As one of our Psycho-Education services at Paradigm Malibu, we offer a Teen Relapse Prevention program to help educate teens and families on the many different aspects of Relapse. What we have found in our many years working with adolescents is that, generally speaking, the more knowledgeable teens and families are about the experience and process the teens are going through, the more equipped they’ll be to navigate this process successfully. One of our most primary goals as a treatment center is to help teens to engage in a treatment process that is thorough and holistic enough for them to recover fully and continue sober, without relapse. However, it’s very important to acknowledge that there will be challenges in order to succeed in recovery; we want teens to be as educated and equipped as possible with the resources that will help them overcome and resist those struggles, if and when they arise.
One of the main aspects of our Teen Relapse Prevention Education program includes a detailed exploration of the most common relapse triggers and how to face them. Though each individual teen may have different triggers to use, the relapse triggers which we discuss are those that are the most common to all users, across the board. Even while teens are still undergoing treatment and just beginning their path of recovery, we believe that it’s very important for them to understand what types of things they may be vulnerable to, along the way. While the goal of this is not to scare teens about ways they might struggle, it does serve as a direct reminder that successful recovery for many people requires effort every day, and that teens need to be prepared to make those efforts.
Along with teaching teens and their families about the triggers they may face, we also help equip them with ways to face these struggles. This is often a very helpful tool for parents and teens to learn together, as it often lends itself well to the parents learning how to support the teens in tangible, helpful ways that will contribute toward keeping teens sober in the future. Though again, these techniques that we teach to resist triggers are general techniques, therapists will also incorporate the tools and tips learned here in the teens’ individual treatment plans and sessions, in order to build connections between the general and the specific. In this way, therapists work with the teens to explore more specifically how these general triggers and subsequent ways of facing them might relate to their own triggers and vulnerabilities, which they’re learning about and addressing in their individual therapy sessions.
Another aspect of our teen relapse prevention education is to educate teens and families on the multi-stage process of relapse. Though sometimes, in experience, people can think of and/or describe relapse as if it was a single moment and decision, there are actually most often a series of red-flag warnings that occurred, before the reoccurrence of using ever occurred. In order to help prevent triggers and vulnerabilities from building toward relapse, we want teens and their families to learn what sorts of warning signs to look for; how to address these red-flags if they see them; how parents can talk to their teens honestly and openly when they have concerns; when teens should talk to someone about struggles they’re having; and how to work together as a team to help ensure teens’ continued and lasting recovery.
Overall, our teen relapse prevention education program is one more way that we seek to make teens and their families at Paradigm as knowledgeable, equipped, and empowered as possible, not only during the treatment process, but following as well. What we understand after having done adolescent treatment for so many years now is that the work we do here at Paradigm is powerful, meaningful, and often life-changing; however, it is still just the beginning. In order to help teens leave here as prepared as possible to succeed in the lives they return to, we want to educate and work in any way possible to make this a reality for all families.