Sunday, February 14, 2021

Ellen at Solstice Residential Treatment Center

This testimony was found on Google. All rights goes to the original author Ellen

Throughout my time at Solstice, I had Jeff as a therapist. He insisted that I did not have an eating disorder despite my existing diagnosis and my intrusive thoughts pertaining to my body weight/shape/size, exercise, and food intake. Prior to admitting to Solstice I did not have compulsive exercise tendencies because I was too depressed and simply used restriction as my disordered behavior. By the end of my time at Solstice, exercising no matter my mood felt necessary and easy to do. Once I left, I was consumed by my eating disorder worse than ever before, including both my old new behaviors. In the last months of the program I had begun to lose some of the weight that I would then lose before getting back into treatment (this time for eating disorders). I had only stopped engaging in most of my behaviors while I was there because I was desperate to leave the program and return home. This of course eased up as I reached the highest levels of the program, and the behaviors started returning. I would throw away food on Fridays, not eat dinner after horsemanship, sneakily count calories, push myself harder in my workouts, and more. It was second nature for me, and I had gotten back to it with no one noticing. I wouldn’t stop unless someone stopped me. With these behaviors came suicidal thoughts, so I decided to confess to Jeff. He had me continue with applying for my final level because he felt I should leave anyway. For what reason, I am unsure. I had been there for over a year and didn’t have anything left to gain, so I didn’t fight it. I went up in front of the treatment team, and when Jamie asked me if I was engaging in behaviors, I said yes. Jeff said to me in response, “Well weekly weights were done yesterday, and if you’re trying to lose weight you’re not doing a very good job.” When I went home shortly after, my mother and the scale confirmed that that had been wrong. I don’t know his motivation for saying that, but it was mortifying to hear in front of the whole room of people and especially because my eating disorder was louder than it had been for a while. Since leaving Solstice over three years ago, I have been in and out of eating disorder treatment at Monte Nido, only spending at most 3 months in a row in outpatient treatment. It has been nearly impossible, and I have lost significant amounts of weight over that time. None of the tens of therapists who I have had since Jeff have even doubted for a second that Anorexia Nervosa is my main diagnosis.

  • - The length of stay for a residential program should NEVER be so set in stone and should be flexible for each individual.
  • - The message given to parents to ignore their children, regardless of diagnosis, upon request to be pulled or sent home.
  • - The disregard for requests in switching therapists, ~50% of the success in therapy is found to be a result of a good match with patient and clinician.
  • - The harsh consequence based organization of the program, including children deciding the consequences and levels of other children (safety council), being forcefully silenced and punished if not done correctly (com-block), and so much more.
  • - The requirement (for most) to engage in exercise in a rigid manner despite clinical diagnosis that should suggest otherwise.

There are more things that I believe were wrong with the way that things were run, however I believe that those are more opinion based as opposed to based in true clinical negligence. I do understand that for some people, especially those with defiance disorders or tendencies, Solstice could be productive. The strict policies and follow-through with consequences can teach a different set of behaviors leaning towards respecting authority. However, for many, including myself, it should be indicated to prospective parents that this treatment is not for everyone. The parents should be informed of all treatment approaches used, and about the logic for length of stay for their individual child.

Early 2021 two teenage girls ran from the facility. They were not dressed for the winter. We pray that they can be brought back to California where they came from.


  • The original testimony on Google
  • Layton police ask for help to find missing teens (Fox 13 news)
  • Sunday, February 7, 2021

    Testimony concerning Solstice Residential Treatment Center

    This testimony was located on Google. All rights goes to the author.

    Firstly, a disclaimer: my views on solstice are solely opinions. While my feelings towards it are negative overall, I know that there are some who really appreciate the program.
    I have many feelings which cannot be explained in a review, so here's the overall pros/cons list.

    • -good trauma therapy
    • -opportunities for equine therapy & horsemanship
    • -outdoor recreation
    • -people can make lasting friendships there
    • -helps rework family dynamics
    • -provides structure which can be helpful for those who are struggling


    • -only 1 individual session/week; 1 family session a week
    • -very high staff turnover
    • -the group therapy is generally viewed as unhelpful (to most residents)
    • -residents are around mentors much more often than therapists; mentors are undertrained, and mostly burnt out college kids. this results in highly unprofessional conduct at times.
    • -very poor eating disorder treatment in general
    • -strict level system places pressure on residents to act perfect, so often times they'll lie and fake their way through the program
    • -extremely restrictive environment; it often times takes people 5+ months to even gain the privilege of walking in between buildings on campus unsupervised or carrying a backpack.
    • -personally speaking, only one person I'm still in contact with from Solstice actually appreciates the experience. The others either believe that it made them worse, or it helped them in some aspects but traumatized them in others.
    • -there are some kids that really struggle there. there were occasions (such as a kid who drew on the wall with their blood; a girl who had psychotic breaks; a girl who repeatedly self-harmed in front of others and cosistently tried to kill herself, etc) which create a really unsafe space for healing. Personally I believe that they needed to let go of residents who undoubtedly needed more support/care.
    • -they are a lot less holistic than it would seem... they certainly don't think that "food is medicine", as the nutrition is poor (gushers and Rice Krispies for snack, hamburgers/chips for meals, etc) and there is very little spiritual connection work there.
    • -overall most residents there are miserable; not because they need treatment, but because they ARE in treatment and solstice does not provide the healthiest of spaces for this.

    I hope this can help parents in making a decision in where to send their child.

    In the news

    Early 2021 two teenage girls ran from the facility despite the cold conditions which they were not dressed for. We can only pray for their safe return to California where they originally came from.


    Sunday, April 15, 2018

    A stay at Timberlawn in the 1970's

    This story was originally written on the message board called the Fornits Home for Wayward Webfora. All rights and credits goes to the unnamed author

    I was on the adolescent girls unit at Timberlawn for 2 years in the late 70's. Been thinking some lately about how I gloss over my past when people talk about attending high school reunions and such--I never talk about it. Anyway, googling Timberlawn survivor led me here.

    I was put into Timberlawn for having severe social anxiety disorder which led me to a "school phobia". I was an innocent and naive honor student when I went in, but after 2 years in that place I came out a jaded wild thing who couldn't wait to quit school and try drugs, sex and rock-n-roll (which I did). Even as teens we patients knew full well that for most of us, we would never be pronounced "cured" until our parent's insurance money ran out. I was never put in full restraints (although I saw it happen to many others), but several times I was on "split risk" which meant I had to travel around the campus in a wheelchair with a waist restraint (I ran away 4 times until I was finally discharged AMA), and I also often experienced "chair", "chair in the hall", "chair in the room", and "talking restriction" from specific fellow patients or from everyone. Back in the 70's they didn't use the friendlier term "room therapy" or "chair therapy" it was clearly called a "restriction".

    Oh the memories. I spent my late teens and 20's very bitter, my 30's trying to move on, and now in my mid-40's I've finally reached a sort of uneasy peace with this part of my life. I have to go now but have another story about what happened 10 years ago when I tried to go up there and look over my medical records (I wanted to read my "nurses notes"--a journal type thing we were forced to keep). If anyone's interested I'll share that later. Talk about adding insult to injury.

    Sometime around the year 2000 I decided I wanted to view my records from Timberlawn in an effort to find closure, put it behind me (this was 20+ years after discharge). On the Adolescent Unit, we were forced to keep a journal of sorts. They were held in a manila folder that was kept in the Nurses Station. The form we had to write on was lined and had a title at the top called "Nurses Notes". We were allowed to draw on/decorate the manila folder--one kind of pathetic thing I remember was that most every folder had little "john + mary =love4ever" stuff like teenagers write on things. After all we were teens locked up for years at the height of hormonal rage so there were always little romances going on with the boys on the other side of the unit...also some gay romances as well, of course. Since physical contact was extremely was very frustrating. Anyway...I digress. So each evening we had to get our Nurses Notes folder from the nurses station and write something about our day. We could write anything we wanted (such as "Timberlawn Sucks!"), but the nurses, aides, Docs all looked them over so we eventually learned not to write anything that could be used against us. If we did NOT write in our Nurses Notes we got punished with some time on chair (maybe an hour or so).

    20 plus years later the grownup me wanted to read these to connect with the teen me of then--know what I mean?

    I made several calls to Timberlawn and was told this was possible, but I needed to hurry as they would soon be destroying the records from my era. I had to make an appointment for a certain day, bring my ID. My car was old and high-mileage, so I spent $75.00 to rent a car and hightailed it to Dallas (I live elsewhere in Texas now). I was so excited and creeped out at the same time! I got there, went into the Whitehouse (shudder), showed my ID, and was taken to some big officey/warehousey kind of room. I was seated at a table, the office worker came toward me with a pile of records, set it in front of me, and IT WASN'T MINE! The first name started with the same letter, the last name was the same, but these were records for an older woman who was there at a different time than I was. I pointed this out & demanded MY records. There were phone calls made, hushed conversations held across the room with sidelong glances at me. Eventually I was told that MY records had been destroyed THE DAY BEFORE! I felt so screwed over and wounded by Timberlawn...again! After I got home I called up there and demanded I at least be re-imbursed for the car rental. After several calls were never returned I wrote a lengthy letter to the Doctor in Charge/Medical director whatever. I eventually recieved a check for $75.00 along with a terse note from this Doc that said "while I do not feel Timberlawn can be held responsible for your lack of adequate transportation"...blah blah. What a jerk!