Tag Archive: Career

  1. Preparing Young Clients for College and Career

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    Preparing Young Clients for College and CareerMaking decisions about college and career can be difficult enough for students. When you have clients with substance use and mental health disorders, they will often experience more anxiety around making these decisions. How can you help them make these decisions? How can you help them evaluate their interests and strengths and make informed decisions about their futures?

    Turning Dreams Into Reality

    As a child, your client may have had dreams of becoming an astronaut, a rock star, or a ballerina. For most adolescents, their dreams change significantly with their interests. Some teens will still dream big, choosing professions where only the smallest percentage of people find success. Other teens sell themselves short, perhaps choosing careers based on family or cultural stereotypes, but that will not allow them to reach their full potential.

    As you are working with your client with substance use or mental health disorders, you can also discuss their plans for their future. Allow them to share their dreams and allow them to share their plans. When there is an obvious disparity between their dreams and their plans, help them to make their dreams and plans more realistic.

    Honestly Evaluating Strengths

    Adolescents who struggle with mental health typically fall into one of two categories: either they overestimate their abilities or underestimate their abilities. As a professional working with them, you have the opportunity to help them honestly evaluate their strengths and help them find the areas they excel in. No matter who they are or what they may have done in their lives, everyone has strengths. Helping them to realize what these strengths are and be realistic about them can help them make realistic choices about their future.

    Reflecting on Limitations With Love

    Just as everyone has strengths, everyone also has weaknesses. Too many adolescents are acutely aware of their limitations and are too hard on themselves for perceived flaws and weaknesses. As you help them inventory their strengths and weaknesses, be sure to help them inventory with love, both self-love on their part and compassion as a provider on your part. Focusing on strengths rather than disabilities or limitations will be helpful for most clients.

    Overcoming Anxiety Surrounding Decision-Making

    Making decisions can cause anxiety for anyone. The bigger the decision, the greater the anxiety. Imagine, then, being in treatment for addiction and/or mental health issues and trying to make decisions that could affect the rest of your life. That is exactly why anxiety is so real for them, but decision-making does not have to be only about the big picture.

    Instead of focusing on the result in the distant future, help your clients make smaller choices now that keep options open for them in the future. Making decisions that have multiple outcomes allows them to feel that they are not locked into one decision or one future. Help them to realize that each choice they make may have consequences, but there are always other choices to make in the future if they do not like the choices they made in the past.

    Making Realistic Choices

    Part of making good choices is making realistic choices. Making realistic choices includes helping your clients make choices that support their:

    • Mental wellness
    • Future career choices
    • Current financial situations
    • Abilities and strengths
    • Interests and desires

    Being realistic about their recovery and mental wellness, first and foremost, is something you can help them understand. Especially for clients who are new to recovery or recently diagnosed with a mental health diagnosis, you can offer insights into what they can expect going forward day-to-day. Understanding that their lives and functioning may be different now than before treatment will help them make more realistic decisions about their future college and career choices.

    Plans That Allow for Flexibility

    Flexibility is an important life skill that will help your client as they go through life, but especially as they make these decisions about college and career. If they are not sure they want to attend college, encourage them to enroll in a community college. This allows them to still have the option to transfer to a four-year university if they choose to or drop out of college with minimal financial losses if they decide it is not for them.

    Likewise, when choosing a career, they might choose a career path that gives them multiple options for growth, rather than pigeon-holing them into one pathway that they may decide they do not like. Making plans with the most options will give them the most flexibility for their future.

    As you help your clients with addiction and mental health disorders prepare for college and careers, you can help them realistically evaluate their strengths and weaknesses. Anxiety can be lessened as you help them make realistic choices and plans that allow for flexibility in their future. Sustain Recovery strives to help adolescents with addiction and co-occurring mental health diagnoses be well prepared to transition back into life with our extended residential treatment program. This offers clients more options for now and for their future, giving them more time to build a support network before transitioning back home. We offer tutoring and school credit recovery programs so that they will not fall further behind in their education while they are in treatment. We also offer alumni support to help ensure that their recovery continues after treatment. Contact Sustain today at (949) 407-9052 to find out if our program is a good fit for your client.

  2. Helping Your Client Imagine Multiple Choices for Their Futures

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    Young people often have “tunnel vision” when it comes to imagining their futures. They might have seized on an idea of how their lives are going to go. They believe it to be set in stone. They react negatively to any challenge to this, particularly from family members or authority figures. A lack of long-term life experience prevents them from seeing that committing to one plan does not mean they cannot change their minds. 

    Helping adolescent and young adult clients examine multiple choices for their future can have beneficial results. A skilled therapist can help teach them that they are allowed to try on different proverbial hats. Much like shopping for clothes, this process will enable them to see what options fit them the best and which ones to set aside. Once their future horizons expand, they may feel more excited about what’s to come. More choices can also foster a feeling of having more control in their lives.

    Deciding on College Plans Can Take Time

    Some families have “legacy” schools and expect their children to follow in familial footsteps. Parents and grandparents might exert pressure on their children to attend the university many family members previously attended. While educational traditions may be worth following in some families, a child should be allowed to consider all their options. 

    An adolescent or young adult might have chosen what is considered the family’s school of their own accord. While it may be the right choice for them, the rigidity of their choice may make them unable to entertain the idea of reconsidering it. If your client has their mind made up about a particular college or is already attending one, open a discussion about their choice. Questions to ask to get a dialogue going can include:


    • “Did someone else help choose the school for you?”
    • “Would there be blowback from family if you chose a different college?”
    • “What degrees and classes do the school offer that interest you?”
    • “Is the location of the school one of the deciding factors for you?”
    • “Do tuition and housing costs factor into your choice?”
    • “Do you see yourself going on to graduate school?”
    • “If you cannot get into this school, do you have backup choices?”


    Delve Into a Discussion About Career Choices

    Another family legacy that can crop up when a young person plans their future involves career choices. Some people decide on a career fairly early in life. Deciding on a career early in life can be particularly true if pressure comes from within the family to become yet another doctor, lawyer, or another specific profession. While many children walk happily in the footsteps of their family members, some might feel pressured into making that career choice. 

    Open up a dialogue with your client about how they settled on their choice of careers. If they express reticence about the degree they will pursue or are already working towards, let them know that there is room for negotiation. Many people change their college plans, even after they are a year or three into attending school. Adults who are long past obtaining their college diplomas often change careers. Let your client know that it’s okay to make alternative plans if the path they plan to walk becomes questionable.

    For some young people, the problem regarding careers is they don’t yet know what they want to do. Let them know that they don’t have to have a plan set in stone once they turn eighteen. Often a passion presents itself in their teenage years or even later. Help them brainstorm about subjects that interest them. Together you can look for college degrees that will allow them to study that topic and make a living from it. 

    Engaging in Hobbies Helps Provide a Well-Rounded Life

    A young person who has lost a lot of time while gripped by addiction may not have hobbies to turn to. Part of recovery can include looking for fun ways to pass the time. When an activity they are passionate about is in play, it can provide an interesting alternative to relapsing. Ask your client about any past hobbies they had. Gauge their interest in participating in them again once they have entered recovery. 

    If they lack inspiration, discuss what topics they enjoy and how to turn them into hobbies. If a client enjoys a particular sport, see what options there are for participating in it either solo or as part of a team. As society reopens post-pandemic, team sports will become more available. Run through a list of suggestions related to different subjects. See if your client might be interested in something from an artistic field, volunteer work, or activities that involve eye-hand coordination. A bonus for discovering a new hobby they love is that they may turn it into their career. 

    When a young client presents as being stuck in rigid decisions they cannot change, it can make their futures seem bleak. If they cannot make decisions about their future, this can cause anxiety and a fear of failing. Talking to your client about how they can be open to multiple options for college, careers, and hobbies can help motivate them to take charge. Knowing their horizons are limitless can be the knowledge they need to feel powerful. Sustain Recovery helps lead the charge when it comes to teaching young people how to embrace recovery. We also treat co-occurring disorders. Our multiple programs help young people expand their horizons and get excited about their futures. Our picturesque Southern California setting provides a home away from home to start life anew. Call us today for information on how we can help your young clients open up their worlds to an exciting, healthy future! (949) 407-9052

Sustain Recovery changed my life in a way I never considered remotely possible. I arrived in a place where I knew nobody. Sustain Recovery gave me tools so that I never had to be alone again. I learned how to live like an adult and have genuine relationships with other human beings. I gained a sense of self respect, love, and pride from the challenges I was given by staff. I was able to work through the recent loss of my father and I achieved my goal of not taking any psychiatric medication.
I learned that life is an endless balancing act. I have to continually work on myself and my relationships with the people in my life. The staff at Sustain Recovery are all incredibly experienced and spiritual. They were available to me whether I wanted their help or not. Through their efforts and experience, I experienced the inner workings of having an intimate, loving relationship with a loving creator.
Sustain Recovery is “home” for me. I discovered a loving, caring family that helped launch me to a place I would have never dreamed and, if I would have dreamed it, I would never have believed I would be able to accomplish it.

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