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.

old picture of Richard and Phyllis
The Foundation

Wellspring's Mission, Philosophy, and Values

“Place was important to us. We wanted our treatment center to be a home, a nurturing place where the care of body included the care of land, plants and animals, as well as people.”

— Richard & Phyllis Beauvais, Co-Founders of Wellspring

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 Wellspring Mandala — A symbol of our Values

A square of four quarters that appears in many spiritual traditions as a symbolic image of wholeness, the integrated fullness of human being.

A mandala is also thought to image the divine presence in our lives. The rich colors of golden ochre, turquoise, rust and blue reflect the primal elements of Creation – earth, air, fire, and water. The curves and angles, swirls and structures, express the constant interplay of the Yin and the Yang, the feminine and masculine energies of receptivity and activation fundamental to creative life.

At the center of the logo is a circle that images the Well from which we draw our name. The Well reaches down into the earth to the wellspring, source of living water. This expresses our belief that within each individual there is a wellspring of personal being, unique, unrepeatable in essence and imbued with spirit. As a source of the sacredness and dignity of each individual, this wellspring within links us to one another.

The Well is centered by a cross. As a symbol, the cross juxtaposes two contrasting dimensions of life – the vertical and the horizontal. These represent two pathways of personal growth and participation in a more inclusive way of human being. The vertical line is the line of the Spirit, extending downwards into the depths of Being and upwards to its transcendent heights. The horizontal line extends outwards to the ends of the earth – into the world of body and relationship. Through relationships we become the arms of the cross, opening our small selves to embrace humanity and to all of Creation.

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.


The Highest level of care

In 1984, Wellspring received accreditation by The Joint Commission on the Accreditation of Hospitals – the standard bearer for such centers nationwide. Accreditation by the Joint Commission continues uninterrupted and Wellspring proudly displays the Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Accreditation.