Researcher ORCID Identifier

Graduation Year


Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Reader 1

Professor Gabriela Morales

Reader 2

Professor Claudia Strauss

Rights Information

© Christina X You


Employing a mixed psychosocial and pharmacological approach, STPs offer six to nine weeks of intensive treatment for children deemed to have social and behavioral difficulties. One major asset STPs claim is their natural, fun setting—a true summer camp space for activities and open peer interaction—in which children learn positive behaviors that they can generalize into external social settings. Yet STPs are also highly structured. Staff, who are often undergraduate and graduate students, are trained in operant learning strategies to promote “positive” and suppress “maladaptive” behaviors, strict activity guidelines, and evaluations for procedural adherence. The program was developed based on the idea that in order to effectively treat problems in peer relationships, therapists must work with children in the settings in which they occur. Extending the practice of care beyond the walls of an office or clinic into a summer camp not only changes the outcome of treatment but transforms the practice itself. The summer camp setting shapes how counselors learn, perceive, and modify the practice of care, as well as what kinds of relationships unfold. This ethnographic study will interpret these transformations through the lens of care primarily as discussed in social and medical anthropology. Through an embodiment of the STP’s multifaceted interventions, counselors develop a practice and understanding of care that relocates a child and their needs from a position of isolation to one of participating in intimate relationships.