Healthy relationships between a child and their caregivers facilitate real growth and development. It is secure attachment which leads to lifelong success
Through research and collective years of experience working with young girls and their families, Lake House Academy developed an innovative, break-through treatment framework for addressing undesirable behaviors and facilitating lasting change, the Interpersonal Growth Model.
The Interpersonal Growth Model provides the prescriptive guide and framework for getting to the root of the issue and addressing it effectively. The Interpersonal Growth Model is the core of Lake House Academy and serves as a model for how we engage with both our students and families in all aspects of our program.
Inherent in its name, Interpersonal Growth Model, is the understanding that each of us as individuals are who we are because of our relationships with others. It is our relationships that form our sense of self and influence our growth and development.
At Lake House Academy, we strive to cultivate a positive and healthy sense of self. We do this within the context of what we call a Secure Caregiving System. The components of a Secure Caregiving System are Safety, Nurture, and Attunement.
The Interpersonal Growth Model starts with the understanding that our relationships make us who we are. It is our interpersonal experiences with significant people in our lives that form our sense of self and influence our healthy development. When something is “off” in this process/step, it can affect every other aspect of a child’s growth and development.
Lake House Academy caregivers work to identify strengths in the caregiving relationship as well as opportunities for growth. When a child is experiencing a disruption of relationship, it is addressed by the entire caregiving system. Sustainable long-term change for children includes the family unit. For this reason (among many), the student’s family is integral in clinical treatment.
At Lake House Academy we define “safety” as not just physical safety, but rather a child’s “felt” sense of safety. Being safe is not the same as feeling safe. A felt sense of safety in relationships is required for a child’s entire neurobiology to be regulated.
One way to understand this concept is to think of a car without any brakes. Often girls experiencing issues with relationship or emotional dysregulation feel like they are emotionally going 100 miles an hour, without a way to apply the brakes. Their nervous system is in constant overdrive.
A child who is living without “brakes” or a felt sense of safety will react to any stimuli, as a perceived threat, and respond with one of three primal reactions-- fight, flight, or freeze.
Typically, the fight-flight-freeze stress response is a reaction to a perceived threat or danger. But science has shown us that the idea of “danger” is relative. Depending on our biology and our life experiences, what one brain interprets as a threat is different from what another brain might interpret. This is especially true in children who are struggling. Understanding this neurobiological response can help explain a lot about a child’s actions, such as outbursts, anger, withdrawal or avoidance.
By establishing both physical and emotional safety, we help ‘pump the breaks’ for our students at Lake House Academy. We do this through predictability and stability, setting limits and healthy boundaries, proximity and through unconditional acceptance and care-giving. These strategies help them feel safe and their nervous systems calm down.
Attunement is just a fancy way of saying that adult caregivers will recognize, respond to, and regulate the emotional experiences of a child in the care they are receiving. It is also the responsibility of the caregiver to see, hear, and sense a child’s internal and non-verbal communication. Attunement allows a child to really feel seen and understood - not just reacted to.
Nurture is the act of providing loving care, comforting responses, and physical affection. Nurture is especially important for individuals experiencing pain and distress. The entire caregiving team provides our students with caring, appropriate, and consistent experiences of nurture.
“Nurture” in a treatment sense can involve many things, such as words of affirmation, acts of care-giving, exhibiting patience during a child’s acting out, coaching, praising, or the quiet intimacy of simply sitting together in close proximity without the need for words.
Studies also show that experiences of being soothed and nurtured in times of distress directly correlates to a child experiencing themselves as worthy.
The culmination and goal of the Interpersonal Growth Model is creating current experiences of secure attachment, thus leading to growth. Students who experience secure attachment then find self-regulation through experiences of co-regulation, see themselves as worthy, and are open to experiencing healthy relationships and lifelong growth.
We invite you to learn more about our model and our facility and discover if we can help your daughter on the journey to better emotional regulation, secure attachment and healthy relationships, and fulfilling lifelong relationships-- with herself and others.