Clinical Background

The Diamond summer program uses a research based intensive treatment designed to improve the defiant, impulsive and noncompliant behaviors that the children present. Each bunk has a 2:1 camper to counselor ratio. The counselors consist of individuals who are in a masters or college level program. They are usually pursuing a career in the field of psychology, and receive an extensive one week training before camp begins. The counselors also attend continued training throughout the summer in which we focus on the accuracy of the delivery of the point system and to focus on individual goals for each child. Each child is analyzed from a clinical perspective and the counselors develop an approach to analyzing and treating the children. The program looks for counselors who are responsible, caring, patient, and passionate to help children.

The program utilizes a point system in which campers earn points for positive behaviors and lose points for negative behaviors. The focus of the treatment is recognizing and reinforcing the positive behaviors that the children present. This has been shown to significantly increase the amount of appropriate behaviors. The positive behaviors that the program focuses on are following directives, paying attention, good sportsmanship, social skills, sharing and helping peers, frustration tolerance and following basic activity rules.  Maladaptive behaviors are addressed in a non emotional way. The negative behaviors that are extinguished are defiance, aggression, inappropriate speech, and complaining.  The campers earn weekly trips by improving on their previous weeks points.

The day consists of natural camp activities. Each activity starts off with a pre-correction of the rules. Every 15 minutes the children receive feedback for following the activity rules. This helps sustain the positive behaviors that the children are already performing.  At the end of activities, campers get specific feedback regarding points earned and behaviors they excelled in and those that need improvement.

Throughout the day counselors engage in conversations focusing on cognitive shaping, awareness and alignment. There are social skills training during the day that help children understand their own emotional, physiological and verbal communication skills while helping the children recognize and dissect social cues to better improve future interaction with peers. There are daily clinical staff meetings to gage each child’s behaviors and create an individualized plan based on the function of the child’s behaviors.

Coinciding with the behavior treatment plan, parents are encouraged to participate in a parent training. The program is taught by the directors of the camp using a well researched parenting program. Parents have found this program to be life altering in that the training gives parents techniques to address previous “impossible behaviors”. Parents develop expertise in managing difficult behaviors so that they can continue the success that their child has during the day.  Our design is Multi-Modal in that the child benefits from both the in-camp experience and treatment delivered by the parents in the home.

It is an eight week treatment plan that focuses on rebuilding the relationship, teaching helpful tactics, and creating a home system that allows the family to structure the home in a positive way.

Click below to view a seminar given by one of our clinical directors, Dr. Yitzchak Goldberg PhD.

Understanding the Heads and Hearts of Your Students