Here at Millcreek Behavioral Health, our top priority is affording each child who comes to us for care with the opportunity to receive the care they need in order to begin leading healthier and more productive lives. Our highly qualified staff recognizes that each child’s needs are different, and they have extensive experience in treating a number of different mental health issues facing today’s youth, including reactive attachment disorder (RAD). Furthermore, in order to meet the specific needs of each child’s personalized struggles, we ensure that every patient receives highly individualized programming.
Childhood can be hard enough, but adding in the symptoms of reactive attachment disorder can make daily life that much more challenging. This rare, but serious condition, typically develops when an infant or young child in unable to establish healthy relationships with parents or other caregivers. If a child’s basic needs for comfort, affection, and nurturing are not met, then it puts a child at high risk for the development of this disorder, ultimately leading to the onset of more problems in a person’s life later on down the road.
This is where Millcreek Behavioral Health comes in. Our treatment center has been a leading provider of behavioral healthcare and educational services to emotionally disturbed and developmentally delayed children and adolescents in the state of Mississippi for over 30 years. By providing programming that emphasizes the individualization of treatment based upon each child’s strengths, we have maintained our standing as the largest private provider of services to children and adolescents in the state. Each one of our compassionate staff members works to increase the self-esteem of all children who are entrusted into our care so that we can build their confidence and increase their ability to successfully navigate through treatment. For those children who are struggling with RAD, we promise that we will do everything we can to help them learn to develop more stable, healthy relationships with not only their caregivers, but with other people as well.
Helping a Loved one or Family Member Get Treatment
As a parent, you can tell when there is something that is not right with your child. This can become extremely frustrating as you are left wondering what is causing your child to behave in a manner that is confusing to you. If your child appears to be having some difficulty relating to you or if he or she is rejecting your attempts to comfort him or her, you may want to consider having him or her evaluated for RAD. Some signs that may indicate that your child could be struggling with this devastating illness can include:
- Being detached from those around him or her
- Unresponsive to comforting
- Holds back emotions
- Does not look to caregivers for support
- Lacks a preferred attachment figure
- Avoids social interactions
- Failure to smile
- Does not reach out when picked up
- Not interested in playing interactive games
If your child exhibits any of these behaviors on a regular basis, it is important that you seek professional help as soon as possible. When taking your child to see a mental health professional for an assessment, it is important that you are well prepared for your appointment. It is often a good idea to make a list of any behavioral problems or emotional issues you have witnessed, any life changes or stressors your child may be facing, any medications that your child is taking, and compile any questions you may have. It is also important that you adhere to any recommendations that are provided, and be an active and supportive part of your child’s treatment process.
Why Consider Treatment at Millcreek Behavioral Health
Sad and listless appearance, not engaging in social interaction, failure to smile, and showing no response when comfort is offered are all indications that reactive attachment disorder may be present. Additionally, children who did not establish a secure attachment with a loving and protective caregiver will not learn to love and trust others. They may be unable to recognize the feelings and needs of others, be incapable of regulating his or her emotions, and be unable to develop healthy relationships and a positive self-image. If this disorder is ignored and not properly treated, it has the potential to continue negatively impacting a youth’s life years, exacerbating existing symptoms, and leading to lifelong consequences.
The overall goals of treatment for RAD is to ensure the safety of the child and to develop a healthy relationship with an appropriate caregiver. In many instances, the most effective way of achieving these goals is to place children struggling with the symptoms of reactive attachment disorder in a residential treatment program that will not only ensure their safety, but also teach them the skills needed to be successful with their recovery. Proper treatment provided by mental health professionals, who specialize in reactive attachment disorder, often includes positive child and caregiver interactions, a stable, nurturing environment, psychological counseling, and parent education. Counseling sessions can be used to address issues that may be affecting the caregiver’s relationship with the child as well as their behavior toward him or her.
Program Philosophy and Benefits
At Millcreek Behavioral Health, we are dedicated to helping children lead healthier, more productive lives. By offering programming that places a strong emphasis on a child’s inherent strengths, our caring and compassionate staff tailors treatment plans to be individualized based on each child’s unique set of needs, as well as on the skills he or she already has in place. We strive to consistently encourage the growth of children’s self-esteem and enhance their level of self-confidence and independence by developing activities that are based specifically on each patient’s strengths. Each child’s treatment process remains malleable as we incorporate changes based on needs or challenges as they arise. We also place a strong emphasis on the educational aspect of treatment, keeping in mind the crucial role that education plays in a child’s development and on his or her future. At Millcreek Behavioral Health, we are devoted to consistently improving our programming by persistently addressing any requests, concerns, or issues that are brought forth in our patient surveys. Our patients are our top priority and we make it our sole mission to do all that we can to ensure their lasting success.
Types of Treatment Offered at Millcreek Behavioral Health
At Millcreek Behavioral Health, we strive to offer excellent customer service and we pride ourselves in our quick response to inquiries and referrals. Our admissions staff works diligently to ensure that a smooth and timely transition into our care is offered for all potential patients. Once children have been admitted into our psychiatric residential treatment program, they will partake in a number of therapeutic interventions while simultaneously enhancing and building upon the strengths they already possess. Here at Millcreek, we use a cognitive behavioral approach to therapy in our programs, which ensures that maladaptive thinking patterns are changed and positive behaviors are reinforced. Additionally, research-based journaling is utilized throughout individual and group therapies, which assists patients as they find success along their own treatment path.
We are proud to offer a positive-reinforcement based approach to care, guiding patients as they work through a Phase System throughout the course of treatment. This Phase System includes four distinct phases including: Exploration, Knowledge, Motivation, and Achievement. Additionally, it is accompanied by identified safety levels that reward children on their progress through treatment. Progress is then acknowledged through each patient’s journaling and includes helping children identify triggers that lead to their behaviors, as well as helping them recognize the importance of accepting the consequences of their behaviors.
We incorporate the following therapeutic interventions into the comprehensive care provided to each and every one of our patients:
Medication management: There is no medication that is specifically used to treat the symptoms of reactive attachment disorder. However, in some cases, medication may be used as an adjunct to treatment to help control severe behavioral symptoms such as extreme aggression. All medication needs will be determined on an individualized basis. We employ board-certified child and adolescent psychiatrists who are on call 24/7. Additionally, we have psychiatric nurse practitioners and family physicians who are available to meet any needs that our patients may have. Children are seen at least once each week for medication management.
Individual therapy: Individual therapy sessions are provided so that children can meet one-on-one with their therapists in order to track treatment progress, discuss any concerns or challenges they are facing, and to work on individual skill-building. These sessions occur at a minimum of once each week, but most patients benefit from additional sessions, as determined based on need or when requested.
Group therapy: Group therapy sessions occur at least three times per week, but are typically held more often. All group sessions are individualized based on the needs of the children present, but common topics of discussion include anger management, coping skills, relationships, independent living skills, trauma, and patient/student rights.
Family therapy: At Millcreek Behavioral Health, we recognize how important family involvement is in a child’s healing process and therefore hold family therapy sessions at least twice per month. We also allow children to make phone calls or visit with their family on a regular basis. This ensures that all family involvement is individualized in order to promote the most positive interaction possible for our patients and their families.
Education: All patients attend our onsite school Monday through Friday from 9am-3pm. All classes are led by Highly Qualified Licensed Teachers and classrooms have a student to teacher ratio of 10:1 maximum. There is at least one therapeutic aide present in all classrooms and one-to-one aides are provided for children when academically necessary.
Experiential therapies: In order to provide a fully holistic approach to treatment, we offer a number of additional therapeutic options on top of the traditional therapeutic methods. Such options include:
- Recreational therapy (held daily for all patients)
- Music therapy (including individual music and choir dance)
- Gym time (including activities such as flag football, volleyball, etc.)
- Fitness club (intensive fitness programming is offered along with nutritional education)
- Art projects
- Walking club
- Book club
Continuing Care and Levels of Treatment
At Millcreek Behavioral Health, we understand that, for many children and their families, the end of treatment can be an intimidating time. For this reason, all discharge and aftercare planning begins at the time of admission. Appropriate discharge criteria is created for each patient depending upon his or her needs and treatment goals. Once that criteria has been successfully met, the patient’s treatment team works with him or her to determine the next most appropriate level of care. Aftercare planning includes recommendations from the patient’s treatment team for medical, educational, and psychiatric services. Our staff will do everything in our power to ensure that the transition back into a less restrictive setting is a smooth and comfortable one for all parties involved, knowing that the most important thing is that your child continues to be successful.