At Paradigm New York, our Family Therapy program is a central aspect of all teen treatment programs, and integral to our treatment philosophy and approach overall. We believe that in order to provide thorough, precise treatment to adolescents, we must address all aspects of the teens’ lives, including their home environment and family relationships. Our experience has shown us that in order for teens to successfully heal, recover, and maintain their recovery moving forward, they must have a supportive home environment, which includes the understanding, support, and open communication with their family. While addressing family dynamics and health is important in any treatment setting, it’s especially pertinent in adolescent treatment, because the adolescents’ lives are so interconnected with their family members. Because of the unique time of life for adolescents, they are at both independent in many ways and still very dependent on their parents in others, which creates a dynamic in which parents are very involved and affected by both the teens’ illness as well as their road to recovery. This is why we believe that successful teen treatment requires the engagement and efforts of family members preceding, during and following treatment.
While the requirements of family members in Family Therapy are significant, we find that most often, parents and family members end up getting as much benefit out of this process as the teens themselves. First and foremost, therapists want to help teens to communicate what they’re experiencing and processing in treatment, and especially what kinds of insights and/or connections they may be addressing, which involve the home environment or family members. While at the beginning especially, it can often be challenging for teens to speak openly and honestly with family members in this way, it’s very important for them to learn to do so. Again, because of the unique relationship between adolescents and parents, teens often recognize aspects of their home environments and/or relationships which cause them stress and may aggravate other symptoms they’re experiencing. At the same time, they might also be learning ways in which their behaviors and actions negatively affect their parents and other family members, which only leads to more stress and difficulty for everyone involved. Because these intricate dynamics are so deeply connected to both teens’ and parents’ day-to-day lives, it’s therefore very important to make sure these aspects are thoroughly addressed. This not only benefits teens but family members as well and contributes toward ensuring an improved and supportive home environment, moving forward.
At Paradigm New York, we facilitate family therapy groups each week, either in person with family members or in other cases, over the phone or Skype. While sometimes these family therapy sessions can be challenging, we find that they are also extremely rewarding and even life changing, for everyone involved. The groups tend to be challenging because in them, our therapists are working to facilitate a safe and open communication, where both teens and family members can speak honestly about what they’ve been experiencing. With the guidance and leadership of good therapists, both parents and teens may gain insights into themselves and each other, and actually feel encouraged and come to enjoy the sessions, especially as they begin to experience the rewards and positive changes which the time is bringing about in their interactions and lives. Furthermore, these sessions also are a great way to allow families to prepare and gain invaluable practice in creating and maintaining a home environment that will support their teens’ sustained recovery, once they return home.
Family Therapy is consistently integrated as a cornerstone of all Paradigm New York treatment programs. Paradigm New York is a Mental Health and Substance Abuse treatment facility for teens, ages 13-17. We are located in Westchester, New York, just outside of New York City, and are consistently rated among the very best treatment centers in the country.