At Paradigm Malibu, one of the Psycho-Education Services that we provide is Teen Emotional Management, geared toward helping teens to become educated, prepared, and equipped to address the emotional challenges of their treatment, and furthermore, their lives in general. Generally speaking, the treatment process, whether it’s for a Substance Abuse or Mental Health Disorder, challenges teens to not only engage in and identify their emotions, but also to study and evaluate them in an intensive manner. In order to support our teens at Paradigm to be able to engage in their treatment process and gain as much from the experience as possible, we offer Emotional Management services to support them in this realm.
During the process of Adolescent Treatment, teens must learn to identify and communicate about their feelings surrounding numerous difficult topics. Though our professional therapists always approach and proceed through the more intense emotional terrain with utmost sensitivity and awareness, it can still be a significant challenge to teens. And it can be especially difficult if teens have been withdrawing and/or disengaging from communication, as a coping mechanism to deal with feelings of anxiety, stress, fear, or other negative symptoms related to Mental Health or Substance Abuse related illnesses.
As many of our parents experience and express frustration about, this sort of withdrawal and disengagement from teens is one of the most common coping mechanisms and symptoms related to the struggles they’re addressing at Paradigm. A large number of Substance Abuse and Mental Health Disorders cite this as common to struggling teens, including teens no longer participating in social activities and/or relationships as they once did. When teens are withdrawing in this way, it’s very common for them to be inwardly processing what they’re struggling with in an even more exacerbating way, because of the lack of an outside, objective voice to help point out things like false belief systems and negative thinking patterns. Along these lines, then, the re-engagement in conversations with others about what teens are thinking, feeling, and experiencing often takes some time, as there is a sort of re-learning curve at play.
Some of the earlier stages of therapy and recovery include teens suddenly inundated with intense feelings that overwhelm them, and by which, they’re therefore overwhelmed. In our Teen Emotional Management sessions, we try to help teens understand, from a more objective point of view, which feelings and thoughts are actually quite normal in the process they’re experiencing. For instance, it’s common for people to experience feelings of anxiety, guilt, shame, anger, and fear, when they begin the treatment process. If teens are left unguided and these feelings become misdirected, they can experience these initial stages increasing and becoming more overwhelming, as opposed to decreasing and beginning to seem manageable. What we often find is that when we help teens to understand how to think about, observe, and communicate about the feelings they’re experiencing, teens can more quickly gain a feeling of competence in navigating their emotion, throughout treatment.
It’s also probably worth saying that though some of the stages of the Emotional Management that teens will undergo and address during treatment are intensive and difficult, this is also the area where some of the most profound transformations can take place. By their willingness and courage to study, identify, and process their emotions, teens are gaining an invaluable life skill that will help lead them successfully through the treatment process, into recovery, and through the rest of their lives. It’s these kind of emotional life skills that we seek to impart teens to before they leave Paradigm so that they are ready to engage in their own lives actively, including all the beautiful and challenging things that come their way.