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A Day in the Life of Day Treatment


On any given day, the members of the Day Treatment team may sit and talk with a student, run a group therapy session, or provide much needed crisis intervention services. Officially the team provides clinical support to children, families, and teachers. But as Heather Dunleavy, Director of Day Treatment says, “There is a misconception about what we do. We are not just behavior management. Our priority is addressing the underlying problem that is interfering with a child’s education.”

Day Treatment is one of the therapeutic departments on the Winston-Salem campus of Crossnore School & Children’s Home. The Day Treatment staff works with kids who attend Kingswood School, a Winston-Salem/Forsyth County public school located on our campus. Students come to Kingswood if their mental health needs would best be served in an alternative educational setting so they can be successful in school. Students have counselors with them in their classes and attend afternoon group therapy sessions. The goal is to return each student to a traditional classroom setting. Typically, day treatment can last 9 to 12 weeks, but more often it will last 18 to 27 weeks in order to make sure the students are meeting their goals before transitioning back to a traditional classroom. The day treatment staff offers both individual and family therapy. Therapy types may include Trauma Focused-Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT), substance abuse counseling, EAGALA equine therapy, art therapy, music therapy, mindfulness in group therapy, and the Sanctuary SELF model in group therapy. Success is then measured by a child using the skills they are learning in day treatment within their families and their communities.

We want them to have the necessary life and social skills to succeed in their chosen path.

“We see the greatest success when legal guardians are involved,” said Heather. Day Treatment is in session year round, even when school is not in session. A Summer Enrichment Program is offered each summer where students can learn and practice social skills and character development, while receiving therapeutic education and academic tutoring. The therapists work hard to build relationships with the children they serve, to communicate all of the child’s needs with the whole team, and to build rapport. That rapport is key to making changes in a child’s life.

For those students who come into day treatment, completing their education is the ultimate goal. This may include vocational education for those students who would plan to go straight to a job after graduation. This transition is very important for all the children who graduate in our care. We want them to have the necessary life and social skills to succeed in their chosen path.

Day Treatment is a vital service for our children and one that keeps the staff on their feet, according to Kashema Samuels, Day Treatment Supervisor. “Every day is different around here, even with the same kid!”

For more information about Day Treatment programs, contact Debbie Dean, Admissions Specialist, at (828) 721-7600 or ddean@crossnore.org.