When asked, “What is the most important thing in your life?” most of us would easily answer “family.” This is true, even for adolescents who as a natural part of their development, tend to spend more time with and seek the approval of peers over that of parents or other family members.
At Paradigm Malibu, our Adolescent and Family Health Therapy Program recognizes the importance of family, and the essential fact that a family is a system. In any system each part is related to all other parts. Consequently, a change in any part of the system will bring about changes throughout.
Adolescence is, of course, all about change, and its impact on the family system can be profound. This is never truer than when drug abuse, addiction, emotional or behavioral health issues become factors. This is why we provide treatment, not just for the teens who reside with us, but also for all family members who wish to participate.
Our adolescent and family health therapy programs include (but is not limited to):
At Paradigm Malibu, every family is afforded the opportunity to participate in individual family therapy conducted by a family therapist. Individual family sessions allow participants to focus on family dynamics, specifically to enhance efforts to achieve the changes being sought in treatment.
In individual family therapy, the unit of treatment is of course, the family, and/or the individual within the context of the family system. Paradigm Malibu’s family therapist facilitates discussions and problem solving sessions, often with the entire family but sometimes with a single participant when appropriate.
It is very important to make a clear distinction between family therapy and family‐involved therapy. Family‐involved therapy attempts to educate families about relationship patterns that typically contribute to the formation and continuation of problematic behaviors. It differs from family therapy in that the family is not the primary therapeutic focus, nor is there intervention in the system of family relationships.
Unfortunately, most adolescent treatment programs offer only this basic approach. This of course, greatly limits a family’s ability to achieve and maintain meaningful change. Our experiences are supported by overwhelming evidence, which suggests that family therapy greatly enhances the short, and long-term effects of adolescent treatment, and should be given every consideration.
If family members are unable to attend individual family therapy sessions due to work, geographic location or for any other reasons, our family therapist is available to conduct Skype or telephonic sessions based on each family’s unique needs and desires.
Families participating in treatment at Paradigm Malibu are invited to participate in Multi-Family education and process groups. These weekly groups have been shown to increase positive outcomes by allowing families experiencing similar concerns to process and learn from each other.
Process groups allow parents and family members in similar situations, to share their thoughts and feeling about their specific challenges and the treatment process itself. This peer input, combined with the guidance of a medical professional, generally provides a uniquely positive, extremely affirming experience for everyone involved.
Unlike many programs, our sessions are private and open only to those in treatment at Paradigm Malibu. Members of the community may not attend. Our Multi-Family groups may also include group discussions, lectures, or audio/video presentations to assist participants in gaining a greater understanding of issues ranging from teen drug addiction to co-dependency, dual diagnosis, and any range of emotional or behavioral health issues.
Families further along in the treatment process often times have tremendous insight and are especially helpful to those who are new to the program.
Parents and families are encouraged to participate in Paradigm Malibu’s Parent Coaching and Training services. The core of this component is Parent Effectiveness Training, facilitated by a P.E.T. Certified trainer. This proven parenting method greatly enhances every family’s ability to maintain and to continue to build upon the progress made in residential treatment.
Participants explore issues ranging from parenting styles, to behavior windows, problem ownership, communication and conflict resolution skills, active listening, and communication roadblocks. They explore “Misbehavior” as the language of power and authentic, congruent expressions of feelings.
In addition participants look at anger and what’s beneath it as well as, I-Messages vs. You-Messages. Parents learn practical applications such as how to modify the physical environment at home to prevent problems and reduce both conflicts and the risk of relapse. Both teens and their parents also explore win-lose conflict resolution methods vs. the no-lose method, the use of influence vs. control, family rule setting and how to handle value differences through modeling. All groups are based on the specific needs and goals of families in treatment at any given time.
Learn more about parent coaching and effectiveness training here.
Sibling Support Services are available for siblings of all ages. Participation is voluntary. These services are designed to meet the needs of young people who have a brother or sister in residential treatment at Paradigm Malibu.
Services include support groups, psycho-educational groups, group therapy and when appropriate, individual therapy. Sibling Support Services are designed to run concurrently with Parent Support Services, so that both parents and siblings can attend similar program components simultaneously.
Through lectures, audio/video presentations, and group discussions, siblings gain knowledge and practical skills to support the enhancement of their brother or sister’s emotional health, behavioral health, and the teen addiction recovery process. The siblings of adolescents are afforded opportunities to gain a greater understanding of teen drug abuse, eating disorders, adolescent self-harm treatment, depression, anxiety, ADHD and any number of other issues impacting their family.
Siblings will learn how to be supportive of their loved one in treatment, how to avoid triggering their sibling and identify and build upon the strengths that they bring to their family. They will also interact with other youth who have siblings struggling with similar difficulties, normalizing their circumstances and providing them with opportunities to establish informal support systems. Finally, they will lean how to identify how their family’s challenges have impacted them directly and develop specific skills for self-care, enhancing their ability to achieve their own full potential.
Read more about Sibling Support Services here.
Support services for parents come in three primary stages. Pre-Admission, Treatment and Post Treatment. Pre-admission services begin with your first phone call to Paradigm Malibu.
Prior to admission, we are available to assist parents and other family members as they attempt to assess the nature of the difficulties their loved one is experiencing. We may also help a family determine a proper level of care and assist them in choosing the treatment option that best meets their needs.
In addition, we are frequently able to help family members identify and remove roadblocks for accessing treatment. Finally, we can help any family with specific strategies for getting a resistant young person to enter treatment to ensure their physical and emotional safety and ultimately reclaim their lives.
During the Treatment Phase, parents will be full and equal partners in the creation of their child’s treatment plan. They will be provided with frequent updates from a cross section of treatment team members. Their input will be sought and highly valued. Key staff members will be on call and accessible to parents twenty four hours a day, seven days a week, three hundred and sixty five days a year to problem solve, or provide general support as needed or desired.
Post Treatment, our full team remains available to provide support services to teens and their parents indefinitely. This may include assisting families with a specific crisis that presents itself or sharing in a success. It might include assisting in clarifying a family rule or accessing local resources. Whatever your parenting needs, we will remain ready to assist.
Every Saturday we have a family day. Not all families are available to participate and we plan accordingly. For those who can attend Individual Family Therapy, Multi-Family Therapy, Parent Effectiveness Training, Sibling Support Groups and a luncheon prepared by our chef are provided. Families are also given private time to visit and when appropriate, may do so off site.
Read more about Paradigm Malibu’s Family Day here.