Goodale School Promotes Sober Living for Teen Boys

The Goodale School's red brick building with white pillars along the front and flanked by trees.

Monarch’s Goodale School, located in Asheville, is a therapeutic boarding school for adolescent boys, ages 14- to 17-years old.

Monarch’s newest service, The Goodale School and Recovery Community in Asheville, is empowering teenage boys between the ages of 14 – 17 to live a sober, healthy life and heal from substance use and co-occurring mental health disorders.

The Goodale staff of recovery and mental health professionals, along with a well-rounded academic team, collaborate to create an individualized recovery and educational program for students. Goodale’s Executive Director Sally Burleson, M.S., LCAS, CCS, said this communicative, integrated, multi-faceted team approach is one of several ways Goodale teachers, mentors and clinicians stand apart from other similar adolescent recovery boarding programs in the country.

Goodale’s Clinical Recovery Components

Burleson, who also oversees Goodale’s clinical program, explained that it incorporates person-centered, evidence-based practices to directly address substance and co-occurring disorders such as anxiety, depression, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), trauma and grief, or gender identity issues. Students most often transfer following a stay in a therapeutic wilderness program, if not arriving from an inpatient rehabilitation program.

“We are a long-term, real-life recovery community that offers longevity of stay that will translate to longer term recovery success,” she said of the 10- to 12-month recovery program.

The Goodale School and Recovery Community focuses on five phases of healing and recovery involving the student’s family throughout. “We encourage family visits along with scheduled family therapy. We want to see the parents and the child work together, on and off campus, and be able to see what has changed in their communication,” she said.

Sally Burleson, Executive Director

Burleson explained that the program’s phases of recovery are connected to increasing levels of freedoms, such as weekend outings, and privileges, such as technology devices. “We really want our students to have the opportunity to demonstrate the ability to manage themselves well and be involved within the community . . . You can be clean and sober and engage in a typical adolescent world and life. That is our hope for them,” she commented.

Healing Through Therapy

Students are most often referred to Goodale through an educational consultant or care coordinator, matching students with recovery programs that fit their mental health and academic needs, explained Director of Admissions and Marketing Stacy Barnard: “Adolescence is an important time in their life and it is important to be amongst peers. It is a gift for these parents to be able to offer their sons an opportunity to experience communal sober living,” she said.

When a student first arrives, Lead Therapist Jordan Stevenot, M.A., LCMHC, LCAS-A, stressed that Goodale’s team is focused on a seamless transition from their initial placement. Group and individual therapy is part of the recovery program and therapists are available for one-on-one check-ins at any point. There are multiple family workshops scheduled throughout the program to support relational healing between students and families.

A concerted effort by all members of the staff offers a parent peace of mind when they learn who will be working and connecting with their child, Stevenot observed: “Parents learn how involved and integrated our staff is with students throughout the entire day with a team approach. Teachers talking to therapists, mentors talking to the directors – we are all communicating about their son so that we can give them the best and individualized care they need.”

Burleson said families often feel “relief” when they understand how important the team approach is at Goodale. “When they realize we are able to speak about that child and they say, ‘You got it. You know exactly who my child is’ and that is a huge relief to them,” she shared. “We understand that it is an honor and privilege that they are giving us to work with their child. “

Academic Support for Students

Alexis Allen, Academic Director

Academic Director Alexis Allen, M.Ed., Ed.S., explained that for many Goodale students, school has been a struggle because traditional instructional environments could not accommodate their learning needs. “Our small class size and one-on-one instruction help students who are having difficulties in school,” Allen explained. “For some students, academic challenges were a side effect of a substance use disorder. Our program is designed to support, engage, challenge and inspire all students.”

Allen noted that Goodale educators are committed to understanding the unique learning styles and needs of students in order to ensure they are experiencing an affirming and meaningful educational experience. “Our goal is to help them discover their talents, connect with course content and understand themselves as learners, while earning credits which will transfer toward high school graduation.”

A Goodale student’s day includes working out or some form of physical activity, classroom time, group therapy, outings and volunteer opportunities within the community. Director of Student Life Jeremiah Horne outlined activities such as visiting the local YMCA, taking advantage of Asheville’s greenways, hiking, kayaking and winter sports opportunities as well as the variety of community events.

The Goodale School’s academic program offers applicable graduation credits and is accredited by Cognia, a non-profit, non-governmental organization that accredits primary and secondary schools in the U.S. The program is licensed by the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services and is affiliated with Monarch, which is accredited by The Joint Commission. For more details about The Goodale School and Recovery Community, watch an informative video or take a virtual tour here:

Goodale academic classrooms and therapy rooms allow for one-on-one and group instruction and include the following, left to right: the mathematics classroom; the humanities classroom; and the group room. To take a virtual tour of The Goodale School, visit here.

Posted on: Friday January 29, 2021