"We may define therapy as a search for value."

~ Abraham Maslow

Bellcate School utilizes a three-stage personal development model that draws on a number of effective theories and strategies. This is not a fixed system, but rather a way of understanding change within a context. Bellcate School understands growth and change to be a slow and challenging process for anyone.


“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” 
Lao tzu

The primary focus of the exploration stage is to build a strong therapeutic relationship that will serve as a foundation to facilitate and support growth and change. We use nonjudgmental acceptance and communicate empathy, respect, and genuine care so students can come to accept themselves and unblock their own natural potential. During this stage, staff encourage students to tell their own story and explore their own strengths and interests. Identifying and meeting basic physiological and safety needs are essential in this first stage.


“Your pain is in breaking the shell that encloses your understanding”
Khalil Gibran

Students are often ready to move into the Understanding Stage when they have developed strong, trusting, and safe therapeutic relationships with staff. The goal of this stage is to support students in constructing new insight and understanding. Staff assist students in determining their own role in their thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. Staff are less of a sounding board in this stage and act as helpers who provide honest feedback and redirection. The student and staff can begin to determine goals that are consistent with strengths, interests, values, and abilities. Together they identify new decision-making strategies and begin to confront old scripts. This stage is often modified based on differential cognitive and emotional functioning.


“Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions”
Dhali lama

Thoughts and behaviors are learned according to learning principles and thus can be changed using the same learning principles. In the Action Stage, staff assist students in making decisions that benefit themselves. Staff refer to the stages of change model as a resource to further understand where the student is in the change process. Staff support students with information, skills, resources, and strategies to achieve desired outcomes. In this stage, students are held to a higher level of expectation and accountability.