How do you involve families?
God has designed the family, above all things, to provide the basis of our mental, emotional and spiritual health. It is usually the case, though not always, that a rupture has occurred within a family that seeks our help. Death, illness, divorce, abuse and neglect are frequent causes, but whatever the case, it is best if this rupture can be repaired. To this end, Whetstone hopes to serve as a resource for parents who seek reconciliation with their son, who though he may not know it or admit it now, desires the same. We hope to facilitate this through a process of family counseling, transparent and regular communication between all stakeholders, supervised visits and eventually, overnight stays. Over time, through patience and prayer, it is our goal that the family be restored. This can only be realistically achieved if families are invested in the process from beginning to end.
The choice to send your son to Whetstone Boys Ranch is a choice to join him on a journey which involves the following:
- Weekly phone calls with either a counselor, teacher or house-parent, to discuss therapeutic, academic and behavioral goals.
- Weekly phone calls with resident, after initial phase.
- Two week-long off-campus family visits.
- Family Therapy Intensive – this three day workshop covers family dynamics, languages of relationship, parenting styles and communication, and trauma response and care. It will be a mix of group, experiential and psycho-educational components seeking to identify potential triggers within your self and house, prepare for creating a home environment for your son to succeed, and troubleshooting potential miscues that may detract from your family goals.
How do boys interact with each other?
During your teenage years, there is just something about one of your peers telling you “how it is.” Parents, teachers, pastors, counselors can try, but they can’t pull it off. You’d rather hear the truth from people who understand your situation, who are walking in your Vanns or Air Jordans. (People who wear dress shoes or work boots for a living can’t really understand the nature of reality, can they?) During seminar, we do therapy without “doing therapy.” In a small group setting, guided by qualified teachers and counselors, we talk about movies, music, novels and poems. We talk about Truth and Beauty – examine a “Grecian Urn” or two. Some say that all art is therapy. If this is even close to the truth, our boys get a ton of it while sharing their thoughts in writing and during lively group discussions, developing critical thinking skills in the process. In addition, all boys participate in at least one week-long adventure therapy session, during which they hike, camp, fish, rock-climb, rappel, cook over a campfire…having conversations they will remember for a lifetime.
How does the Whetstone family build relationship?
One key component of our therapeutic model is mentoring – the modeling of positive behaviors within a loving and supportive environment. Our low ratio allows each staff member, from counselor to cook, to spend quality time with each boy in the schoolroom, in the outdoors, and around the family hearth. In doing so, we are naturally drawn to story-telling. We all have a story. Happy, Sad, Tragic, Triumphant. It longs to be shared because we long to be understood. From a therapeutic perspective, what we see as our role in this story has a dramatic impact on how we view ourselves in relationship. Our beliefs make us more or less able to overcome the problems we face in life, because they make us more or less willing to receive help from those we love. Throughout our program, boys are encouraged to share and understand their story, as well as the stories of those around them. When people do this in community, understanding, compassion, and forgiveness become not only possible, but probable.