Building Healthy Relationships in Residential Treatment

When explaining what Sunrise Residential Treatment Center is, I introduce our program as being relational-based rather than behavioral. This is always followed up with other questions such as “What does it mean to be a relationship-based treatment program?” or “Why is a relational approach so important?” I love being able to explain why healthy relationships are such an important part of our therapeutic healing process, how our students are able to build healthy relationships, and how their relationships prepare them for success after Sunrise.

Why Healthy Relationships are so Important

Relationships and the skills needed to build them are such a big part of Sunrise’s program. The thing that I love about building healthy relationships with our students is that it’s taught through groups, and we are able to use an experiential approach to really help our students experience what healthy relationships consist of. What a better way to learn about relationships than through actually building them, experiencing the ups and downs, and learning how to work through those in a healthy way? I think it’s so important for our girls to learn how to mend their relationships at home while also learning how to build healthy ones. The lasting effects of these built, mended, and maintained relationships are so important to our students’ progress.

How We Build Healthy Relationships

Our relationship-building group at Sunrise focuses on the specific relationship needs of teenage girls. Our girls are able to learn skills through this group and then are able to apply these learned skills to their relationships within their communities, with staff, and most importantly, with their families. Our students are taught the skills they need and are then given continual, real-life situations to practice these skills and continue the learning process. As a staff I love being able to give in-the-moment coaching and feedback to help our girls really grow in their relationships.

Healthy Relationships Inside and Outside of Sunrise

Our students are able to focus on healthy relationships both inside and outside of Sunrise. While at Sunrise they are able to learn how to build new relationships, which is such an important skill to have for when they go home and begin to build new, healthy, relationships. Our students are also able to mend their existing relationships, putting extra focus on their relationships with their families. I think one of my favorite parts of our therapeutic transition process is watching how our students’ relationships with their parents grow. There’s something so special about watching a strained parent-daughter relationship transform into a trusting and loving one. I love that our students are able to transform their relationships with their parents while at Sunrise. I do believe that because our girls are in an emotionally safe environment they are able to really push themselves within their relationships outside of Sunrise to promote even more growth and improvement.

The Lasting Effects of Healthy Relationships After Sunrise

The skills learned and relationships built during a student’s stay at Sunrise aren’t left behind once their stay ends. Once a student goes home, the relationships they’ve built go along with them. I am so grateful for the relationships I’ve been able to maintain with past students and their families. I love watching our students go home to their families and being truly happy at home. While at Sunrise they are able to mend their relationships at home to prepare themselves for success upon their return.

The relational approach that we take at Sunrise has such a huge impact on the success of our students’ healing. While learning the basics of relationships, applying them both here at Sunrise and with their families at home, our students learn the skills they need to go home and be successful within their families and social lives. By mending the relationships with their families, our girls go home to a better environment, which is also a key factor in maintaining the progress that they’ve made while at Sunrise. I love being able to watch our students grow and learn during their stay with us, and watching their growth continue past their stay here. I believe in Sunrise’s program, because I’ve seen the positive changes happen, and I look forward to seeing many more.