Clinical Services

Clinical services at Discovery Connections combine emotional growth with life skills. It’s a therapy rich environment without a “lock up” mentality.

Our students are usually those who are conduct disordered or who struggle with reactive detachment, among other diagnoses. Typically, they are the troubled boys who simply don’t fit in a larger treatment milieu.

Our small treatment milieu increases the feeling of community. This is especially important for students who struggle with conduct disorder.  In larger programs, these students would be lost in an “underground” network of their own. At Discovery Connections their behaviors are transparent. Students are able to immediately see the consequences of their choices and behaviors.

All Discovery Connections clinicians are master’s level therapists with at least ten years experience working with troubled youth. They understand the best therapy occurs any time and any place a student will be receptive. Experience has shown them some students respond better to therapy while shooting hoops or talking over a soda than sitting in the office. Our therapists give students the time and the attention they need, whenever it’s needed, to grow emotionally.

Therapy at Discovery Connections includes at least one hour of individual therapy with a clinician each week. Students and their families also participate in at least one hour of therapist directed family therapy each week.

Besides these individual sessions, Discovery Connections holds four basic therapy groups are each day. Those groups include:

  • Anger Management
  • Substance Abuse
  • Thinking Errors
  • Community

These four groups serve as an umbrella under which other topics like adoption, substance abuse, physical or sexual abuse or other issues are discussed. Besides formal groups, the students themselves are able to call for a group discussion at any time to discuss a situation as it unfolds. This is our way of keeping therapy real and in the moment. Unlike other programs, staff also participate in these group discussions. The shared experience strengthens relationships between the entire Discovery community.

Since the Discovery Connections program is so small, students participate as a community in all their therapy groups. They hold each other accountable for their behaviors and discuss the impact of these behaviors on the community as a whole. This helps students practice getting and giving feedback. They learn to confront their personal insecurities in a way that increases their confidence and self-esteem.

In addition to individual and group therapy, students participate in experiential therapy. These activities may include hiking, fishing, rock climbing and other activities.

With therapy occurring on an individual, group, experiential and residential level, and with clinicians participating in virtually all of these activities, treatment plans and therapeutic goals are based on one-on-one interactions with each student. That makes the goals more realistic and achievable.

It also means treatment is driven by what the student actually needs, not just a diagnosis.
Although a previous diagnosis is important, it is not the sole indicator of how well a student may perform within the program. Our clinicians view that diagnosis as part of the framework on which to build a balanced and effective treatment plan. Most students have already had a psychiatric evaluation prior to enrolling. We are happy to arrange that testing as requested.

Explore our website, or, if you prefer, call an admissions counselor at 801.800.8033 for more information on how Discovery Connections can help your troubled teen.