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Girls, Grime, and Relationships


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Title: Girls, Grime, and Relationships

Girls, Grime, and Relationships

  • Eilean Mackenzie LCPC
  • Clinical Director New Horizons for Young
  • Deb Hibbard
  • Program Director New Horizons for Young

NHYW History
  • Started 6/ 2001, Jackie RMA graduate vision to
    have a program that meets the needs of girls.
  • Connection Philosophy is my concept that
    everything we do in life, positive or negative,
    connects or disconnects us with something else.
    An example of this is technology. The more
    connected we become through technology the more
    disconnected we become with our family. As a
    society we have replaced family dinners with
    electronic jewelry!
  • Jacqueline Danforth Founder and Executive
  • New Horizons For Young Women

Girls, Grime, Relationship Workshop
  • Our goal is to provide a review of literature
    that is specific to girls developmental issues
    and discuss how that plays out at NHYW. To
    provide participants with an opportunity to share
    experiences and talk about what they have found
    that works. Lastly, to present what we believe
    makes for best practice in working with teenage

Program Description
  • Program Department
  • Young Women Ages 13-18
  • 6-9 Week Year-Round Program located in Maine
  • Clinical Therapy integrated with Emotional
    Growth work
  • Nature/Outdoor 5 day Expeditions, 3 day Base
    Camp Model
  • Clinical Therapy Department
  • Bio-Psycho-Social Model using cognitive
    behavioral, relational and family systems
  • Therapy is driven by an individualized
    treatment plan
  • o    Individual Clinical Therapy (2) times per
    week/Group Clinical Therapy
  • Weekly Clinical Family Support  
  • Psychological/Psychiatric Assessments Offered
  • o    Comprehensive discharge summary with
    progress on goals, accomplishments and
  • Field / Logistics Department
  • Physically challenging, experienced focused,
    year-round expeditions
  • Seasonal Physical Activity Averages
  • Summer Canoeing/Backpacking Winter
    Camping/Snowshoeing 8 miles/day

Program Description
  • Medical / Nutrition Department
  • On Site, Fully Equipped Infirmary staffed by
    state licensed medical personnel
  • Weekly Wellness Check-Ups
  • Medical and Medication Education
  • Monitored Nutrition consisting of whole grains,
    protein, fruits and vegetables
  • Admissions Department
  • Enrollment Application Accessible on Website
  • Educational Loans Offered, Maine scholarship
  • Supportive Services
  • Therapists involved in family aftercare
  • Parent Representative available for support
  • Human Resources Department
  • Therapists Mental Health licensed in the State
    of Maine (Min. Masters)
  • Annual training and/or certification in various
    disciplines Medical, Risk Management,
    De-escalation/Intervention Techniques, Client
    Rights, Confidentiality, Cultural Diversity,
    Workplace Conduct, and Seasonally Specific
    Outdoor Activities

NHYW Mission
  • INDIVIDUAL To support young women in better
    understanding themselves and what motivates their
    choices, relationships and behaviors.
  • FAMILY To establish healthy connections between
    young women and their families.
  • SOCIO-CULTURAL To empower young women in
    navigating society and culture.
  • APPROACH To challenge young women with empathy,
    respect, truth and support on their journey of
    personal growth.

NHYW Values
  • New Horizons For Young Women provides the
    opportunity to reflect on past decisions and
    future choices. If participants choose to fully
    engage in the program they will learn the value
    of personal challenges, relationships and
    empowerment. We will encourage girls to embrace
    opportunities designed to enhance their personal
    strengths. New Horizons empowers young women to
    confidently meet the complex challenges in
    todays society.

  • State of Maine DMH licensed as an outpatient
    mental health clinic for children and 18 year
  • State of Maine DHS licensed as an outdoor youth
  • CARF Commission on Accreditation of
    Rehabilitation Facilities, 3 year accreditation.
  • MOFGA (Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners
    Association) Certified Gardens.

YOQ Data 2006
  • Table 1

Table 2This table details baseline admissions
YOQ-SR 2.0 scores compared to baseline scores of
students in residential, outpatient, partial
hospital, and community settings.
  • Table 3
  • This table is a comparison of 2005 and 2006 NHYW
    admission and discharge scores with Keith
    Russell's admission and discharge totals from
    research conducted in 2002.

Teenage Developmental Issues
  • Important to look at teenage developmental issues
    for both boys and girls. The study Raising
    teens A synthesis of Research and a Foundation
    for Action published by Harvard School of Public
    Health and edited by Rae Simpson 2001 outlines
    the 10 Tasks of Adolescence. This study pulled
    together much of the current research on
    adolescent development and put it into a format
    that is helpful for both parents and
    professionals alike.
  • Adjust to Sexually Maturing Bodies and Feelings
  • Develop and Apply Abstract Thinking Skills
  • Develop and Apply a More Complex Level Of
    Perspective Taking
  • Develop and Apply new Coping Skills in Areas such
    as Decision Making, Problem Solving, and Conflict
  • Identify Meaningful Moral Standards, Values and
    Belief Systems
  • Understand and Express more complex Emotional
  • Form Friendships that are Mutually Close and
  • Establish Key Aspects of Identity
  • Meet the Demands of Increasingly Mature Roles and
  • Renegotiate Relationships with Adults in
    Parenting Roles
  • Young women attending our program readily
    address these developmental tasks and the
    combination of both outdoor, wilderness
    experiences and therapeutic interventions
    provides a framework to explore these issues.

Young Women are different than Young men
  • While research continues to confirm that there
    are similarities between genders, there are also
    issues unique to the process of development in
    teenage girls. I want to present a brief overview
    of literature that has spoken to these
    differences and why they are important.
  • Jean Baker Miller Toward A New Psychology of
    Women (1976)
  • In this groundbreaking book Dr Miller maintained
    that womens desire to connect with others and
    their emotional accessibility were strengths, not
    weaknesses as they were traditionally regarded.
    She created a framework for looking at girls and
    womens development within the context of

  • Carol Gilligan In a Different Voice
    Psychological Theory of Womens Development
  • Gilligan asserted that women have differing
    moral and psychological tendencies than men.
    According to Gilligan, men think in terms of
    rules and justice and women are more inclined to
    think in terms of caring and relationships. She
    asks that Western society begin to value both
    equally. She outlines three stages of moral
    development progressing from selfish, to social
    or conventional morality, and finally to post
    conventional or principled morality. The
    developmental challenge for women is to learn to
    attend to both their own interests and to the
    interests of others.

  • Lyn Mikel Brown Carol Gilligan, Meeting at the
    Crossroads Womens Psychology and Girls
    Development (1992)
  • Based on a 5 year study of girls going through
    middle to high school Brown Gilligan listen to
    the stories of girls as they negotiate their way
    through adolescence.
  • We witness the struggle girls undergo as they
    enter adolescence only to find that what they
    think and feel can no longer be said directly.
    We see them at a cultural impasse, and listen as
    they make the painful, necessary adjustments,
    outspokenness giving way to circumspection,
    self-knowledge to uncertainty, authority to
    compliance. These changes mark the edge of
    adolescence as a watershed in womens
    psychological development, a time of wrenching
    disjunctions between body and psyche, voice and
    desire, self and relationship.
  • For a brief period in early adolescence, usually
    about age 12 , girls appear to understand the
    centrality of relationships in their lives at
    the same time they are able to verbalize the
    frustrations they feel when faced with the
    conflict between maintaining themselves and their
    relationships with others.
  • Their research suggests that adolescence is a
    time of disconnection, sometimes dissociation or
    repression of womens lives, so that women often
    do not remember tend to forget or to cover
    over- what as girls they have experienced and

  • Mary Pipher, Reviving Ophelia Saving the
    Selves of Adolescent Girls (1994)
  • Pipher argues that we live in a look obsessed,
    media-saturated, girl poisoning culture. A
    culture that encourages girls to stifle their
    creative and natural impulses. Prior to age 12
    girls are often assertive, energetic and
    resilient, then with the transition to
    adolescence they become more deferential,
    self-critical and depressed.
  • She names her book after the story of Ophelia in
    Shakespeares Hamlet. As a girl Ophelia is happy
    and free, but with adolescence loses herself.
    When she falls in love with Hamlet she lives only
    for his approval. Ophelia is torn by her efforts
    to please both Hamlet and her father. When Hamlet
    spurns her for being an obedient daughter, she
    goes mad with grief and drowns herself in a
    stream of flowers.
  • Most girls chose to be socially accepted and
    split into two selves, one that is authentic and
    one that is culturally scripted. In public they
    become who they are supposed to be.

  • Sarah Shandler, Ophelia Speaks Adolescent Girls
    Write about Their Search for Self (1999)
  • Inspired by reading Reviving Ophelia Sarah
    Shandler provides a forum for adolescent girls
    to tell the honest stories of their lives.
    Ophelia Speaks is a compilation of short essays
    and poetry on themes of body image, sexuality,
    friendship, self-identity, family relationships.
    Shandler notes in her editorial that many of the
    girls who wrote about dark problems were on the
    surface perfect girls smart, pretty and
    popular. She maintains that adolescent girls are
    caught in the crossfire between where we have
    been told we should be and where we really are.
  • This is the first book we have students read at
    NHYW. Their assignment is to read the book, write
    about several stories they identify with and then
    run a group talking about why they chose the
    specific stories and how they relate to your

  • Rachel Simmons, Odd Girl Out The Hidden Culture
    of Aggression in Girls (2002)
  • Building on the work of Gilligan and Brown
    Rachel Simmons used their Listening Guide to
    interview adolescent girls (10 14 years old) and
    explore the topic of bullying between girls. She
    notes that the importance of relationships and
    connection in girls lives, along with the fear
    of solitude, leads many of them to hold on to
    destructive friendships even at the expense of
    their emotional safety.
  • She explores the dual role of both bully and
    being bullied and how girls are often both. She
    sees that particularly for white middle class
    girls the expression of anger and aggression is
    frowned upon. In attempts to be a good girl
    girls avoid openly expressing anger and instead
    it goes underground and is expressed through
    indirect acts of relational aggression.

  • Lyn Mikel Brown, Ed.D Girlfighting Betrayal and
    Rejection Among Girls ( 2003)
  • Brown looks at girl fighting and relational
    aggression within the todays social context as
    a reaction to girls feeling powerless. Girls are
    discouraged from expressing strong feelings and
    are pressured to fulfill unrealistic
    expectations, to be popular, and struggle to find
    their way in a society that still reinforces
    gender stereotypes and places greater value on
    boys. Under such pressure, in their frustration
    and anger, girls (often unconsciously) find it
    less risky to take out their fears and anxieties
    on other girls instead of challenging the ways
    boys treat them, the way the media represents
    them, or the way the culture at large supports
    sexist practices.
  • The answer to reducing girl fighting and girl
    bullying is less about tightening control over
    girls than about appreciating girls need to have
    control in their own lives, to feel important, to
    be visible, to be taken seriously, to have an
  • We need to work to replace old stories of girls
    and women as deceitful, backstabbing, nasty and
    mean with alternative realities of strong girls
    and women, girls as allies, and

  • Lisa Machoian, The Disappearing Girl Learning
    the Language of Teen Depression (2005)
  • Machoian argues that teenage girls begin to
    disappear when they feel disconnected from
    friends or family, and when the pressures of
    society to fit in or be a certain way become
  • At age 12 years girls are no more likely than
    boys to be depressed by 18 years they are twice
    as likely to suffer from depression.
  • Genes make some kids vulnerable to the stresses
    of adolescence. It is particularly difficult when
    girls are intelligent high intelligence
    increases girls risks for depression, but not
    for boys because brainy girls are rejected more.
  • The more girls are concerned about
    relationships and pleasing people, the more prone
    she is to over think- to ruminate and worry.
    These over thinkers are most likely to become

Issues we see at NHYW
  • On entry I hate girls
  • Importance of peers and being in peer group
  • Acceptance by peers more important than self
    own needs
  • Who am I, different personality with each
  • Emotional reactivity/ regulation - do they like
    me etc
  • Difficulty identify feelings
  • Depression, lack of acceptance feeling
  • Anxiety fueled by peer group issues acceptance
  • Self harming behaviors cutting, often triggered
    by conflict, feeling out of control
  • Anger management stuffing or exploding
  • Binge purging, feeling out of control in group,
  • Body image issues, comparisons jealousy
  • Sexual behavior, the power of sexuality
  • Substance use often for peer acceptance, managing
    social situations or managing feelings.
  • Family conflict lack of relationship with dad,
    conflict with mom
  • Academic difficulties, as struggle academically
    look for peer acceptance with lower functioning

  • Have participants break into small groups (approx
    6 people per group).
  • Ask each group to do a group drawing or creative
    presentation that represents the issues they see
    teenage girls struggling with in their work.

Research specific to Wilderness Programming and
  • Whittington Anja, Challenging Girls Construction
    of Femininity in the Outdoors Journal of
    Experiential Education (2006)
  • Qualitative study of teenage girls who
    participated in a 23 day wilderness canoe
    expedition. Found that girls challenged
    conventional notions of femininity in diverse
  • Perseverance, strength determination
  • Challenging assumptions about girls abilities
  • Feelings of accomplishment and pride
  • Questioning ideal images of beauty
  • Increased ability to speak out and leadership
  • Building significant relationships with other
  • They were able to place themselves in two
    domains being in the wilderness and being a
    girl. The experience allowed them to challenge
    the assumption that the wilderness is a masculine

  • Caulkins, White Russell, The Role of Physical
    Exercise in Wilderness Therapy for troubled
    Adolescent Women Journal of Experiential
    Education (2006)
  • Study explored the impact of backpacking in the
    therapeutic process for teenage girls revealed
    8 central impacts
  • Reflection removed from every day experiences
    have time to reflect on themselves
  • Perceived Competence increased physical strength
  • Accomplishment feeling good about what they
    have done
  • Self-Efficacy increased faith in their ability
    to influence their personal thoughts behaviors
  • Awareness of surroundings, self others. With
    this an ability to take more responsibility for
    ones behavior
  • Timelessness distraction free

Recommendations for Successful Programming with
Young Women
  • Regardless of gender the importance of good
  • -State licensing standards, CARF/ JACO, AEE,
  • - Standardized staff training, supervision, and
    continuing education.
  • - Networking with other programs, sharing
  • Wilderness outdoors has traditionally been
    viewed as a male environment.
  • We know that empowerment self efficacy is
    important so how do we allow girls to be girls
    feel comfortable in the woods just because you
    carry a pink back-pack does it make it any
  • Using gender specific gear,
  • Being aware of our language how it can be
  • Brains vs. brawn
  • Do we need to get to the top or is it about the
  • Balancing soft and hard skills
  • What is a soft program?
  • Being a girl, getting dirty, being playful,
    feeling strong challenges stereotypes of women
    girls as passive helpless.

  • Staff as role models
  • All female staff vs. co-ed staff groups.
  • 1. How girls respond react to all female staff
    teams anxiety, excitement, different
  • 2. In co-ed staff teams it is important that all
    team members are aware of their roles, how they
    share power, decision making and resolve
  • Sharing of hard and soft skills
  • Male staff to be aware of sexual issues,
    boundaries, appropriate touch

  • Not just about the individual journey but about
    the group supporting one another, acknowledging
    when we need help. When one girl hurting it
    impacts them all. Honoring the role of caring and
    nurturing while balancing needs for self.
  • Learning about co-operation and collaboration
  • Being aware of in and out groups, sub cultures
    and covert communication
  • Teaching respectful direct communication/
    assertiveness training/ role plays
  • Focus on friends what are healthy friendships
  • Leadership skills, decision making
    organizational skills
  • Honoring different roles and skills within the
  • Importance of relationships with staff,
  • Learning about differences girls often surprised
    about the friends they make which are girls they
    wouldnt usually talk to
  • Finding their voice

  • Feelings, feelings, feelings..drama is the base
  • Regardless of different diagnosis (borderline
    personality disorder, bipolar, mood disorders)
    much of what we do is helping girls understand
    their feelings, label them and manage them.
    Emotional discharge for the sake of emotional
    expression is not enough and at times harmful.
    First girls need emotional regulation skills and
    then how to contain feelings.
  • Teaching skills, learning about and identifying
  • Mindfulness awareness of and letting go of
    feelings vs. them controlling you
  • Meditation skills guided meditations, walking
    meditation, relaxation skills, yoga
  • Learning assertive communication
  • Conflict resolution

  • Food issues
  • Food as a source of strength, learning to eat 3
    meals a day healthy food.
  • Wilderness cooking provides opportunities for
    building competency, pride, skills.
  • Food as an issue of control, mindfulness
  • Binging eating for comfort, developing
    mindfulness and awareness of being full
  • Purging awareness of talking about emotionally
    charged issues during meals, 20 minute bathroom
    rule, feelings check ins, journaling
  • Parent reunion, cooking a meal allows them to
    demonstrate skills give back. Welcoming parents
    into their hearth

  • Hygiene body image
  • Learning self care skills
  • Discussions about female bodies (hair, smells)
    what is normal
  • Challenging conventional notions of beauty
  • Pride in strength, stamina
  • Using your body as a way to feel grounded

  • Trauma
  • Being aware of when a student is triggered/
    dissociating and how her story is effecting
    others in the group
  • Staff using grounding and containment vs. pushing
  • Staff helping students with emotional regulation
    meditation, yoga, breathing exercises
  • Boundaries and appropriate disclosures, not
    always appropriate to tell everything to everyone
  • Physical boundaries, touch

  • Incorporating the cultural context
  • Media images of girls, music, fashion, all
    appropriate conversations
  • Societal double standards good girls, bad
  • Class race differences
  • Religious differences
  • Looking at family culture

  • Use of ceremonies and female rights of
  • Solos balance personal development and awareness
    with the group sharing in the experience
  • Ceremonies help establish group norms, mark
    progress, provide a context and support for
    change. Traditional female rights of passage
    frequently center around puberty and the power of
    a womans sexuality and ability to give life.
    They often involve a girl entering into the world
    of women sharing stories, learning about healing,
    relationships and support. Girls today discover
    the power of their sexuality but may not have the
    support of other women to figure out how they can
    use it and respect their own bodies.
  • Solo experiences are brought back and shared
    within the context of the group
  • Group members giving words of advice and support
    before a student leaves for solo
  • Challenge with encouragement, and modification of
    solos for younger girls
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