Family Solutions Teen Help

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Exercise Caution During Spring Break – State Department Issues Warning About Mexico


It’s that time. The tanning beds are booked, getting an elliptical at the gym is as easy as winning the lottery and every hotel from Panama City to Key West to the sunny beaches in Mexico is booked to the maximum.  The sunny beaches of Mexico are some of the most popular places to go for Spring Break.

The state’s Department of Public Safety issued the warning, urging students to avoid travel to 14 of Mexico’s 31 states, according to The Associated Press. It’s the widest travel advisory issued by the U.S. since 2006.

The Department of Public Safety cites widespread violence as a growing problem, noting that rape is a common problem in resort areas. A popular Mexican vacation destination affected by the warning is Acapulco, where authorities warned Americans not to travel more than two blocks inland, according to ABC News.

The release notes that the State Department currently urges Americans to defer non-essential travel to 14 Mexican states, up from 10 in 2011. McCraw adds:

“The situation in Mexico today is significantly different than it was just a decade ago. Many crimes against Americans in Mexico go unpunished, and we have a responsibility to inform the public about safety and travel risks and threats. Based on the unpredictable nature of cartel violence and other criminal elements, we are urging individuals to avoid travel to Mexico at this time.”

US citizens who travel to Mexico despite the spring break warning are urged to register with their local consulate.

Spring Break is arguably one of the most fun weeks of the semester. Make sure your spring break stays fun.

The proverbial bell rings at the end of the last classes on Friday, and the only thing on everyone’s mind is getting out-of-town.

Thieves are not dumb – they know they will hit the jackpot of empty apartments, dorms and homes during Spring Break. Make sure to double-check all windows and doors are securely locked.

Almost half of all males and more than 40 percent of females reported being drunk to the point of throwing up or passing out at least once during Spring Break, according to a University of Wisconsin study. Everyone wants to have fun during break, but do not become one of these statistics. Watch all of your drinks being made, and do not accept an unopened drink. Keep your drink close to you at all times, and get a new one if you think someone might have tampered with it.

Do not swim if you have been drinking, and stay away from hotel balconies.

Never, ever drink and drive.

Penn State University surveyed 238 college students – one-third reported having sex while on spring break.

Of that third, 58 percent had sex with someone they had met during spring break, with infrequent or no condom use. To avoid having a spring break baby or contracting a non-returnable souvenir, make these safety decisions.

Abstinence is the only way to avoid long-term sexual consequences. When you do have sex, use a condom. Know your sexual limits and communicate them clearly. Use a buddy system. Do not leave your friends to go with someone you have just met, and do not let them leave either. When taking a long road trip, wear a seatbelt, make sure to always have gasoline and alternate drivers so no driver gets too tired. Always carry your ID. Make sure to carry cash in addition to your credit card. It is a good idea to carry a brochure for your hotel if you get drunk, lost or both, so that you can find help getting back to your hotel.

Always have a designated driver

Don’t mix cocktails and steamy hot tubs

Keep an eye on your drink

Stick with your friends

Sun + alcohol = ouch

Depending where you travel to this Spring Break, there may be different risks you may encounter. Have an amazing Spring Break!

365 Day Gratitude Project – Is Your Program or School Interested in Joining?


As many of you know I just completed a 365 Day Adventure / Challenge on December 23, 2011.

I have been thinking about my next 365 Day Project and I believe I have found it.  It needs to be something fun and worthwhile and this morning it came to mind. And I hope you will join me. 

This could be a great project for a program or school. No real tricks here. Just fun for everyone!

This last year has brought many, many changes, challenges and what I had originally perceived as disappointments to my life and there have been days when I was feeling really down. I know I have had days where I have felt incredibly out of sorts with life.

I really wasn’t enjoying myself!

I have kept a gratitude journal, and that is nice, but I need more. Last night I was sitting on my steps out front and watching the sunset and I realized that the little moments are really special and if I do not take the time to notice them they will be lost forever. I don’t have a camera, so I am going to be using my iPhone, or perhaps I will buy a small digital camera. But anything can be used. This is not about photography. This is about gratitude and seeing it each and every day.

Whether I am alone or with someone, here or there, doing nothing or doing something special, healthy or not feeling well, no matter what the weather ….. I am grateful about something or someone each and every day!

I want to take one photo every day for 365 days of something or someone I am grateful for and really re-program my brain and my heart.

I have no doubt, just like with my last challenge, that at times it will seem difficult to keep going for such a long period of time.

However, I lost 60 pounds in a year with my last challenge and I am keeping up with a trainer, eating well, seeing a nutritionist and so forth. It has changed my life!

I can set up a blog or a page on Facebook where we can all share our daily gratitude pictures.

I want to cultivate the feeling of gratitude by practicing silently and by giving thanks for the good every moment I have. Please contact me and let me know your interest.

I have not picked a starting date as yet ….. but it will be soon!

d.frances@me.com

What are Therapeutic Wilderness Programs?


Many social critics argue that today’s youth face more serious and critical risks than any previous generation. Parents are convinced that their children face a major crisis. Most experts will agree that violence in schools, deteriorating family structure, substance abuse, alarming media images, and gang activity put teens at risk. Wilderness programs use physical activity, exposure to the wilderness, and therapy to help participants through what might be considered “a rough patch” in their lives. Unlike juvenile detention centers, most wilderness programs, at least all the ones I recommend, do not use behavior modification strategies. Instead, they are non-confrontational and rely on exposure to nature to teach students about responsibility, reliability and resourcefulness.

Format

In most therapeutic wilderness programs, students join a group and stay in the field for a period of 42 to 74 days. At times it may be longer depending n the needs of the teen. Groups, which typically vary in size from four to 12 members, cook, engage  in activities that match their surroundings and time of year (weather), help with local community needs (when applicable for the student), gather kindling, engage in academics, learn new skills, meet with their therapist, participate in groups, write in their journal and write letters home.  Some programs focus on survival skills, such as making fires, cooking, first aid, minimal impact camping, hiking, route-finding and primitive living. Each participant has a responsibility to the group and themselves. Safety is ensured by expert trained field staff.

Although these programs do not work directly with insurance companies many parents have been successful in getting a portion, if not all, of the costs reimbursed through their insurance company. Upon completion, the program  can break down all therapeutic costs, which include (on the average) individual therapy weekly, group therapy twice weekly, and group processing daily. In addition, they will break down admissions fees, gear fees and residential fees when requested


Participants

Participants in wilderness therapy programs usually fall in the “at-risk youth” category. At-risk teens are in danger of making poor life decisions because of environmental, social, family and behavioral issues. Students are usually between 13 and 17; after that age, parents are no longer legally able to make decisions for their child. There are therapeutic wilderness programs for pre-teens as well as young adults, so everyone can benefit from this experience when needed.

The reasons a child is sent to a therapeutic wilderness program vary, but common issues include adoption struggles, clinical needs, drug and alcohol abuse, family challenges, gang involvement, low self-esteem, prescription drug abuse, running away, stealing, violence, depression, promiscuity, antisocial behavior and poor academic performance.

Theory

By removing children from their comfortable environment and bad influences, a therapeutic wilderness program removes distractions that can hinder insight while in therapy. Students do not have access to cell phones, cars, computers, televisions, their usual friends, family, drugs, or alcohol. They focus on things such as: admitting to what was and has really been going on at hem and in school; behaviors that have caused troubles; academic failure; feelings of depression; eating healthy; making amends with their family; new coping skills; open communication; responsibility for themselves and how their actions affect others. Therapeutic wilderness programs use a “no-resistance” approach, meaning force and confrontation are not used and children must improve based on the natural consequences of their actions.

Students quickly see and feel the impact of their actions.

Therapy

Therapeutic wilderness programs involve several forms of direct and indirect therapy. The experience of being in the wilderness — exposure to unfamiliar settings, learning new skills, and deprivation of normal everyday comfortable items — is itself a major component of therapy. Students work with licensed therapists to finish assignments and work through their problems; therapists do not usually stay with groups, but visit once or twice a week. Many wilderness programs also use less formal forms of group therapy to process lessons, improve communication and air grievances. Therapeutic wilderness programs are clinically driven treatment models.


Wilderness Programs

The Family Solutions Teen Help website has some of the best therapeutic wilderness programs listed.

Many are located in the West, where the expanses of wilderness are used as field areas for groups. Many are located in Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Oregon and Utah.

About the Author

Dore Frances, Ph.D .began her small independent therapeutic consulting practice as an Advocate for children with learning disabilities in Pacific Grove, California in 1988. In her work as a Child Advocate, she became familiar with the processes and strategies families develop to find appropriate educational matches for their children. He written work has appeared in Monterey County Herald, Seventeen Magazine, and numerous other journals. A frequent traveler to all programs and schools she recommends, she also has penned articles about different types of programs. Dr. Frances has a Master’s Degree in Child & Family Studies and a Doctorate of Applied Human Development in Child and Family Development with an emphasis in Diverse Families and a minor in Child Advocacy.

Horizon Family Solutions, LLC commitment to clients.

10 WAYS TO DEAL WITH YOUR DIFFICULT OR NEGATIVE TEEN


10 WAYS TO DEAL WITH YOUR DIFFICULT OR NEGATIVE TEEN

“Judge nothing, you will be happy. Forgive everything, you will be happier. Love everything, you will be happiest.” ~Sri Chinmoy

I love him to death, but it’s draining to talk to him. Every time I talk with my son, I know what I’m in for: a half-hour rant about everything that’s difficult, miserable or unfair. Sometimes he focuses on the people he feels have wronged him (like his mother and I) and other times he explores the general hopelessness of his high school life. He never asks how I am doing, and he rarely listens to what’s going on in our family life for more than two minutes before shifting the focus back to himself. I tell myself I keep making the attempt to connect because I care, but sometimes I wonder if I have ulterior motives–to pump up my ego offering good parental advice, or even to feel better about my own reality of being the head of this family.

I’m no saint, and if there’s one thing I know well, we only do things repeatedly if we believe there’s something in it for us. Even if that something is just to feel needed. Is that what my son is feeling?

I thought about this the other day when a client asked me an interesting question: “How do I offer compassion to my son when he doesn’t seem to deserve it?”

While I believe everyone deserves compassion, I understand this feeling.

One mother spoke to me about her daughter saying she is offensive and emotionally exhausts everyone around her in the family. Is she hateful of her life already at age 16, or is she just terribly depressed? Some teens seem to have boundless negative energy that ends up affecting everyone around them.

How do you interact with negative or difficult teens?

Teens who seem chronically angry, belligerent, indignant, critical, or just plain rude.

When your teen repeatedly drains everyone around them, how do you maintain a sense of compassion without getting sucked into their doom?

And how do you act in a way that doesn’t reinforce their negativity–and maybe even helps them? Here’s what I’ve come up with:

1. Act instead of just reacting.

Oftentimes we wait until our teen gets angry or depressed before we attempt to buoy their spirits. When you know your teen is dealing with difficult feelings or thoughts (as demonstrated in their behavior) don’t wait for a situation to help them create positive feelings. Give them a compliment for something they did well.

Remind them of a moment when they were happy–as in “Remember when you scored that touchdown? That was awesome!” You’re more apt to want to boost them up when they haven’t brought you down. This may help give them a little relief from their pain.

2. Dig deeper, but stay out of the hole.

It’s always easier to offer your teen compassion when you understand where they’re coming from.

However, that can’t completely justify their bad behavior.

When you show negative people you support their choice to behave badly, you give them no real incentive to make a change (which they may actually want deep down).

It may help to repeat this in your head when you deal with them: “I understand your pain. However, I’m most helpful if I don’t feed into it.”

This might help you approach your teen with both firmness and kindness so they don’t bring you or the rest of the family down with them.

3. Disarm their negativity, even if just for now.

You know your angry and depressed teen will rant about life’s injustices as long as you let them. Part of you may feel tempted to play amateur counselor or therapist –get them talking, and then help them reframe situations into a more positive light.

Then remind yourself you can’t change their whole way of being in one minute or perhaps even in one day. They have to want that. You also can’t listen for hours on end, as you’ve done in the past. However, you can listen compassionately for a short while and then help them focus on something positive right now, in this moment. You can ask about any upcoming activities or school events. You can remind them it’s a beautiful day for a bike ride or walk.

Don’t think you can fix your teen.

Just aim to help them now.

4. Don’t take it personally–but know sometimes it is personal.

Conventional wisdom suggests that you should never take things personally when you deal with your angry and negative teen. And yes, I do think it’s a little more complicated than that. You can’t write off everything your teen says about you just because they are being insensitive or tactless.

Even an abrasive teen may have a valid point. Weigh their comments with a willingness to learn. Accept that you don’t deserve the excessive emotions in their condensing tone, but weigh their ideas with a willingness to learn.

Some of the most useful lessons I’ve learned came from caring friends I wished weren’t right.

5. Maintain a positive boundary.

Some people might tell you to visualize a bright white light around you to maintain a positive space when other people enter it with negativity.

This doesn’t actually work for parents and their teens because most parents and teens respond better to ideas in words than visualizations. So tell yourself this, “I can only control the positive space I create around myself.”

Then when you interact with your teen, do two things, in this order of importance:

~ Protect the positive space around yourself. When their negativity is too strong, you need to walk away.

~ Help your teen feel more positive, not act more positive–which is more likely to create the desired result.

6. Maintain the right relationship based on reality as it is.

With your teen you may always be wishing they could be more accepting and more positive. Do you consistently put yourself in situations where you feel bad because you want to help, because you want them to be happy?

Please realize the best you can do is accept them as they are, let them know you believe in their ability to be happy, and then give them space to make the choice. That means gently bringing your conversations to a close after you’ve made an effort to help.

Or cutting short a night and going to your room when you’ve done all you can and it’s draining you. Hopefully your teen will want to change some day. Until then, all you can do is love them, while loving yourself enough to take care of your needs.

7. Question what you’re getting out of it.

We often get something out of relationship, even with our negative teens.

Get real honest with yourself: have you fallen into a caretaker role because it makes you feel needed by your child? Do you have some sort of stake in keeping the things the way they are?

Questioning yourself helps you change the way you respond–which is really all you can control.

You can’t make your teen act, feel, or behave differently.

You can be as kind as possible or as combative as possible, and still not change reality for them. All you can control is what you think and do–and then do your best to help them without hurting yourself.

8. Remember the numbers.

Research shows that all people with negative attitudes have significantly higher rates of disease and stress. Someone’s mental state plays a huge role in their physical health. When your teen is making life difficult for their family and other people around them, you can be sure they’re doing worse for themselves. What a sad reality. That your teen has so much pain inside them they have to act out just to feel some sense of relief–even when that relief comes from getting a rise out of people. When you remember how much your teen is suffering, it’s easier to stay focused on minimizing negativity, as opposed to always defending yourself.

9. Resist the urge to judge or assume.

It’s hard to offer your teen compassion when you assume you have them pegged. He’s a jerk. She’s dissatisfied. He’s rebellious. Even if it seems unlikely they will wake up one day and act differently you need to remember it is possible.

When you think negative thoughts, it comes out in your body language.

Someone prone to negativity may feel all too tempted to mirror that.

Come at them with the positive mindset you wish they had.

Expect the best in them.

You never know when you might be pleasantly surprised.

10. Temper your emotional response.

Negative teens often gravitate toward others who react strongly–people who easily get angered, outraged, or offended. I suspect this gives them a little light in the darkness of their inner world–a sense that they’re not floating alone in their own anger, bewilderment or sadness. Your teen will remember and learn from what you do more than what you say. When you feed into the situation with emotions, you’ll teach them they can depend on you for a reaction. It’s tough not to react because we’re human, but it’s worth practicing. Once you’ve offered a compassionate ear for as long as you can, respond as calmly as possible with a simple line of fact.

When you’re dealing with an angry, confused and rude teen, you may want to change the subject to something unrelated: “Your favorite TV show is on tonight. Planning to watch it?”

You can’t always save your teen.

But you can make their world a better place by working on yourself–by becoming self-aware, tapping into your compassion, and protecting your teen from self-destructing or self-harming.

Dore E. Frances, Ph.D.

Horizon Family Solutions, LLC

The Vive! approach is different


We help families flourish through therapeutic mentoring for young people combined with supportive coaching for their parents. Our mentors and parent coaches wrap support around the whole family, offering experiential, real-time support, where it counts the most—in the family’s own environment rather than in an office or program setting.

Vive supports young people and their families who find themselves struggling with a difficult transition or life event, or who are experiencing mild to moderate emotional issues. Vive clients benefit from personalized support but are not currently in need of residential treatment. At Vive, we believe that young people and their parents need support. For this reason, Vive delivers a powerful combination of mentoring and parent coaching directly to your family where you live, work, play, and go to school. Therapeutic mentors work directly with young people in their real world setting (whether they are living at home, college, or independently) rather than in an office or controlled environment.

Mentors stay connected! They are available not only by appointment but also by email, text message, and telephone for those stray questions, issues, or just to connect. Parent coaches are similarly available to parents in real-time and by appointment to provide practical, compassionate support to parents when it’s needed. Vive’s integrated family services have proven effective for teens, young adults, and parents in all stages of life.

Call us at 1-800-261-0127 for pricing in your area.

Redwood Grove Transitional Systems


Redwood Grove Transitional Systems began working with families in 2006, when our founder, Dr. Tolen, sought a way to help his residential treatment clients return home with minimal chance of relapse.

We have trained therapists across the country to apply our treatment model, and continue to recruit therapists nationwide in order to meet all our clients’ needs.

Our program is a research-based, comprehensive home and community-oriented approach that addresses the complete environment in which the family lives.

We identify barriers on five key scales (personal, family, social, spiritual, and educational) and work directly in the home with our clients, their families, and their extended communities to make positive and long-lasting changes in their lives.

Our program generally lasts from one (1) to three (3) months, depending on the level of service that you choose. We always hope to have a client enroll in our program several weeks before the child is discharged from his/her residential or wilderness program so that our team can make contact with the child and begin to establish a relationship of trust with both him/her and the whole family before the child comes home. However, we understand that the decision to enroll in transitional/ aftercare services may be made late in the residential treatment process and we can achieve that relationship of trust after the child has already gone home, if necessary.

THE OPTIMUM PERFORMANCE INSTITUTE


Young Adult Programs

(888) 558-0617

Borderline Personality Disorder Program – New from OPI!

More Information >

“WE ARE RESOLVED TO PROVIDING THE HIGHEST POSSIBLE QUALITY OF CARE FOR YOUNG ADULTS” – Dr. Robert Fischer M.D.

OPI a small, highly individualized, co-ed transitional young adult program in Southern California.

Our Participants ages 17-28 years old come to us from throughout the world to progress through our highly therapeutic, educational, vocational, recreational and recovery program, find balance in their lives and their place as responsible members of society. As Participants enroll in a nearby junior college or university—or complete high school, get their GED or enter the work force–they receive services ranging from individualized and group therapy, substance abuse counseling when indicated, career counseling, educational tutoring, organizational and Life Skills Training and support to help them set goals and decide what they want to do with their lives.

Bill Lane & Associates


WE specialize in the safe transportation of troubled teens, adolescents and young adults to boarding schools, therapeutic boarding schools, wilderness programs, drug treatment, residential treatment centers and more. 

For more than 30 years, Bill Lane has been involved in the “troubled teen” and therapeutic boarding school industry and has worked with over 10,000 families to provide transportation to all kinds of therapeutic and treatment facilities.

Our experience speaks for itself. Please call. (866) 492-3400


Benchmark Transitions


A Transitional Living Program for the Emerging Adult

Sometimes the process of growing up extends beyond the teenage years, necessitating in a transitional living program.

Benchmark Transitions™ reaches beyond the typical angst-ridden youth, connecting with the twenty-something re-bounding generation of troubled young people who have yet to establish their self-sufficiency.

Benchmark Transitions™ is a comprehensive, multi-disciplinary, residential transitional living program for men and women, ages 18-28.

Our dual-diagnosis model combines clinical treatment, behavioral healthrecovery & aftercare,education & vocationtherapeutic services and life skills in a caring and nurturing environment that fosters self-discovery and autonomy.

Aspiro Wilderness Adventure Therapy Program With an Academic and Clinical Approach


Aspiro Wilderness Adventure Therapy is a premier Youth program for struggling and troubled teens ages 13-18.

Aspiro Group has three separate, licensed programs divided by age, clinical needs and gender – all utilizing the State of Utah’s beautiful countryside for their therapeutic expeditions. The Aspiro Group of programs utilize a hybrid of traditional clinical modalities including: wilderness therapy, adventure therapy, family systems, experiential therapy, and experiential education.

We are dedicated to helping struggling and troubled teens, young adults and their families make lasting, life-long changes in a compassionate, controlled and safe environment. When it comes to your children and their well being, we understand how important the decision is to send your child to a program like ours. We talk to dozens of caring parents just like you everyday. Call us today for a free, no obligation consultation so we can tell you more about our services and why there is HOPE.

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