Monday, August 30, 2021

Annie's testimony about Solstice Residential Treatment Center

This testimony was located on Yelp and might be gone if the marketing department of the facility has removed it. All rights goes to the author Annie

I attended solstice rtc for almost 2 years starting in 2015 and graduated the summer of 2016. It was the most traumatizing experience of my life. I would rather have anything happen to me again from my pre solstice trauma than ever go back there. I still have nightmares that I'm there and even though I'm too old to be forced back it is still my biggest fear.

The emotional abuse was horrific. I was forced to clean bloody tampons out of the toilet with my bare hands by the lower level staff who weren't being supervised on multiple locations. They force patients to sign off on treatment plans that include diagnosis's, medication, and bullshit "progress reports". If you don't they withhold your privileges. They also force patients to meet with perspective parents and intrerveiw with them. They tell the parents before each interview that they (the parents) can ask us (the residents) any question and we can answer however we want, without fear of retribution. THIS IS NOT TRUE. As a patient, I had to lie to the many parents and guardians about solstice. If someone didn't , the other girls in the room would snitch in the person telling the truth. That's why they always put at least two of us if possible in the room, preferably three. I will live with the guilt of convincing people to send their children to solstice and for covering those "people" for the rest of my life's. Please don't make the same mistake.

They once took a girl's speaking privileges away did weeks. She couldn't SPEAK to staff, therapists, or patients, or HER FAMILY for weeks. She slept in a (finished basement). She wasn't allowed to go to groups, school, or therapy. This was because she kissed a couple girls and lied about it. They sometimes made us, the patients vote on whether or not we wanted this to happen to people. They didn't always listen to the vote, but still. They call this "positive peer pressure". I can assure you, this pressure is nothing more than rewarded bullying and emotional abuse. It was this emotional abuse that lead to my suicide attempt, while in the program. The pressure was nonstop. My therapist, literally said they would, " break [me] down to build [me] back up."

They broke me for so long. By the time I left, I was almost completely brainwashed. I believe what had been drilled into my head again and again. They told me I wasn't abused as a child, that I never had a "legitimate" eating disorder, that I didn't use substances before solstice and so much more. They also convinced me that the awful things that they did there were a result of my poor decisions that led me there. If I was bothered by the abuse or stood up for myself it was because I was "entitled". It makes me want to throw up to know that my name and face are still proudly displayed on the walls as a success story. I am, but in spite of solstice, not because of it. I will never erase the guilt of helping that system run, you don't want to feel the same way, I promise.

This place should be shut down, it robbed me of my own voice and autonomy in a way my previous physical, emotional, and sexual abuse can't compare to. They bill themselves as a tough love treatment center that will give you you kid back again. In one way, they were right, but only in the sense that I would literally prostitue myself before ever going back. Please don't let this happen to anyone else. No child deserves what happens behind those close doors

Sources:

The original testimony on Yelp

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.

Sources

  • 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.
    Pros:

    • -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

    Cons:

    • -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.

    Sources