If your approach to health and wholeness is only targeting symptoms with a top-down approach, you may only be addressing half the issue, at best. Addressing symptoms is often necessary and can alleviate some suffering, but learning to cope is not as good as it gets! That would be like treating the symptoms of heart disease but doing nothing to build your overall heart health through things diet, exercise, or smoking cessation.
The approach at Compass Rose Academy goes leaps beyond symptom reduction to build inner resources for overall healthy relationships and functioning. It’s one thing to learn skills to manage depressing thoughts; it’s another level to build resources into your life to alleviate depression.
Here is a quick snapshot of the main areas where we focus on building inner resources based on sound clinical theory:
- Bonding – Relationships are the fuel for life and with strong relationships, you’re never left without a way to meet your needs. Fostering healthy, need-based attachments in your life is step one to building inner resources. Become aware of relational needs and reach out to safe relationships to meet those needs in relational ways.
- Boundaries – Owning your life and taking responsibility for your health, problems, functioning, and relationships is a vital next step. Blaming and avoiding feels good in the short-run but sets the stage for mental health and relational woes. As we bring definition to who we are as individuals and carve out what is ours to own, we are building a foundation for both short-term and long-term health and wholeness.
- Reality – Being able to hold both the good and the bad parts of life is the next key to overall health. How much depression or anxiety is driven by shame, perfectionism, low self-worth, self-judging, and guilt? So much relief and healing come from learning to grieve well and integrate the joyous and painful realities of life within the context of safe relationships.
- Competence – Building meaning and purpose into our lives is essential to mental health. Meaning-making and developing a healthy sense of agency allows us to create the empowerment necessary to make life good, not just for ourselves, but for others also.
Make sure you’re not just dealing with the “fruit” in your life, but get to the “root” as well by fostering inner resources to successfully face the challenges of life.
Mike Haarer is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor in the state of Indiana. He has worked in the field of adolescent residential treatment since 2004 when he began at White’s Residential & Family Services serving court-ordered adolescents in residential treatment through Indiana’s Department of Child Services. Initially, he specialized in the area of sexually maladaptive behaviors and was a Credentialed Sexually Abusive Youth Clinician. Mike studied under Psychologist and Author Dr. John Townsend, completing three years of his Counselor Training Program concentrated on emotion-focused, character-based Psychodynamic psychotherapy. He is working on his Ph.D. in Counselor Education & Supervision at Regent University in Virginia Beach and has served as an adjunct professor at Huntington University’s Graduate Counseling program. Mike presents on a variety of topics at local, regional, and national conferences and trains residential staff on Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. He has served as the Executive Director of Compass Rose Academy since its founding in 2012 and lives on the Wabash, Ind. campus along with his wife, Emily, and two daughters, Corabelle and Olivia.