The daily activities in a residential program impact the person a great deal during their stay. Individual counseling, group therapy, and a host of other treatment options help refocus a young person’s mind. These tools also teach them to manage their mental health issues and any accompanying substance abuse problems. While the work done while staying at the residential treatment center is essential, it also sets the tone for either moving into transitional living or returning home.
Transitional Living Can Help Build a Bridge
When adolescents have completed their stay at a residential treatment program, they may opt to move to transitional living before returning home. Transitional living creates a buffer between the daily rigor of inpatient treatment and the freedom of living at home. After all, they have spent weeks or months in a highly structured environment. In most cases, it is not recommended that a young person immediately go back into their old home environment. This gives them time to practice new life skills acquired during treatment and test the waters before heading home.
Typically this type of program continues some treatment elements such as individual or group therapy. It may also offer assistance in finding a job or volunteer work. Often, several people from the program live in a group setting, sharing living quarters and responsibilities like cooking and cleaning. Shared housing with like-minded individuals in the same age group who are also on the path to recovery can help everyone feel understood and stay on target.
Aftercare Options for the Client
When the client returns home and begins to assimilate back into their family and day-to-day life, it’s often helpful to have some form of aftercare plan in place. For the young person, aftercare typically involves private counseling sessions that build on what they learned while in treatment. Group therapy, including 12-step groups, can be beneficial, too. If they are attending school, make sure to speak with a guidance counselor. They may have some advice about the residential treatment that was completed and provide insight into achieving educational goals, including any college plans.
How Aftercare Can Involve the Family
Aftercare at home is a multi-faceted plan that doesn’t just involve things for the child to accomplish. While the young person is away at treatment, the time spent apart can allow family members some breathing room and aid in addressing their own behaviors and thought patterns. By the time the loved one is back home, everyone will have had a break from the previous tension and approach the situation with a clearer head.
Family members can contribute to the child’s well-being in several ways. Family therapy can help parents and siblings understand their loved one’s journey, how they viewed things before they left for treatment, and how they see things now. It can spotlight how each family member might have contributed to or been affected by the hostile family dynamics in play before the person left for treatment. Conversely, it can also help the client try to see how their mental illness and substance abuse have impacted the family unit. When everyone in the immediate family is allowed to step outside their own experiences and emotions and see how others feel, the benefits can help during the aftercare and years to come.
Aftercare that involves the family typically involves the parents helping to hold their child responsible for certain things, such as staying sober. They can also utilize what they’ve learned in family therapy to call out behaviors or an attitude that is a return to old habits, rather than using what they learned in treatment. In return, the child can open a dialogue with their parents when they feel they need more support or a different kind than they are being offered.
The Dangers of Social and Peer Pressure
One of the most significant risks for a teenager who has entered sobriety is the pressure that can come from their peers and social situations. Part of aftercare means the young person needs to be prepared for possible encouragement to drink or use drugs from friends or people they meet in social situations. Having a few prepared things to say or giving themselves permission to leave the house or location they are at can help arm them to say no to an unwise choice. Parents also can be involved in this aspect of aftercare by monitoring their child’s peer group and which activities they are prone to engage in. Setting limits on where they go and with whom, as well as reasonable curfews, afford the child needed guidance and practice adhering to rules that reinforce sobriety as a top goal.
The hard work of residential treatment for adolescents and young adults dealing with mental health issues and addiction can help them a great deal. Still, aftercare is also vital to continue progress once the person returns home. Aftercare may involve transitional living as a step-down procedure. Once the client is back home, aftercare proves essential to the process of managing mental health and staying sober. Things like private counseling, group therapy, 12-step programs, and educational guidance can all help them stay focused. The family also benefits by addressing their own contributions to helping their loved ones and themselves heal. Sustain Recovery understands how to help adolescents while they are in residential treatment and give them the footing to stay on the right path when they leave. Our beautiful California location provides multiple treatment options. Call us today to find out how we can help your loved one and family heal both now and in the future! (949) 407-9052.