Chapel Barn, home of the sheep, chickens, goats and rabbit

The History of Wellspring: Founded in 1977

Mission: Wellspring is a therapeutic and educational center dedicated to healing through relational approaches - to self, others, creation and spirit - which touch and bring forth the wellspring of personal being unique to each individual, giving hope to each person and family in our care.


Drs. Richard and Phyllis Beauvais had a dream...

…to establish a home-like long term residential treatment center for people with mental health challenges or psychiatric illnesses. They purchased a tract of farmland with a colonial era farmhouse, barns, pastures and grazing animals in a bucolic landscape in Bethlehem, CT in 1977 and began their work as pioneers of the relational and restorative model.

Our Vision

Home-like Mental Health Residential Treatment Center

Our vision was to establish a home-like mental health residential treatment center with a highly structured but intimate approach for people with serious emotional, psychiatric, and behavioral challenges. In 1977, we purchased a tract of farmland with a colonial era farmhouse, barns, pastures, grazing animals and a bucolic landscape in Bethlehem, CT.

As pioneers of the relational and restorative model, we believed that to make long term, significant change, we would offer shared experiences of daily life and relationship – i.e. work, study, play and sharing meals together – joined with therapeutic modalities such as individual therapy, group therapies, family therapies & training, expressive therapy, art therapy, adventure programming and animal and land based programs.

These clinical interventions became centered by a milieu based model where the educational, milieu, and nursing staff all worked together to support our residents.

Our first residents were young adults who struggled with serious mental health issues. As our vision proved to be successful and clients began to heal, Wellspring became a stable home base from which we could offer long term mental health residential programs for girls and young adult women and school programs for adolescents.

Family involvement was a cornerstone of Wellspring’s relational approach to treatment and education. Without the family’s willingness to learn new skills and make necessary changes in the family system, individuals were unlikely to sustain the gains they worked so hard to earn. The willingness on the part of the family required committed involvement in the treatment and learning process. It demanded great love and a profound degree of humility, for it meant recognition that each family member may been a part of the problem and that they are clearly an important factor in the solutions.

Like any child, or any destiny, we simply meet what unfolds before us,  holding fast to our values and intentions to heal.

— Richard & Phyllis Beauvais, Co-Founders of Wellspring

The Founding of the Arch Bridge School

Accredited by NEASC-a globally recognized standard of excellence for education

In the summer of 1990, we founded The Arch Bridge School, Wellspring’s private special education school. The school evolved quickly over the next several years as the number of younger residents increased and the need for more structured academic services became apparent. To serve the needs of these residents, we built a campus-based therapeutic school and expanded the school to include the underserved population of special education and emotionally challenged day students from local school districts. In 1997, the school was approved by the State of Connecticut as a Private Special Education Facility, and is also approved by the state of New York, and New Jersey and Massachusetts on a case by case basis.

The fundamental approach of the school is the development of a personal relationship with each student, within a clearly defined structure of expectations and consequences. Arch Bridge works closely with each student’s family and community school district in order to make their transition back as easy as possible.

The Arch Bridge School serves two separate populations: residential and day students. Wellspring residences for the Arch Bridge School are all on our main campus, allowing our resident students to walk to and from school. Day students from surrounding communities come to Arch Bridge on a daily basis, transported round-trip by school via transportation services.


Educationally and emotionally, the Arch Bridge School is on the leading edge in many of their philosophies and designs. Culturally, Arch Bridge's family atmosphere and unyielding commitment to excellence would be the envy of most schools.