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Shelterwood’s treatment plan begins with the Rebalance Intensive Assessment, designed to give your teen and your family space, safety and rest. During the Rebalance phase, the Shelterwood team determines the causes underlying your teen’s struggles and crafts a healthy path forward. After Rebalance, the second phase of treatment is Rebuild, when the real work of transformational heart change takes place.

Unlike some other residential programs, Shelterwood encourages teens to progress at their own pace. Instead of checking off boxes or a proscribed number of days, teens graduate phases on a case-by-case, organic basis.

It’s meant to be a cycle.

“The rebuild phase is when we start seeing progress,” says Calandra Travis, mentor and assistant residential manager. “Sometimes with that progress, they also fall backwards a bit.”

Every Shelterwood student’s Rebuild goals are different. Some are working on sobriety. Others are learning to communicate their feelings. Still others are practicing not isolating. These are challenging goals that take time to achieve.

“Just because a kid wants to change, it doesn’t mean they know how,” explains Melissa Winston, Shelterwood therapist. “Rebuild is a hard phase, where a lot of the major trauma comes to the surface. Kids are learning to navigate those emotions in positive ways instead of acting out in destructive ways.”

Melissa likens Rebuild to learning to drive: Young drivers need lessons, practice and restrictions on their learning permits to safely become road-ready. In the same way, the Rebuild phase gives teens guidance, boundaries and a support system to enable them make big changes in their lives. It’s a slow process.

“The key here is moving from just behavioral change to heart change,” says Melissa.  

“It’s meant to be a cycle,” Calandra says. “Maybe a girl will start making improvements and stay there for a while. Maybe she’ll be pretty consistent, but something will happen, and she might fall into old patterns because it’s more comfortable or it’s just what she knows.”

Calandra also shares that in the Rebuild phase, it doesn’t stop there. “Even if there’s that fall back,” says Calandra, “in having to get back up again, she realizes her desire for change even more.”

Melissa says that cycle of falling down and getting back up again can become the very proof of progress. “They go from blaming others to owning their own behavior and their own choices,” Melissa says. “They are much more quick to repent and repair whenever they do make a mistake.”

Parents are Rebuilding, too.

Teens aren’t the only ones putting in big-time effort during this phase. Parents are, too.

During Rebuild, parents and teens are forging new connections and restoring trust. Melissa works with parents to help them choose their battles and fight consistently for the ones that matter. It’s important for parents to know when to step back and allow their kids to fail, and when to step up.  

“We leave some space for kids to be human,” Melissa says. “As parents begin to step back in areas they need to step back in and consistently step forward when they need to, kids begin to trust their leadership and their lives.”   

Melissa helps families define their shared values during this phase, then use those values to guide their interactions. For example, if a family’s value is that they do their very best in whatever God has put before them, then instead of haggling over specific bedtimes, the family has ongoing conversations about how much sleep the teen needs to do their very best at school the next day. These kinds of value-based shifts teach teens to make values-based decisions—and helps parents pick their battles wisely.

This connected, relational approach to parenting is mirrored in the support teens get from Shelterwood staff during the Rebuild phase.  

“The biggest asset in this job is relationship,” says Calandra. “That’s the best way to support them—to build enough trust with them that they are willing to share their life with you.”

Want to learn more about how Shelterwood leads struggling teens to lasting heart change? Call us and let us know how we can help your family today.