UPDATE 2013: PLEASE SEE NEW WEBSITE:
"THIS PROJECT HAS NOT BEEN OPERATING BECAUSE THE NEW YORK STATE DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN SERVICES DENIED LICENSING IT -
With my sincere regrets,
Angels Valley is in a rural unrestricted setting, designed to operate year-round on principles from Bruno Bettelheim's milieu therapy, psychoanalysis and psychosomatics with aim to show feasibility to cure children suffering from severe emotional disturbances that can happen in the form of mental disabilities (autism,schizophrenia, mental retardation, epilepsy,anorexia, bipolar disorder) or physical illnesses (cancer,obesity, migraines, diabetes, asthma) when caused by deeply repressed emotional issues, the medical treatments then may be inefficient.
In this program relationships and activities are based on free will and mutual respect, as nondirectivity is needed to reach the repressed emotional issues in the young sufferer, and to enhance the quality of life for all by being a pressure-free environment; children lead all the way the process of their recovery, and the focus is on respect to help avoid the "natural" trend of the bigger to dominate the smaller.
This also encourages children to take control of their life and decide what is best for them to do at each particular day of the year to restore a better mental health, and thus take responsibility for themselves to grow into independent and reliable persons. This process starts at the beginning when a child is placed at Angels Valley on her/his consent (hence the motto "the right to choose, the right to heal"). Then s/he should leave Angels Valley only at her/his will. But if no progress happens within a reasonable lapse of time the child would be offered to try an other option at living somewhere else.
The therapeutic process relies also on the personalized relation ships with the carers, the ratio is one adult for one child as a whole and should allow each child to be well nurtured. Team members can live in or out of the home at their preference, and choose how much time and energy they wish to spend with the placed children, to allow them to be on the same basis with the children i.e. are allowed to work and live at their own personal pace.
The economic level of the place is to stay limited because the main incentive is not making money but being helpful to those who suffer and self-fulfilling. The low cost of operation should also allow to help a new child even in lack of payment, and also so that lack of money would not be a deterrent for duplicating the model wherever else wanted.
Diversified reality-oriented activities at the place are designed to supplement the income made by the project to operate and to provide more opportunities for children if they wish to relate to adults in a productive and money-saving way: growing an organic vegetable garden, cutting firewood to provide free heat all along winter, handicrafts that also offer more opportunities to socialize when selling on local farmers'markets, and to help children gain self-help skills adapted to the environment.
If a child's disabilities or condition are such s/he can't attend school, s/he will be offered to learn the basic skills of counting, reading and writing until improved for school attendance.
Though innovative in some respect this project can't be truly called experimental because it is conceived to 'work on knowledge that proved efficient by others, since psychoanalysis started, as a new science at the end of the 19 th century.
I as an individual am attached to living and working in such ways because I believe they are the best I can do to help suffering children, and I believe it is feasible as long as the place for best results is kept to a family size with only a few children to care for. I originate from France where in the 1980's I tried to create this project : a good number of local children's mental health officials were interested, but I met with reluctance from those licensing homes for children. I then decided to try it in the US, finding that American officials seemed more progress oriented, and in 1990 I visited a number of them from east coast to west coast who stated my project was interesting and needed. Nevertheless at that time I was offered no financial help and had to wait until I had saved a sufficent amount to buy cash a suitable property and cover all the expenses on my own money before getting started.
I located the project here in upstate New York as real estate is cheaper because of lack of paid jobs. The property being 60 acres wide allows development and setting up new homes where to increase possibilities of placement or to be used as permanent homes for former placed children wishing to continue living in this area, this at low cost thanks to the self-sustainance activities.
So far to the best of my knowledge I know of no similar endeavor in North America nor in Europe, I thus came to the idea of creating such a place after having successfully completed a classical psychoanalysis in Paris in the early 1980's.
All questions are welcome and also all inquiries for being on the carers'team or to partner to this project.
If you are interested to know more, please feel free to ask for the free guidelines that develop these features.