The Farm



iStock_000014443240MediumProgram Vision

The Farm is the provider of choice for adolescent substance abuse treatment in the Midwest. The Farm’s primary purpose is to provide a unique rural treatment environment where youth struggling with substance abuse and related co-existing problems can learn skills to live happier, healthier, and more productive lives.

How The Farm Achieves Its Vision

The Farm’s unique setting was purposely chosen to give adolescents a place to  disconnect from the multiple risk factors influencing their lives.  Maladaptive coping skills learned in their environment do not work in a Therapeutic Community where the peer group provides positive support and influence without the distractions of the adolescent’s everyday life.  The Farm’s environment breaks down barriers and allows the evidence-based practices our staff are trained in to work.  Our staff utilizes elements of multiple research proven clinical practices including: Twelve-Step Facilitation Therapy; Motivational Interviewing (MI); Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT); Experiential Therapy (ET); Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy (REBT); and Equine Assisted Psychotherapy (EAP).  All of these evidence-based practices are used within the context of a Therapeutic Community.  Our multi-disciplinary team of Substance Abuse Counselors, Community Support Specialists, Teachers, Peer Specialists, Psychiatrist, Nurse, Equine Therapist, and Techs are all dedicated to the provision of holistic care that addresses the eight dimensions of wellness: emotional, physical, social spiritual, intellectual, occupational, financial, and environmental.

The actual length of stay at The Farm will be determined by the client’s progress in treatment, however the minimum recommended stay is 60 days. Any stay longer than 60 days will be based upon clinical recommendations and will be decided jointly with the client, parents/guardians, and the treatment team. The client’s stay could also be less than 60 days if sufficient progress toward identified treatment goals is seen. The involvement of family in the treatment process is seen as a vital component and The Farm will offer weekly Family Education, Site-based Family Therapy, and in-home Family Therapy. Research is very clear about the role that families play in an adolescent’s recovery and every effort to gain the families participation will be made.

Our hope is that clients who participate in The Farm treatment program will not only learn the skills necessary to remain abstinent from substances but will also learn positive social skills, essential life skills, and improved self-efficacy.

The Therapeutic Community Approach

The Farm’s Therapeutic Community approach emphasizes the collaborative effort between clients and staff.  The atmosphere is intended to be “non-institutional” with mutual compassion, cooperation, nurturing and warmth replacing the sometimes cold, clinical atmosphere experienced in some other programs.  The Therapeutic Community also stresses the importance of the peer group as a means of support and influence.  The peer group will hold significant power in molding, shaping, and influencing behavior of participants.  This approach has been found to be far more effective in engaging adolescents in their own recovery.  The ultimate goal in the Therapeutic Community is for clients to develop self-worth, a sense of accountability, dignity, and positive regard for others.  Helping and caring for other clients and The Farm itself will teach clients to care for themselves and have respect for people around them and their environment.

While staff will take an active role in guiding the community, as well as confronting and diffusing inappropriate behavior, their primary role is to encourage and teach clients how to become  leaders themselves.

Therapy Services

Evidence-based practices are used by The Farm staff for treatment of clients. This means that practices are peer-reviewed and of the best standard available. The Farm staff also use theory and evidence-based practices in developing and utilizing group and individual directives. The following services are provided for clients throughout their stay at The Farm.

Clients will meet and communicate with their psychiatrist based on their needs.

Clients meet with an assigned therapist at least once per week for a 50 minute session. Psychological, emotional, and behavioral issues are addressed.
Clients and their families are expected to meet with client’s primary therapist at least four (4) times throughout the client’s stay at The Farm. The session will last for 50 minutes either at The Farm or over the phone. Family or guardians of the client are to meet with a family therapist weekly, separate from their client and The Farm, either through Bridgeway Behavioral Health or their referral source, if possible.

Family education group will be held with family and clients every Saturday from 1-3pm. Topics may include but are not limited to: communication, boundaries, structure and consistency, and roles in the family structure. During Chapter 2 and Chapter 3, there is opportunity to visit with your client from 3-5pm immediately following Education group. Clients who are Chapter 1 will be able to attend Education Group with their families if not on behavior contract.

Families are required to attend Education Group in order to visit with their client the following day (Sunday). If Education Group cannot be attended on Saturday due to a scheduling conflict, a referral will be made.

These groups are facilitated by a counselor and occur twice daily for approximately 60 to 120 minutes each session. On some occasions the groups are divided according to Chapter. Each of these groups uses a specific curriculum.
Motivational Interviewing is a goal-oriented, collaborative conversation used to strengthen a person’s own motivation and commitment to change. With MI, The Farm staff do not impose their opinion, but rather acknowledge the opinion of the client and identify his motivations and skills for change. MI recognizes that true power for change rests within the client, which encourages feelings of empowerment as well as responsibility.
Life skills group is held at least one time a week and educates clients concerning living skills such as money management and budgeting, job attainment, community resources, apartment and home care, environmental issues, health and hygiene, transportation safety, clothing/linen care, and first aid.  Individual treatments are provided when ordered by the physician and address issues such as sensory processing difficulties and sometimes advanced living skills for clients who are nearing the age of 18 and/or who are getting ready to leave the facility and/or who are working on a separate track toward their GED.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) relates thoughts, feelings, and behaviors to one another to help identify patterns of thinking that lead to destructive behavior. Once the thoughts are identified, they are challenged to form a more realistic interpretation of events.
Narrative therapy separates the person from the problem and encourages people to rely on their own skills to address the problem. Throughout life, personal experiences are transformed into personal stories that are given meaning. Narrative therapy utilizes the power of people’s personal stories to find insight and understanding to better address future problems. Clients will be using narrative therapy throughout their stay at The Farm as a form of documentation of their accomplishments and learning experiences.
Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT), a form of CBT, specifically focuses on an event, the belief about the event, and the emotional and behavioral responses that occur within the person or family in response. Clients learn that they have little to no control of events, however do have control of their beliefs, and thus have greater control of their emotional and behavioral responses to the initial event.
Wilderness therapy and Outdoor Behavioral Healthcare are subsets of Adventure-based Therapy. OBH at The Farm includes but is not limited to gardening, land maintenance, and hiking. There are four main objectives of wilderness programming:

  1. Recreation
  2. Education/Training
  3. Development
  4. Psychotherapy

The common outcome of OBH is increased respect for one’s self and surroundings, as the activities encourage teamwork as well as building of self-reliance.

“(Outdoor behavioral healthcare is) an eclectic therapeutic model based on a family systems perspective with a cognitive behavioral treatment emphasis. This approach integrates the therapeutic factors of wilderness experience with a nurturing and intense therapeutic process, which helps clients access feelings and emotions suppressed by anger, drugs, alcohol, and depression,”  (Russell 2001, co-founder of OBH).

Those who are familiar with horses recognize and understand the power of horses to influence people in incredibly powerful ways.  Developing relationships, training, horsemanship instruction, and caring for horses naturally affects the people involved in a positive manner.


The benefits of work ethic, responsibility, assertiveness, communication, and healthy relationships have long been recognized. Horses naturally provide these benefits.  The use of horses is growing and gaining popularity with the rise of Equine Assisted Psychotherapy and Equine Assisted Learning.

We are often asked, “Why horses?  Why not other animals?”

Naturally intimidating to many, horses are large and powerful. This creates a natural opportunity for some to overcome fear and develop confidence. Working alongside a horse, in spite of those fears, creates confidence and provides wonderful insight when dealing with other intimidating and challenging situations in life.

Like humans, horses are social animals, with defined roles within their herds.  They would rather be with their peers. They have distinct personalities, attitudes and moods; an approach that works with one horse won’t necessarily work with another.  At times, they seem stubborn and defiant.  They like to have fun.  In other words, horses provide vast opportunities for metaphorical learning, an effective technique when working with even the most challenging individuals or groups.

Horses require us to work, whether in caring for them or working with them.  In an era when immediate gratification and the “easy way” are the norm, horses require people to be engaged in physical and mental work to be successful, a valuable lesson in all aspects of life.

Most importantly, horses mirror human body language.  Many complain, “This horse is stubborn.  That horse doesn’t like me,” etc.  The lesson is that if they change themselves, the horses respond differently.  Horses are honest, which makes them especially powerful messengers.  (EAGALA 2013)

The American Art Therapy Association (AATA) states: “Art therapy…facilitated by the art therapist, use(s) art media, the creative process, and the resulting artwork to explore (client) feelings, reconcile conflicts, foster self-awareness, manage behavior and addictions, develop social skills, improve reality orientation, reduce anxiety, and increase self-esteem. A goal in art therapy is to improve or restore a client’s functioning and his or her sense of personal well-being” (AATA, 2013).

Often clients state “I’m not an artist” or “I can’t draw”, and express that participation is not possible because of this. Art Therapy does not require strong artistic skill to be beneficial or valuable to the client. Humans are naturally creative beings, and often will communicate visually what words cannot fully express. Art Therapy at The Farm utilizes several types of media, including but not limited to paint, sculpture, drawing, fibers, and collage—often using natural items found on site. Art Therapy is a versatile therapeutic modality utilized both indoors and outdoors on The Farm. Art Therapy takes the form of various theories , including experiential, CBT, humanistic, and others. Art Therapy at The Farm is conducted by the primary counselor, a trained art therapist.

Recreation therapy is held daily. Recreation groups and outings provide resources and opportunities to help clients develop and use their leisure time in ways that enhance their mental and emotional health, functional abilities, independence and quality of life.
Music is everywhere in our society and can influence our thoughts, feelings, beliefs and attitudes about situations and the way we live our lives.  In a treatment facility it is vital to understand how music affects the clients and the progress in treatment. This group is designed to give clients and staff the opportunity to share with others the kind of music they like and why.  It is also designed to help introduce other kinds of music. Clients and staff will have the opportunity to play approved selected music for the staff and their peers.
This group is designed to help clients process their thinking in a group setting and receive additional help. The process group is designed to show the client how to define a difficult situation and what thoughts are associated with that situation. The client learns to recognize risky thoughts and then redirect those thoughts. Group Process is a key component of the program.

Process Group Structure

  • Identify a brief, objective description of the situation.
  • Communicate all the thoughts in that situation.
  • Communicate all the feelings relating to that situation.
  • Identify any missing thoughts or feelings.
  • Identify key thinking that would get you in trouble.
  • Identify new thinking that will lead away from trouble.
The Farm has a unique schedule that provides a general topic for that day of treatment. This topic will be the underlying theme for all related activities and discussions for that day. Topics include, but are not limited to: responsibility, self esteem, family systems, relapse prevention, and listening.
As an on-line accredited school, The Farm School allows students to continue earning credits toward graduation while addressing individual treatment goals.  Clients attend school throughout the calendar year.
Once a week the clients have the opportunity to complete extra cleaning of their personal living areas. Clients are taught general cleaning skills, such as sweeping, mopping, washing mirrors, etc.  The purpose of this group is to improve independent living skills and help the clients learn the importance of taking responsibility of their living space and keeping a clean living area for themselves as well as those they live with.  Clients will not be expected to complete tasks that are above their physical or mental abilities.  Clients are expected to complete daily maintenance as well throughout the week.
The Farm setting allows clients to participate in farm related activities while on site. These activities will have a therapeutic component, as the setting of The Farm will allow for meaningful relationships to form while preforming farm-related duties. Clients will be able to provide support to farm related programs, such as animal care/support, gardening, and land management.
As a part of the client’s treatment, the client has an opportunity to leave a positive imprint on The Farm grounds through identification and completion of a service project. The client will identify a need at The Farm and present the idea to the treatment team. Examples of project ideas include building a bench, planting a tree, or building a birdhouse. The purpose of the service project overall is to better the community of The Farm.
It is crucial for individuals to have a plan in place prior to leaving residential treatment to help make the transition process as smooth as possible. The adolescent counselor and Community Support Specialist will develop an aftercare plan with the client, family or guardian, and community resources to identify transition options and establish ongoing support outside of residential treatment to be in place upon discharge from The Farm. Information on available resources will be included, as well as relapse prevention education in family education sessions and in the daily topics.
The Farm

PO Box 270
Winfield, MO  63389

P 844.224.2400 (toll-free)