Identity Formation/Individuation

When teens come to us at Paradigm Treatment Centers, their struggles are often complex and multi-faceted, including symptoms that affect their mental, physical, and emotional health, as well as their sense of self. Adolescence is the most dynamic time in a person’s life, with the most profound change that occurs in mental, physical, and social aspects. It’s also the time when teens begin to view and understand themselves with relation to the world, beginning to form their sense of individuality and identity. As such, many different important aspects of personality and identity are formed during adolescence, including things such as hobbies, beliefs, practices, and skills. This process of self-reflection and discovery can be challenging for many teens, especially when teens are struggling with mental health and/or substance abuse conditions. In order to protect and nurture this important development while teens are in treatment, at Paradigm Treatment Centers we incorporate aspects of Identity Formation into all of our treatment plans.

Identity is usually formed through a combination of factors, including things such as how teens view themselves, the communities and experiences they are a part of, and external factors that are out of teens’ control. In this sense, it’s important to recognize that when teens are struggling with confidence and/or sense of self, this can be due to a variety of reasons. The concept of identity development as a stage of psycho-social development dates back to the 1960s, when Erik Erikson, a psychologist, focused his work on how teens unconsciously and consciously make decisions as an attempt to fulfill themselves, and how this fulfillment or lack thereof leads to either a strong or weakened identity, respectively.

Some of the central environments that affect identity are teens’ schools, peers, and family, which contributes to how teens view themselves and how confident they are. Other aspects of identity which teens can’t control include social identity related to how teens are perceived by others. For many teens, this can be a challenge during high school, when teens can be especially harsh in their judgements of each other. Virtually all of these factors of identity are often challenges for teens struggling with mental health and/or substance abuse disorders. Teens struggling with these conditions often suffer from low feelings of self-worth, as well as false belief systems that causes them to view themselves negatively and inaccurately. Over time, these prolonged negative feelings can disrupt teens’ healthy development of identity. Moreover, it’s also common for teens to experience tension in relationships, which can further the negative false beliefs teens are currently holding about themselves. Because of the ways in which these symptoms can contribute to teens’ ability to healthily engage in identity development, we evaluate and incorporate these aspects into all of our treatment plans at Paradigm Treatment Centers.

Paradigm Treatment Centers Identity Formation/Individuation

At Paradigm Treatment Centers, we approach all of our teen treatment plans individually and holistically, with the goal of supporting all aspects of teens’ overall health and well-being. Teens receive individual therapy sessions every day during treatment, which allows us to be precise and consistent in ensuring teens’ deepest core needs are recognized and addressed. In talk therapy sessions, our therapists work with teens to help them evaluate and process important aspects of their current experiences and how they relate to identity. In both individual and group therapy sessions, our therapists help teens to rebuild healthy belief systems and practices, which will enable them to regain confidence and to see themselves clearly and positively. At Paradigm Treatment Centers, we also incorporate numerous different positive activities and interests for teens, which will contribute to their overall quality of life as well new healthy ways to spend time. In this way, as we work with teens to do the important therapeutic work of healing and recovery, we also help teens to learn to value themselves and their lives again.