Phases of Change, 5 of 6 – Trust Phase
By Maia Christopherson
This post is the fifth post in a six-part series discussing Discovery Ranch for Girls (DRG) Phases of Change. In this post, we’ll discuss the fourth phase: Trust.
A Natural Progression
Who do we trust? We trust the people in our lives who can rely upon to 1) meet their obligations (Duty) and also 2) do what is right (Justice). The phase system is not arbitrary. It is the natural extension of what has come before in the process.
The Importance of Interdependence
When girls advance to the Trust Phase, they are moving from the independent portion of the phase system to the interdependent portion. While being independent might seem ideal, being independent can mean working in isolation. Becoming interdependent is important because it means people are participating in their community.
Doing our duties and making good choices are the foundation of independence. Therefore, a person who can master those two things will be able to take care of themselves. They will live an emotionally healthy life. But there is so much more to life than simply taking care of our own obligations and needs. The final two interdependent phases at DRG represent the bonds, relationships, and unity that give life its greatest meaning.
A Mirror to the Real World
Likewise, as with all of our phases, the Trust Phase also describes what the student is experiencing in her life at the ranch. A student in the Trust Phase experiences trusts in a range of ways. For example, a student may feel trusted because of the increased program responsibilities and confidence placed in her. She might also appreciate the personal trust and leadership expectations of her staff and student relationships. In addition, she might value the great freedoms and privileges she enjoys in her daily life at the ranch. She finds opportunities to experience trust and demonstrate her trustworthiness every day.
In order to complete their Trust Phase, our girls have to meet the following residential, clinical, and academic goals:
- Be trusted with freedoms and responsibilities
- Be a positive influence in a wide range of daily interactions
- Seek opportunities to be relied upon
- Show healthy confidence in herself, and also her own insights, and abilities
- Demonstrate commitment to DRG values and expectations
- Genuinely seek meaningful connections and communication
- Approach difficulties as opportunities for personal growth
- Excel in all Therapeutic Goals
- Develop and lead a Forget About Me (FAM) project
- Complete Family Autobiography
- Finish Family Roles and Teenage Decision assignments
- Complete Personal Values Assignment
- Conduct an effective therapy group according to the established protocols
- Read Anatomy of Peace and Stop Walking on Eggshells and complete assignments
- Complete What Role Will Perseverance Play in My Success? assignment
- Complete a successful home visit
- Consistently demonstrate honesty and integrity
- Demonstrate the ability to challenge herself and others while accepting faults
- Proactively address her own treatment concerns and likewise encourage others
- Do not require classroom motivators or supervision to work
- Understand and take ownership of academic goals and progress
- Challenge self to full academic potential
- Average 3–4 concepts per week in the recommended subjects
When girls advance to their Trust phase, they receive buckles for their split reins. While the reins may have represented things to take hold of in life, such as Duty and Justice, those things alone are not enough to connect with others. It is through the buckles that the students can connect to a horse. The horse is a living thing with personality, strengths, needs, weaknesses, and fears. The girls cannot physically overpower a horse, but through a properly applied set of reins, they can communicate with the horse and work together.
The buckles, therefore, represent Trust, which is “the confident expectation of integrity or ability in a person or thing.” The horse must trust each girl to make wise, careful use of both reins, just as our girls must trust the horse to respond calmly and with reason. Likewise, the most genuine, fulfilling relationships will form when our girls know that those around them have come to expect Duty and Justice from them. As a result, our girls will find the best relationships when there is Trust.