Ironwood, it meant a lot of talk..addressing our concerns and being available to us during Aaron's initial in-processing and as needed during his stay at Ironwood was so helpful.
In the midst of a scavenger-hunt-like adventure to gather items on the Ironwood approved clothing and supply list, Beth found Karen to be a valuable resource. Throughout Aaron's stay at Ironwood, her friendly and calm demeanor whenever we called with a question or needed to contact another staff member was greatly appreciated. Sometimes when calling Ironwood, we would talk with Megan; we are glad we finally had the opportunity to meet her on the morning of Aaron's graduation. Thank you for the bottle of Ironwood's old "liquid gold."
Ironwood's recommendation to use Safe and Sound for transportation was advice well-taken. Lorraine spoke directly with Aaron and he was packed and waiting for them. Safe and Sound's driver reported-in and let us know when Aaron arrived at Ironwood.
We really appreciated that Ronanne made sure she got in-contact with us that night to let us know how Aaron was doing, as well as during the rest of the weekend before we spoke with our assigned counselor.
Aaron's first days/weeks at Ironwood were very emotion-filled and he sought out and found compassionate and supportive listeners in the night security staff. Paul, Bonnie, Rich, and John became familiar names.
It has been wonderful to work with Laura as Aaron's therapist. Her patience, perseverance and caring, combined with her keen therapeutic insights and common sense were instrumental in Aaron's progression in individual therapy and for assisting us in family therapy. Laura was a great sounding board and hand holder...especially during the first home visit. She was both supportive and enabling and we very much appreciated her observant feedback. We are also very grateful she hung-in there with us when the going got tough and tougher at times during family therapy.
During parent weekends, we enjoyed meeting the Frye and Farm House managers, assistant managers, and behavioral specialists who lived and worked with Aaron on a daily basis. Their availability and conscious presence to and for residents is a testament to their belief in the Ironwood process. While bearing the brunt of residents' emotions, behaviors, and challenges, they also witness resident growth and changes on a daily basis. We thank you for your patience with and guidance you provided Aaron. You made it possible for Ironwood to be a home away from home. We appreciated very much Kellie's unique ability, borne out of her own personal parenting experience, to both comfort and challenge Aaron. Additionally, Kellie's parent-to-parent sharing was very helpful to us.
Aaron got back on his educational feet at Ironwood. With the help of Larry, Kathy, and Priscilla, Aaron made good use of courses in the Oak Meadow curriculum. Currently, he is in good standing to begin his senior year.
Libby's suggestions related to medication dosage and further evaluation for Aaron proved to be pivotal in Aaron's journey at Ironwood. Aaron learned a lot about himself through his testing with Dr. Bryant, as did we. Feedback from Dr. Bryant and Laura increased the value of testing. The information fortified our decision to make use of a second home visit, which turned out to be a very good choice.
Over the various parent weekends, we had the opportunity to be in group sessions with some of the other therapists. In January, we learned about DBT with Don and participated in an exercise involving origami, which made us more aware of how people can hear the same words, yet understand and interpret them differently...lots of folding, refolding, and laughing, which led to a good discussion among residents and their families. At the parents weekend in July, during a family session, Debora was able to foster an engaging session by asking conversation-starting questions that facilitated residents and family members sharing from their experiences. As was also the case in a family session with Robin, it was evident that therapists through the treatment team and personal interactions work hard to get to know all Ironwood residents. As the clinical director, Robin was accessible and helpful when problems arose contacting the Ironwood psychiatrist at the time. Robin provided good support to Laura and us, as we grappled with the decision to pursue a second home visit or not.
Aaron enjoyed his time with Allyson, Frances, and their fleet of furry, wet-nosed "therapists." From his letters, we knew he wasn't too sure about the horses at first, but the photos of him riding exhibited a trust and confidence that, hopefully, is laying the foundation for growing trust in people. He is making a case for a dog of his own, and in the meantime, volunteering at a local animal no-kill shelter (where, we are sure, he is scoring out possible adoption options...).
Art and music, so important and often the bottom of the school district budget, are well and alive at Ironwood under the tutelage of Lesia and Travis. Aaron spoke of his living with depression as wearing many masks, so actually making a mask as part of art therapy was pretty symbolic. We were so glad that Aaron wanted to take his violin to Ironwood with him. Aaron thrived in music group and the authentic, positive feedback he received from peers and staff was heartening and affirming to him. Travis provided the right amount of group direction, while allowing Aaron to experiment musically. We enjoyed when the residents played and sang together for parents weekend.
Logistically, we want to thank Persephone, who does a great job keeping the mail flowing to residents, getting packages approved, providing transportation, AND meeting with everyone who wants/needs to get into resident inventory over parents weekends. She does all this in an easy-going, approachable manner.
Yesterday, we celebrated Aaron's Ironwood graduation with peers and staff. It was the culmination of a group effort and the personal send-off with words of encouragement and challenge that was meaningful and powerful for Aaron and us. It is a new beginning for our family. We know well that the road ahead will be wrought with challenges, accomplishments, joy, sadness, good choices, and not-so-good choices, but as Bonnie likes to point out: "failure is not falling down, but staying down (Mary Pickford)." Aaron and we will have our bad moments/days, but our faith will continue to support our commitment to using what we have learned at Ironwood to keeping getting back up.