An Open Letter From the Co-Founder of CALO, Dr. Ke
Across the country there are a number of generalist residential treatment centers. Many of them do fine work. They treat issues and disorders such as Oppositional Defiant Disorder, Conduct Disorder, Depression, Bi-polar Disorder, some personality disorders, phase of life issues, etc. Most work from a behavior modification paradigm. A few are more relationally oriented. A smaller few utilize a community or positive peer culture model. All try to change the lives of struggling teens. Generalist programs are usually large (80 plus and as many as 250 at times) and level-focused in their treatment approach. In order to manage student behavior they frequently put systems of rewards and punishments in place. These programs came into being to fill a need created largely by managed care in the healthcare industry. Managed care decreased stays in hospital settings and pushed members to acute care and stabilization treatment. Longer, chronic care and remediation lost its funding source. Managed care effectively ended long stays in psychiatric hospitals. Long stays went away but the need for some sort of longer-term treatment did not. Residential treatment has filled the void left in the wake of decreased lengths of psychiatric hospitalization. As residential treatment has matured, the one size fits all approach has lost its appeal. There are many presenting problems that are not well grouped together. A program that puts eating-disordered teens with Conduct Disordered ones will feel the strain of the differing needs of those populations. Simply put, specialist care is needed for many emotional and behavioral issues. Eating Disorders, issues of trauma, Reactive Attachment Disorder, non-verbal learning disabilities, substance abuse; these and many other issues demand specialized knowledge and treatment. CALO was created with this need for specialty care in mind. CALO focuses on only three presenting issues: issues of emotion, trauma, and attachment. An even more concise way of presenting CALO's specialty is to say that issues with trauma at their core are what we treat. Trauma during the attachment window will frequently create attachment issues in later adolescence. Trauma will also lay the groundwork for later Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Trauma will predispose some teens for emotional regulation issues like Bi-polar Disorder or Depression. CALO treats trauma-induced emotional and behavioral problems. Our theoretical framework is based on attachment research. Our treatment model relies on relationships and attachment interventions to create lasting change. CALO is a relational, attachment-centered program. The following would be a partial list of the type of teenager CALO would specialize in treating: A teenage adoptee struggling to connect with parents and caregivers A teen who has been physically, emotionally, or sexually abused and is now acting out behaviorally A teen who has survived a trauma and cannot maintain emotional control A foreign-adopted teen who is not fitting in at home or at school and is draining emotional resources from his/her adopted family A teen with anger control issues and history of abuse or neglect An untrustworthy and sexually promiscuous teenager who does not enjoy deeper connection with family or caregivers CALO utilizes time, experiential successes, relationships, peer interactions, and our specialized environment to reach our troubled teen in a way not done by most other programs. Other generalist programs cannot treat our population as effectively or efficiently as CALO. We welcome questions about our treatment model. Feel free to email us at email@example.com.