If you have studied psychology, you may have come across the work of famed American Psychologist Carl Rogers. He was a humanistic psychologist that took the approach of accepting people for who they are and not what they do, known as unconditional positive regard. He worked with children early in his career and wrote the book: The Clinical Treatment of the Problem Child. The theory of his work reminds me of the technique I witness at Eckerd Connects E-Nini-Hassee. Not just in the way I see positive behaviors modeled by the staff, but how hard they work to show each child that she is accepted and loved. With an average length of stay of 10 months, they patiently walk alongside the girls reassuring them that as they build strong connections, they are loved unconditionally. The campers can then move past the shame and guilt from their past behavior and feel that acceptance from their peers and the clinical team. Rogers also said, “The curious paradox is that when I accept myself just as I am, then I can change.” Once you realize you are accepted for who you are and not what you have done, you can feel the power of change within yourself. That moment for each girl is truly emotional and powerful.
I have often heard clinicians or parents tell me they are afraid their clients or daughters will be unwilling to attend the program. It can be very hard to accept the change of leaving home and entering a residential level of care. The very same therapeutic team that works with each family is the same team that they will meet during the admission process. Clinical Supervisor Deb Richmond and Admissions Coordinator Tina Ogden are both licensed clinicians who coordinate each admission to the program. They lead the team in walking with each girl and helping her find her way to accepting herself. They are also there to see each girl graduate from the program. I truly believe this is some of the unique magic of E-Nini-Hassee.
“People are just as wonderful as sunsets if you let them be. When I look at a sunset, I don't find myself saying, "Soften the orange a bit on the right hand corner." I don't try to control a sunset. I watch with awe as it unfolds.”-Carl Rogers