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Treatment Model

Relational Treatment at Lake House Academy

At Lake House Academy we focus on helping our girls and families grow through secure and loving relationships. Our students often come to Lake House feeling alone, disconnected and inadequate. Through our relational treatment structure we help our students reconnect and grow within the context of secure and healthy relationships. It is through healthy relationships between a child and their caregivers that ultimately leads to resiliency, positive behavioral change, confidence and lifelong success.

We summarize our relational treatment model as CASA, which stands for Commitment, Acceptance, Security and Attunement. The goal of the model is Joy, experienced through co-regulation leading to Self-Regulation This structure provides the prescriptive guide, framework, and growth markers for getting to the root of the issue and addressing it effectively. At Lake House Academy the tenets of CASA are integrated into all aspects of our program including clinical, milieu and academics and serves as a model for how we engage with both our students and families.


At Lake House Academy, we strive to help our girls experience joy! We do this through the context of relationship and work with our students to build and re-establish the relationship with their family and form secure and healthy relationships with caregivers and peers.


The CASA 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.


Acceptance at its fundamental level is a recognition that past experiences and feelings of attachment are driving a child’s behavior, not attitude, laziness, or willfulness.

It is not a matter of a child trying harder but learning how to trust others and ultimately themselves. Our students need to see themselves as always doing their best in that moment in time.


At Lake House Academy we define “safety” as not just physical safety, but rather a child’s experience of being safe. Being safe is not the same as experiencing safety. Having experiences 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 lack of experiences of safety will react to any stimuli, as a perceived threat, and respond with one of three primal reactions-- fight, flight, or freeze.

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 and experience safety and allow their nervous systems to 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.

Co-regulation and Self-Regulation

The culmination and goal of CASA is co-regulation, creating current experiences of joy and leading to secure attachments. Students who experience secure attachment see themselves as worthy and are open to experiencing healthy relationships and lifelong growth. From their they can turn to their individual capacity to integrate cognition, emotion and physical awareness to utilize self-regulation techniques independently.

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.


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