The Auldern philosophy
is driven and inspired by the following principles:
Learning and developing resiliency is a critical skill that is taught at Auldern. Strengthening resiliency leads to the development of increased confidence, self-worth, and empowerment. It is our belief at Auldern that adolescents have the ability to learn to be flexible and adapt in the face of challenges, change, adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats or significant stress. Some of the factors that diminish the capacity for resiliency are trauma, drug use, strong emotions, ingrained and reinforced patterns and beliefs, and fear of vulnerability. While working through these issues, girls are taught various ways to tolerate difficult experiences, make healthy life decisions, and courageously follow through with those new decisions. Girls are supported in resisting old ways of coping, and in managing the strong emotions that lead to previously destructive impulses.
It has been said that the relationship is the treatment. Many girls come to Auldern with fractured relationships with their families, their peers, and the world around them. Having healthy relationships and healing past relationships have a direct impact on perceptions of self-worth and positive world views. Therefore, building positive and healthy relationships is a focus of many components of the Auldern experience, where opportunities for healing and learning to develop healthy relationships abound.
Family relationships in particular are powerful, and repairing relationships within the family is a critical piece of this work. Trust, boundaries, losses, betrayals, and communication are some of the issues which are addressed during family therapy, family visits, family weekends, and family check-ins/updates. Additional family coaching is available and encouraged when needed.
Living a life of integrity is both simple and yet so often out of reach. Values clarification is required before one can live life according to their values. Often our deeper values are subverted or disowned due to traumatic experiences, unmet needs, environmental overstimulation, drug/alcohol use, and many other factors which must be successfully addressed before one can own values.
Cultivation of values such as honesty, integrity, responsibility, respect, honor, self- control, safety, empathy, self-awareness, and self-worth are all part of the Auldern culture. Girls are asked to assess and explore their values, and then to explore the extent to which they are living and making decisions according those values. In areas where they are not living according to their stated values, the underlying issues which prevent them from doing so are explored, and they work toward closing the gap. Our therapeutic milieu is a fertile environment for the girls to learn to practice their values on a day-to-day basis.
Adolescent girls are naturally in the developmental stage where they want to be treated as adults, yet they have not developed the emotional and mental maturity or self-sufficiency to be successful as an adult. They are in a delicate developmental stage where they strive to be independent yet they still need adults to support them. If adults attempt to take too much control of their lives they become oppositional and rebel, even when they are fighting against something positive. When adults are not supportive enough they become angry that others do not care enough to support them. Auldern’s therapeutic milieu provides a safe and supportive environment for students to wrestle with this issue and develop the internal strength and ability to make positive decisions. They are authentically able to problem solve and make healthy decisions.