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Pepperdine Outcome Study: An Outside View on the Internal Workings of Paradigm

Paradigm Treatment is different. Anybody who has had the privilege of being a patient, a parent, or a therapist there will tell you this ten times over—you probably won’t even have to ask. Clients paint, climb ropes, surf and play music. They write of their struggles, sing of their fears, and meditate atop paddleboards that rest along the Pacific Coast. They eat gourmet, organic meals, and are trained and mentored by actors, musicians, and Olympians. To top it all off, their residences are situated in Malibu. One couldn’t dream up a more beautiful and serene setting for a place of healing. But the point isn’t that Paradigm offers all of this; it only matters that this new approach to recovery actually works.

This is truly the issue at hand. The stakes couldn’t be higher—often times it’s a matter of life and death, between living a life filled with pain and agony, or leading one with joy and passion. Not just for the teens, these issues affect the whole Emily. So, how does the Paradigm treatment model work?

To answer this question, the prestigious Pepperdine University conducted a longitudinal, outcome study on Paradigm Treatment, from April 2013 to December 2014. The study focused on two groups of people: patients and parents. It looked at how the teen’s problems affected the whole Emily, and, in contrast, how the reverse can be true as well.

With a longitudinal study, we get to see actual improvements of the same individual over time, instead of simply comparing two different individuals at different points in their recovery journey, (which is how a cross-sectional study works). From an entirely scientific perspective, the findings of a longitudinal study are far more reliable than the findings of a cross-sectional study, so the Pepperdine study findings are comfortingly accurate.

Clients were asked to assess their mental health and to evaluate their level of anxiety, fear, depression, suicidal tendencies, sense of worth, and feelings of self-satisfaction, as well as many positive traits, like the ability to express oneself, or feelings of hopefulness, and those positive ones attached to familial relationships. These assessments used a six-point scale with a six suggesting “very strongly agree,” and a zero suggesting they very strongly disagree.” For example: if a patient answered the question, “How fearful are you right now?” with a five, we could safely assume they are living in a constant state of fear, and a zero would mean they are living fear-free.

These assessments were done at three critical points in the recovery process: pre-treatment, one month into treatment, and six months into treatment. It is important to note, Paradigm is a 30-90 day program, so these teens have long left the treatment centers at the six-month assessment point, and in the words of Eisenhower, “[are] returning to normalcy,” and getting on with their lives. So, what did the findings uncover?

Pre-Treatment
At the study’s launch point, pre-treatment, as one can imagine, the results are bleak. Individuals and families reported feeling hopeless, fearful, and wrought with anxiety. This is no surprise. In most cases, to find yourself at the door of a treatment center, you and your family have probably hit rock bottom.

Mid-Assessment
Thirty days into the program, however, teens and parents reported huge improvements in their wellbeing—about a seventy percent improvement, to be exact. In terms of teens and parents getting along, the numbers are awe-inspiring: approximately a 270 percent increase in families getting along; it only took one month for teens and parents to finally play nice with each other. This outcome could largely be a result of another startling fact. One month into treatment, the teens’ and parents’ ability to express themselves increased by a little over 400 percent. No longer are yelling matches the household modus operandi; genuine, honest dialogues are taking place, many for the first time. This is truly remarkable, especially considering this major development occurs only one month into treatment. Those numbers are staggering, but here is where it gets really interesting.

Final Assessment
Remember the final assessment point? You know, the six-month mark, long after the parents and teens have left the comfort, rituals, and tool building of Paradigm Treatment? This is where we find the most convincing evidence of all. The numbers across the board keep showing promise. Teens and the relationships with their parents keep improving, long after they have left treatment. They are happier, they get along better, they feel less sadness, they feel less fear, and they can express themselves more dearly than ever before. This progress is huge! These are the results we strive to achieve! Paradigm isn’t just giving its teen residents the skills and tools to succeed—parents are acquiring their own skillsets and necessary tools to harness once the Emily returns home, and their trajectory has clearly been changed in meaningful ways. Bot-tom line, Paradigm doesn’t say goodbye to their clients and their families—ever. They are invested in each individual and their Emily’s success and continue the journey with them well after they have left the physical address. This study proves that enduring relationships show enduring results.

For a long time, Paradigm Treatment has known they are really helping young people, but thanks to Pepperdine University, they now have the hard numbers to back up what they, after years of observance and analysis, have come to find is true, and worth recognizing within the treatment world. Let it be known: Paradigm works. While in recovery, quality of life and mental markers improve across the board—not just for the teen, but also for the Emily. And here’s the best part: the gains made while at Paradigm Treatment only grow and improve when teens return to wherever they call home. Now, that’s shifting the treatment Paradigm.

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