Milieu Centric

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    Live in a real-life small town setting.

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    Heal and unlock self-awareness of true potential.

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    Find success as an emerging adult.

Clinically Oriented Enriched Milieu

At Calo Young Adults, emphasis is placed on clinical concepts and goals throughout the milieu, not just during therapy sessions. This framework allows all interactions with students to become relevant, meaningful, and clinically sound. Together, programmatic aspects ensure coordination among the client and family, the program staff, and the clinical team. As a result, the student attains continuous guidance for therapeutically oriented actions throughout the day.

Because Calo Young Adults clinicians not only provide individual, group, and family psychotherapy but also work daily with all other staff, psychotherapeutic considerations are integrated into the entire program. A participant’s individual therapist supported by other members of the clinical staff, as well as the residential staff, and coordinators, all work together to create a tight knit team focused on the support of each individual in the program.

Multiple members of this team interact with the participant throughout each day regarding very specific as well as general issues. On a daily basis, house team members provide information to the clinical team who in turn provide on-going guidance for the overall treatment process. Consistent, daily therapeutic and behavioral monitoring makes this level of intervention possible.

Quantified Performance Regularly Reviewed

Each week, the treatment team, which consists of staff from every department, meets to review the treatment plan of each student. This discussion and updating of treatment goals provide the basis of objective, personalized feedback for each client. Methods that emphasize compassionate delivery drive the therapeutic process and create healing moments that increase self-awareness of true potential.

The Calo Young Adults is unique in the following ways:

Maximally Customized Program

The Calo Young Adults program is about YOU. From the initial meeting, we help you identify the specific reasons that have resulted in your consideration of a program. We listen to your story and your goals and with this basic information, we work with you to construct your program. This “you-centric” approach continues throughout your time at Calo Young Adults.



Success in educational and vocational endeavors is a critical benchmark during emerging adulthood.


At Calo Young Adults, we live in a thriving college town with many engaging opportunities. Our staff will support you in identifying a position in the community that is aligned with your goals.

Haven’t graduated from high school? Not a problem. We can arrange for a tutor to work with your home school, an on-line school or a local GED program to get you the credits you need to fast track college acceptance. Not sure about work? We can provide you with resources to arrange a volunteer position and introduce you to the world of work before you take that next step toward looking for a paid job.

For students with a high school diploma, Shenandoah University provides opportunities for attending school with the support from Calo Young Adults staff. Other options include computer-based educational programs and in some cases, coordination with a student’s home school.

Local College Opportunities

Shenandoah University has grown considerably since 1875. It attracts students from throughout the region and across the globe. It offers more than 80 programs of study at the undergraduate, graduate, doctorate and professional levels at the main campus in Winchester, Va., Health Professions Building on the campus of the Winchester Medical Center and Northern Virginia Campus in Leesburg. Visit Website

High School Diploma options

To obtain high school graduation from your high school.

Calo Young Adults can arrange a tutor who can:

    • coordinate with home school administrators, teachers, and guidance counselors;
    • obtain textbooks;
    • create curriculum together with home school teachers;
    • create tests or administer homeschool exams;

facilitate communication with home school; and
coordinate graduation attendance with home school.

For students who wish to obtain a GED

Calo Young Adults can arrange a tutor who can:

  • administer GED pre-tests;
  • develop curriculum;
  • language arts;
  • social studies;
  • science;
  • math;
  • administer post-tests;
  • facilitate GED test date based on post-test results; and
    plan ceremony to present diploma.

CASA Treatment Model

Due to early childhood stress and early negative experiences, and perhaps multiple treatment failures, the emerging adults Calo works with have developed some core beliefs about the world and themselves. For example, many of our students don’t believe the world is a safe place, so they approach the world like the Lone Ranger. They rely only on themselves and shun relationships. They also believe they are bad, and that’s why they’ve been abused, abandoned or neglected in the past. They typically experience themselves as alone and inadequate.
Calo’s remedy to this belief system is relationship. Because the early trauma these emerging adults suffered was within the context of relationship, it can only be healed in relationship. At Calo, we summarize our relationally-based treatment model as CASA, which stands for Commitment, Acceptance, Security, Attunement. The ultimate goal of the model is Joy, experienced through co-regulation.

Joy comes from experiencing acceptance, security, and attunement in a committed home (CASA).

Calo YA

We begin with Commitment on the caregivers part. For us, that is the parent, guardian, primary attachment figure, teacher or staff member that commits to working with us in the goal of healing. It begins also with our commitment as caregivers to care for and treat and guide the emerging adult, to go the distance, as we say here.

That Commitment needs to be coupled with Acceptance. Acceptance by the parent and by us can be a complicated process, but at its fundamental level it is a recognition that early trauma and attachment is driving their and our behavior, rather not attitudes, laziness, or narcissism. We have to accept that it is not a matter of trying harder, but of learning how to trust others and ultimately themselves. The emerging adults we serve are inherently valuable. We need to see them as always doing their best.
We have made this seem more linear in theory than it is in practice. In action, this tends to be, as the graphic shows, a recursive process of progress and regression, rather than a straight line of progress.

Once the emerging adult feels accepted, they can begin to feel Secure, or Safe, both physically and emotionally. The caregiver needs to be a Secure relationship. Security is defined by predictability, consistency, calmness, kindness along with established boundaries and clear limit setting.

When emerging adults feel accepted and safe, they can begin to Attune with us and begin a relationship. Attunement is based on focused attention, its empathy it’s our ability to be fully present here and now with the other. Most importantly, attunement leads to co-regulation. It isn’t until the emerging adult is willing to attune to us that we can relate. It is only at co-regulation that we can provide the advice and strategy that we desperately, and futilely, have attempted to give. It is only at co-regulation that we can start to experience reciprocity and healthy intimacy.

We mentioned above that the goal of our model is co-regulation, an emotional state in which we can learn from adults and peers. We mentioned also above that our model is recursive, so we have to emphasize again that this is a constant process. Co-regulation is not a steady state. We move along the wheel of commitment, acceptance, security, and attunement frequently as the emerging adult encounters new experiences or re-experiences some aspect of a previous traumatic experience. So, while attunement is the lever to co-regulation, the ground upon which the lever sits is commitment, acceptance, and safety. At any moment of conflict or dysregulation, as caregivers, we have to go back through our model to check that we are committed, accepting and providing safety before we try to attune again.


Neurotherapies Calming the Fear Driven Brain

Calo employs a full-time Board Certified Neurotherapist to deliver cutting edge neuro-interventions that’s goal is to help students’ brains learn to regulate more efficiently.

Brain Mapping

Quantitative Electroencephalograph (qEEG) provides a real-time brain image of the electrical brain that when reviewed in a normative database (Applied Neuroscience, Neuroguide [NG], normed for ages 2 months to 82 years) isolates instabilities and dysregulations, the origins of symptoms and behaviors. The results can determine symptoms related to complex developmental trauma, mood, attention, sleep, anxiety, and more.
With a therapist’s recommendation, a qEEG will be performed and then 3 months of treatment (or approximately 40 sessions) would follow, with another qEEG performed at the end of those sessions to see whether treatment should continue.


Neurofeedback (NFB) is a form of brain training that uses the reward system in the brain to initiate and practice self-regulation. NFB helps the brain change by stimulating the reward system which releases dopamine into the sub-cortical regions, informing the brain to re-wire, or change its behavior, to something that it enjoys or wants to promote. The result is an increase in the efficiency of neurological processing, i.e. sensory systems integrate, cognitive speed increases, and attention networks become flexible – all of which allows the traumatized brain to be more prepared for engaging relationship.

Heart Rate Variability (HRV) Biofeedback

Traumatized bodies function in a state of chronic stress and HRV rhythms are irregular. Heart Rate Variability (HRV) is a type of biofeedback that teaches, through breathing, heart-lung coherence. When the lung influences the heart rate, we experience self-regulation. When we breathe in, we distribute oxygen to the body. When we breathe out, the heart rests and slows down. Through HRV we teach a child to produce coherent heart rhythms, impacting anxiety, depression, increased memory, pain and reactivity to stress.

Students in Calo Young Adults may receive Neurotherapy Services. Therapist recommendation, parent approval, and treatment team considerations will determine the timing and availability for individual treatment.

Neurotherapy Works

These images show a before and after image after 40 sessions in Neurotherapies training. Any coloration is an indication of deviation from the norm and symptom severity. White is normal, or symptom reduction. Notice how the severity of the deviations decreases after the 40 sessions.



Raw EEG is divided into 5 different frequencies:
Delta, Theta, Alpha, Beta & High beta

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    Delta frequency is the slowest of the frequencies and is experienced in deep, dreamless sleep. When abnormal delta can cause sleep problems or may be an indication of traumatic brain injury (TBI)

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    Theta brain waves, when normal, is where you experience vivid visualizations, great inspiration, profound creativity and exceptional insight. At this frequency, you are conscious of your surroundings however your body is in deep relaxation.When abnormal theta can be an indication of attention deficit disorder, hyperactivity, or obsessive behavior.

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    Alpha is all about imagination, visualization, memory, learning and concentration. The voice of Alpha is your intuition.When abnormal alpha can be an indication of somatic anxiety, or an inability to relax.

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    Beta & High beta

    Beta brain waves are important for effective functioning throughout the day, they also can translate into stress, anxiety and restlessness. When abnormal beta can be the cause of rumination, worry, and anxiety.

Canine Therapy

“He is your friend, your partner, your defender, your dog. You are his life, his love, his leader. He will be yours, faithful and true, to the last beat of his heart. You owe it to him to be worthy of such devotion.”Unknown Author

Calo Canine Therapy Department utilizes Golden retrievers to help students experientially live and learn the Calo model. Through daily interactions with the canines the students develop a deeper understanding of commitment, acceptance, secure relationships, and attunement (CASA). The students will experience making mistakes with the canines and feel empathy, love, and acceptance as the canine quickly forgives and provides unconditional love. This allows the student to practice safe and healthy attachment, with the ultimate goal of transferring those relationship skills to safe human relationships (transferable attachment).

Students are automatically enrolled in the Canine Therapy Program upon admission to calo. All students interested in fostering and/or adopting a Calo canine will complete sequential requirements leading up to fostering and/or adopting a Calo canine. This process is similar in many ways to the human foster/adoption experience and closely resembles the family services model many of our parents and/or students have experienced.

Studies have supported what has been observed at Calo; canines have a calming effect on humans by regulating blood pressure and heart rate. Dysregulated students have often turn to their safe friend for comfort and companionship when having a difficult time emotionally. Additionally, golden retrievers provide safe touch through playful and loving acceptance. Students who have been inappropriately touched, abused, or never had the calming physical closeness they deserved earlier in life find safety in learning this safe touch through these amazing animals.

Students help their canine develop through training and leading the canines to be self-regulated and follow their adolescent leader (co-regulation). Typically, canines don’t respond well unless given clear communication and direction from a caregiver. As a result, students learn healthy ways to assert themselves and how they send and receive verbal and non-verbal messages. Further, canines quickly acclimate to the rhythm of a student and match his/her energy. Thus, canines provide feedback to students-when to be calm and in control when it is time to play.

The primary purpose of the canine therapy program is to empower students to experience Interdependence – healthy, affectionate, reciprocal relationships. Canines help accomplish this through their instinctive ability to provide unconditional love. This provides a unique opportunity for the adolescent to practice healthy attachment with a non-threatening friend.

When students make mistakes with the canines, much like parents make mistakes with their children, the golden retriever forgives the student. This immediate forgiveness allows the student to see the value of being less judgmental, rigid, and more forgiving of others and themselves. Most importantly, the process of reciprocity, connection-break-repair, and mutual giving and taking increases a student’s self-worth. As a result, the student is better prepared to experience their emotional difficulties knowing they are loved and valued.

All Calo students will have the opportunity to connect with the canines and learn to invest in their physical and emotional needs. Students will have the opportunity to choose be a foster parent for a canine and gain the valuable interpersonal and life lessons the canines offer. Some students will advance in the program to be eligible to adopt a canine and provide them with a forever home, encouraging a long-term relationship. On a smaller scale, this adoption process mirrors the adoption experience that families go through when adopting a child (application, essays, home study, placement, finalization, etc.). Empathy is experienced by the students as they struggle through the adoption journey and realize the work their own adoptive parents endured in welcoming them as a child in their family.

Ultimately, the canine-adolescent relationship allows students to develop an understanding of parental love, something we at Calo refer to as “transferrable attachment.” The very core lesson that countless conversations and traditional talk therapy never taught a student over the years is finally discovered experientially as a student is vulnerable to a loving, safe animal – “If my parents love me more than I love my canine, I do feel safe. I really can trust that they won’t leave me, hurt me or intentionally do harm.”

Since Josh’s enrollment at Calo, I have seen the canine program being an important and effective part of Josh’s therapy. I think that Josh has the ability to attach to and care for a dog. I know that Josh looks forward to adopting his own dog and will love and care for it. We will also welcome the dog into the family here at the house when Josh would come home.
Calo Parent
How We Serve
last modified: July 25th, 2018