This testimony was found on Yelp. All rights goes to the author.
I went here for about six months, and while I don't think it was as bad as some of the other reviews here say, it was still pretty bad. For one, before I went there I had never done drugs, never drank, never partied, but when I came back I felt the strongest urge to get into this stuff. I learned about piercings, tattoos, parties, alcohol, and all this other stuff I didn't really know about and being so restrained it seemed so fun! The turn over rate is very low, most girls can take 2+ years to graduate. Nobody had graduated in over a year when I was there Jan-Jul 2014. Most girls either "age out(turn 18, like I did)", or they get pulled out by their parents for whatever reason. Most girls parents don't let them go home when they turn 18, but my mom did because she had been planning on pulling me out soon anyways because she didn't like how regulated and censored the communication between us was, mostly letters.
The staff are pretty nice, but there is definite favoritism. I've talked to a lot of girls who went there, and the few of them who I've met said they had to kiss major butt to get anywhere. I was only comfortable actually talking to only 2 or 3 of the staff there, many of them are just either awkward or tend to make me feel like what I was saying was wrong. Now, maybe that was the case, but I thought they were supposed to help me open up and learn to see my mistakes instead of making me feel shut down and guilty. All I know is that I had a lot more self confidence going in than I did coming out.
Another thing was the horses. I LOVED the horses. One of the main reasons my mom said she sent me here was because she was really excited about the horses, but unless you are on horse chore you don't get to see or interact with them very often. You go riding maybe once every few weeks if you're lucky, though sometimes at random you'll go like three times in two weeks then not go again for a month. Not sure how that system works, but my mom wasn't very happy with it and neither was I.
The therapy was alright, I loved Bernadette! She made me feel like a normal person and a lot less guilty. Not everything bad is my fault, turns out! The staff though is a bit harsh. I know the point of the place is "tough love", but there's a point where it can go a bit overboard. You can try as hard as you can but it still will not be good enough, unless you meet these standards you feel awful about yourself. I did learn a lot, but I think the "trauma" kind of negated most of it. I have nightmares about the place and I wasn't even there that long compared to most. I was pretty well behaved, so I didn't get in too much trouble, but the punishments for things are very unbalanced. Once a girl freaked out and made us all leave the cabin and she just didn't get dinner, while once I accidentally ordered an extra box of soap and got a hill run. I understand that people need different punishments, but good golly. Some girls would act completely awful and so the staff would coddle them, while some of us got completely ignored. Now this is how I saw it. I don't know the whole story, but all I know is that it made me feel very insignificant and frustrated.
The religion was also kind of shoved down your throat. I am a christian, not catholic, but I still got shut down when I tried to give my opinion during group discussions. If they didn't agree with you, you were wrong. Another thing about the "group therapy", I didn't even know that was supposed to be "therapy". Most of the time we watch videos about a saint or how to react in different situations(videos that were made in the 80's may I add). Those videos are hilarious and none of us take them seriously, they are just too dang corny. They call it "group therapy", but its more just something to keep us occupied for an hour or two.
Now, in my opinion, if your daughter is close to turning 18, has never drank, partied, or done drugs, isn't very religious, or anything like that, this isnt the place. I cant speak for others, but when I came out I think I was worse than when I went. Also if you actually want her to graduate expect her to be there for at least two years. I did learn some stuff though, like that you can put anything on a tortilla! Also patience and people skills because the girls there can be nuts. I love them though and I can't wait until they get out so I can talk to them without being constantly monitored. So anywho, yep. That's my opinion.