The Mental Health Department of the school is composed of therapists from a diverse range of disciplines, including social work, music therapy, psychology, and DIR®/Floortime™. All of the clinical staff work with the students from a relational psychology model, providing individual and small group counseling, music therapy, support groups and case conference and consultation to families, psychoeducation and advocacy in transitional planning. In addition, the clinical staff provide consultation in the classrooms, lead staff process groups and didactic trainings, and are active in case conferences as a vital members of each student’s interdisciplinary team. The mission of the Department is in keeping with the therapeutic model of Rebecca School which believes that learning and creativity are maximized within a framework of safe, genuine and secure relationships. The Department utilizes the Developmental Individual- difference Relationship (DIR®) model developed by Dr. Stanley Greenspan. This therapeutic approach proceeds from the core tenet that relationships are the foundation of effective psychological and psychosocial interventions, academic learning, and social development.
OUR STUDENTS AND THE REBECCA SCHOOL MODEL
The students who attend Rebecca School have neurodevelopmental delays in relating & communicating, including autism spectrum disorders and pervasive developmental disorders. The academic program places the relationships each staff member has with the children at the fore regardless of the neurodevelopmental level of the student. Since most of the students have difficulties with communicating and relating, the clinical and academic staff use the DIR® model in their work with students to enhance students’ abilities in self-regulation, frustration tolerance, problem-solving, meaningful social interactions, and joyful, creative play. DIR® and the relational psychology theoretical orientation share many core beliefs and trainees receive extensive applied and theoretical training on DIR® and relational psychology.
CONTINUOUS TRAINING AND PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT
Rebecca School clinicians are distinguished for their focus on continuous clinical training and professional development. In addition to attending a wide range of conferences, the clinical staff are active participants in professional presentations and scholarly writing. The staff provide in-house, didactic seminars on a weekly basis and coordinate the Greenspan conference which includes the family of the student being presented, and the entire school staff.