One of the unique aspects of adolescent treatment is it involves and effects the entire family. Often there are significant challenges preceding Teen Mental Health and/or Substance Abuse Treatment which cause stress, tension, and pain amongst parents and siblings, as well as the teens’ themselves. While we view teens’ entrance into Paradigm Treatment Centers as an incredibly powerful, hopeful moment, we also have deep respect and sensitivity for the challenges leading to this point. Many of the symptoms and struggles connected with Teen Mental Health conditions as well as Teen Addiction result in teens withdrawing from others, as well as exhibiting strong mood fluctuations. Both of these factors greatly affect the home environment, lead to conflicts among family members, and cause general increased stress in the household. To address the needs of parents and siblings through the treatment process, we’ve designed a Family Support Services program, which includes our Sibling Support Services.
At Paradigm Treatment Centers, our Sibling Support Services program is designed to meet the unique and specific needs of siblings of teens in treatment. We understand that for these young people, their siblings’ struggles and treatment has likely caused considerable challenges for them as well, including feelings of fear, frustration, confusion, anger, and resentment. It’s common for siblings to experience tension with their parents including feeling neglected, as their parents spend increasing energy on the negative behaviors of their siblings. It’s also common for siblings to feel scared and resentful of how their siblings are affecting the health of the family unit, especially when there is visible tension between parents. Additionally, another challenge for siblings is the concern and fear they feel about their siblings’ health and wellness.
Within our Sibling Support Services, members of our treatment teams work directly with siblings to help answer questions and provide information, as well as helping them to process the thoughts and feelings they’re experiencing. This time is designed to provide them with a safe, supportive, open environment where they can openly and freely express how their siblings are affecting them, without having to worry about hurting feelings or intensifying family tensions. One of the ways siblings benefit from these sessions is they serve as an environment where their experience is the focus. We find that this offering, in and of itself, proves to be incredibly helpful for siblings, who may have been suffering from feeling overlooked and/or unheard, especially in recent months. Moreover, often when siblings have a time to speak their feelings and fears openly, it actually helps them to gain more compassion and understanding for the larger situation, as well as improving their interactions with family members.
Our Sibling Support Services are offered in addition to the individual and group family therapy sessions, which siblings are also invited to be a part of. We find that the combination of individual and group therapy time which siblings have serves to help siblings feel more present and at ease in their own roles, as well as helping them to be more present and engaged with the larger dynamics. We believe that this support and improved health of siblings directly translates to improved health for the teens in treatment, which is why we’re so committed to Family Health here at Paradigm Treatment Centers.