Carlbrook School Joins The Association of Recovery Schools

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Carlbrook School, a nationally renowned boarding school for struggling adolescents in Southern Virginia, is excited to announce that it has been accepted as an Institutional Member to The Association of Recovery Schools (ARS). The mission of ARS is to promote, strengthen and expand programs designed for students and families committed to both education and recovery. Members of ARS must fit specific eligibility requirements that support a recovery curriculum and enroll students committed to being abstinent from alcohol and other drugs.

Increasing the accessibility of recovery communities among college campuses has been of growing interest in the last decade, based largely on Texas Tech University’s initiative to assist schools with developing and implementing programs across the country. During the summer of 2011, the Association for Recovery in Higher Education was formed, with membership from twenty major colleges and universities, in an effort to further the cause of establishing recovery programs for students seeking support during their collegiate careers. Recognizing the importance of such initiatives, recovery orientated programs have now been adopted on college campuses across the country, most recently at Penn State University and the University of Michigan.

In an effort to further the presence of recovery support among secondary schools, Carlbrook is proud to join ARS, which is comprised of a select number of highly regarded academic institutions sharing in the commitment to support students in recovery, including Case Western Reserve University, Rutgers University, University of Texas at Austin, University of Virginia and University of Vermont. To see the full list of Institutions affiliated with ARS, go to: http://www.recoveryschools.org/schools.html.

Over the last six years, the Recovery Services Program at Carlbrook School has established a robust curriculum to support its students and families in recovery. All students enrolled at Carlbrook, irrespective of having a history of substance use, are required to participate in the general recovery services programming at the school with additional components available for students actively working in the recovery process.

In accordance with the eligibility criteria of The Association of Recovery Schools, Carlbrook offers the following recovery programming for its students and families:

  • A mandatory academic course focused on educating students about the physiological impact of drug and alcohol use on brain development and overall health. All students are scheduled to take this course within the first four terms of their enrollment at Carlbrook.
  • A series of psychotherapeutic groups, which utilize Rational Behavioral Training and Motivational Enhancement Therapy to address students’ concerns related to substance use. The interpersonal group model provides a venue for students to openly discuss their ambivalence, learn practical techniques to minimize risks and increase skills for building healthy relationships and support systems. In particular, motivation-focused interventions are used to prepare students for the challenges that they may face when leaving Carlbrook, helping them to make conscious choices that emphasize a delay of use.
  • Carlbrook sponsors the Family Brain Defense conference, which focuses on assisting families with continuing to establish a supportive recovery environment in their next school by utilizing the latest clinical research and brain science on adolescent development. The primary aim is to address the underlying issues related to substance abuse, prepare for the future and maximize the likelihood of success after graduation from Carlbrook School.
  • For students actively working their recovery, 12-Step fellowship meetings are offered on the Carlbrook campus throughout the week, with both open and closed meetings available. In addition, a young people’s meeting is held each Sunday by members of a local recovery group, which provides additional opportunity for sponsorship, step-work and book work. The interaction with members of the community also increases the amount of exposure students have to individuals living in recovery outside of a treatment program or rehab facility, an important aspect of the process.
  • The Department of Transition Services at Carlbrook School is a program designed to offer comprehensive support to all students and families for a minimum of one year following graduation. All students work directly with a Transition Counselor prior to graduating in order to establish a detailed plan for maintaining sobriety and achieving continued success outside of the school. Further, students and families remain in regular contact with these counselors for the entirety of their transition year to ensure a healthy adjustment into their next school environment.

It is with great pride that Carlbrook joins in the mission of The Association of Recovery Schools to provide support to students choosing to live in recovery while pursuing their education. Consistent with the vision of ARS, Carlbrook School will continue to enhance its programming to ensure students have access to a recovery community throughout their academic career.

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Anna Gerard
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