Shepherds Hill Academy Review
Shepherds Hill Academy is a program that specifically targets troubled teens. There are separate boys and girls program, both of which has a wilderness aspect and holistic approaches, such as equine therapy. This 12 month program focuses on clients strengths through a biblically based approach that is completely technology free. This program addresses a variety of issues that teens of today may face, including addiction, anger issues, mood disorders, PTSD and trauma. Evidence-based therapies are used during group and individual therapy, along with the academically focused curriculums. Shepherds Hill Academy was founded in the 90’s by Trace Embry and his wife, Beth.
Accommodations and Food
Shepherds Hill is situated on 185 acres of farmland that accommodates up to 36 students. The girls and boys are separated entirely and live on opposite sides of the campus, with their cabins within equal distance to the main buildings.
A unique aspect of the residential program is that clients live in rustic cabins with no running water or electricity, and are heated by wood burning stoves. The main campus building is where the bathrooms and showers are, along with laundry facilities, classrooms, and the cafeteria. The students eat three healthy meals together with their group.
Other amenities available on campus includes a fitness room with free weights, a fishing pond and dock, and in-ground swimming pool.
Treatment and Staff
Within the first 30 days in the program, a staff therapist puts together a 25 page treatment plan for each student. This packet details the initial evaluation and diagnosis, and plan of action while in the program. At its completion, clients and their families meet with their therapist to discuss the program and what to expect.
A staple of this program is that the clients are forced to operate without the use of any electronics at all. The idea behind this model is that without the constant stimuli that modern technology provides the students learn how to emotionally regulate and problem solve on their own. This also encourages community and team building efforts.
The boys program requires they contribute to building and repairing projects on campus, while the girls track entails homestead projects, like caring for the animals and learning how to shear sheep.
Therapeutic methods include CBT, REBT, elements of DBT, art therapy, yoga therapy, sand tray therapy, and Family Systems.
The boys and girls staff include LPC, LAPC, Christian Counselors, and yoga and equine therapy specialists.
Family therapy is required for clients to remain in the program. The family sessions begin after clients have been in the program for four months. These sessions are monthly for 60 minutes. For family members who are not able to attend these meetings in person, there are video conferencing options available.
During the school year students go on several field trips to local museums, dinner and a movie, festivals, camping, and visits to the aquarium and planetarium. Students also participate in community events, take care of the campus animals, gardening, and group sports.
While the idea of teenagers being forced to give up their electronics for any length of time probably sounds like torture to them, Shepherds Hill Academy may be onto something. By removing the teens from a culture that discourages personal connections and toxic interactions, they learn how to handle things using their minds, with the end result being a boost in self esteem and self worth.
Shepherds Hill Academy Location
2200 Price Rd
Martin, GA 30557
Shepherds Hill Academy Cost
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