1) We Only Treat the Optimal Amount of Youth Per Residence
Common sense dictates that programs who serve lots of adolescents simultaneously have a disadvantage in terms of providing individual care. Well meaning parents often times choose these programs because they are heavily marketed or simply because they are less expensive. Some insurance companies even push these programs for similar reasons. Unfortunately these high volume treatment mills tend to address only the most basic surface behaviors. Time is generally spent with teens engaged in mass-produced curriculum and busy work supervised by paraprofessionals. The end result is that the emotional underpinnings of the behaviors that dictated the need for treatment remain unaddressed. This greatly increases the likelihood that when one negative coping style is extinguished, it will be replaced by another.
You don’t have to be a factory-sized teen rehab to be negatively impacted by the number of youth in a treatment program. Experience has taught us that in larger groups, some youth are more likely to act out to demand attention. This can frequently mean that teens who are more quiet or introverted will have their needs unmet. This is one of many reasons that we have found that serving smaller groups of youth at our multiple residences achieves this optimal range of adolescents to serve at any one time.
2) We Provide the Highest Staff to Client Ratio in the Nation
While it is imperative to maintain a small group size to enhance the effectiveness of treatment, it is equally important to maintain a high staff to client ratio. During our primary treatment hours, our staff to client ratio ranges from 1:1 to 1:4. This prohibits quiet youth from having their needs overshadowed by more gregarious youth who seek out attention. It also keeps teens from simply flying under the radar to avoid the challenges that come with making real, sustainable changes. We are committed to maintaining a high staff to client ratio to insure that all young people get the support and attention required to do the difficult work that teen residential treatment entails.
3) Our Treatment Team is Uniquely Qualified
While we take great pride in many of the features of our treatment program, we are most proud of our treatment team. All members of our team have devoted their careers to the provision of services to adolescents and their families. Many prospective clients are interested to know that the core of our treatment team has been working together for more than fifteen years. This experience allows us to approach the treatment process with the comfort and ease that only comes from working with those who have earned your trust and respect over time. The results are a treatment environment that is uniquely grounded, stable and safe.
4) Our Admissions Screening is Rigorous
While the most important factor to consider when choosing a program is who will be providing treatment, the second most important consideration has to be with whom you, or your loved one, will be in treatment.
Having provided adolescent residential treatment for more than 15 years, we have heard countless stories of parents’ worst fears realized. They send their child to treatment only to have them bullied, abused, or introduced to more destructive behaviors by teens with serious conduct disorders, or emotional health issues.
For this reason, we have rigorous admissions screenings. We do not accept referrals from the Juvenile Justice system, young people who have gang affiliations, histories of violence, fire starters, sexual perpetrators, or any youth who might create issues around the physical or emotional safety of our program. While all young people deserve quality treatment, it is imperative that we protect the milieu for those that we serve.
5) We Treat the Emotional Underpinnings of Problematic Behaviors
At Paradigm Treatment, we believe that the only way to responsibly and effectively treat adolescents is by addressing the emotional underpinnings of problematic behaviors. If a teen is struggling with drug abuse, an eating disorder, self-harm or any other behavioral challenges, these issues are most often negative coping styles in disguise. Teens frequently use drugs or alcohol to self-medicate or engaging in other destructive behaviors to avoid anxiety, depression, or other emotional health issues. Programs that simply focus on behaviors miss an opportunity to treat the real root cause of a young person’s difficulties.
Research has demonstrated definitively that, if you do not treat the root cause of a behavioral issue, the issue will re-emerge after treatment or it will be replaced by a new negative coping style.
6) Comprehensive Diagnostic Testing is Conducted Before Treatment Begins
Upon admission, every individual at Paradigm Treatment receives a comprehensive Psychiatric Evaluation, Psychological Assessment, Medical Evaluation, Educational and Nutritional Assessment. While it would again seem likely that this would be the norm in adolescent treatment, it is not. In fact, there are some teen treatment programs that only consult a psychiatrist, psychologist, or medical professional after weeks have passed and no progress has been made. This wastes valuable treatment time and requires that a young person have an unnecessary experience of failure.
It is our belief that it is impossible to create a meaningful, individualized treatment plan without first conducting such assessments. You have to know what you are treating to do so effectively. Basing treatment exclusively on behaviors, or the most obvious surface issues, is a disservice to everyone involved. It is for this reason that we provide all clients with comprehensive diagnostic testing during their first 48 hours of treatment.
7) We Provide Multimodal Family Services
We recognize that all members of a family bring skills, abilities, and liabilities to any given situation. Paradigm Treatment looks openly at all of these areas to help each family grow, change, cope and make choices. Quality family work is never about placing blame; rather it is about resolving conflicts and finding effective ways for the family unit to help young people achieve their full potential.
To accomplish this, we offer individual family therapy, multi-family therapy, parent effectiveness training, and on-going parent support services. We also host a family day once a week, complete with luncheon. Of course, some family members are unable to participate in aspects of treatment as the result of work commitments, geographic location or other factors. For this reason, we provide services by phone, by tele-health, or other means as needed.
Our team is available to answer questions and provide support to families, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Our family support services are available to those who currently have a loved one in treatment and as an on-going complimentary aftercare service for all program graduates.
8) We Provide Comprehensive Academic Services
At Paradigm Treatment, we are uniquely positioned to help young people meet their academic goals. Upon admission, all youth are provided with an educational assessment designed to identify their academic needs, wants and abilities. Students then join our on-site, accelerated learning classroom, lead by a credentialed teacher. When appropriate, with the permission of parents, the teacher will coordinate with the student’s home school to collect assignments and return the completed work for grading. When required, we can also provide proctored testing. The goal is always to get youth current, or even ahead, in their studies so that when they reintegrate they have one less stressor with which to contend.
The academic needs of students at Paradigm vary greatly. We provide services to youth who excel in school and are enrolled in AP courses and youth who struggle with learning differences. Upon occasion, young people are not even enrolled in a school. In such cases, we can provide opportunities for students to earn transferable high school credits, assist in finding a new school or provide instruction for college entrance exams. Our small size, high staff to client ratio and wealth of resources allow us to meet each client’s unique academic needs.
9) Our Treatment is Intensive
The goal of effective treatment should be to get what you need and then return to life as quickly as possible. Thirty days is widely considered to be the norm for an adolescent’s residential treatment stay.
Unfortunately, there are some providers who will ask that families commit to longer stays before doing any diagnostic testing. There are some who will require that commitment before even meeting the adolescent seeking treatment.
More often than not, programs requiring a minimum stay of 45 days, or longer, are not intensive in nature. A review of their treatment schedule will likely reveal that valuable treatment time is wasted on excessive chores, free community meetings, and other busy work. In such cases, individual therapy may occur only once, or twice weekly. Such an approach has been proven to provide poor long term results.
At Paradigm Treatment, we believe that every moment spent in treatment is precious and should be leveraged for maximum therapeutic value. As such, our schedule is packed with individual and group therapy sessions designed specifically to meet each individual’s treatment goals. While it would be reasonable to anticipate that this would be the norm in adolescent treatment, it unfortunately is not. For example, we are the only adolescent treatment program that provides youth with individual therapy each and every day of treatment.
10) Our Treatment Approach Results in Sustainable Change
To be meaningful and sustainable, changes that occur during the course of treatment must be transferable to life. It is expressly for this reason that we do not use point systems, phase systems, or other outdated forms of behavior modification.
Unfortunately, a stunning number of teen rehabs continue to use these archaic tools as the core of their residential programs. This is sometimes because the providers are unaware that these systems were deemed to have little, if any value as early as the 1970’s. More often, it is because they are unable, or unwilling, to do the deeper more difficult work required to assist teens in achieving real, internalized change. Frankly, there is no easier, cheaper way to provide teen treatment than to use a point or phase system. Quality treatment, however, requires hard work and a much more sophisticated approach.
11) It is Our Job to Motivate Teens
While many young people seek out treatment for themselves, others are pressed into participating by concerned parents or as the result of other external forces. Either circumstance is common. Regardless, some families delay getting treatment because of a popular myth that adolescents need to “hit bottom” before seeking help. This myth is unfortunately re-enforced by treatment providers who do not see motivating youth as their responsibility. The real danger in this is that, for some, the bottom can be serious harm or even death. There is no advantage in letting a young person engage in destructive behaviors one day longer than is necessary. When working with teens, there is also ample evidence to suggest that the earlier a treatment intervention takes place regarding substance abuse, emotional health or behavioral health issues, the greater the likelihood of success. When young people come to us for treatment, it is okay if they are resistant. It is our job to motivate them and to help them find value in both treatment and in approaching their lives differently.
12) Our Treatment is Gender Specific but Not Gender Exclusive
For most teens, gender exclusive treatment is not the best option. Programs that treat only one gender, or who segregate genders, can easily avoid important issues rather than address them. Numerous studies support our belief that it is best to treat young people in a co-gendered setting, as this best reflects real life.
If an issue is going to arise related to how an individual relates to the opposite gender, we want that issue to come up during the course of treatment so that we may address it accordingly. What we want to avoid is creating an artificial, single gender environment in which the teen may thrive – only to return them to a co-gendered world.
With that in mind, there is demonstrated value in providing gender specific treatment, as long as it is provided, in a co-gender setting. As a result, we provide specialized treatment designed to meet the unique needs of young women and young men. The end result should be a young person empowered with the skill and knowledge base required to have appropriate, healthy relationships with persons of both genders.
13) We Empower Teens and Their Families
At Paradigm Treatment we believe that treatment based on empowering our clients is the cornerstone of achieving effective long-lasting results. Too often treatment programs for adolescents are based on rigid directives and the belief that treatment is about breaking young people down. We believe that it is our job to lift our clients up, build on their strengths and help them find real value in approaching their lives differently.
Treatment programs that consist of having young people simply behave as they are told, are missing key opportunities to identify and understand the fundamental issues behind clients’ outward behaviors. Each treatment modality that our client is engaged with are designed to improve a young person’s ability to learn to identify, choose, and direct the course of his or her own lives in a healthy way.
Numerous studies support what we have always known: that real, sustainable, internalized change is best achieved through the empowerment of youth and their families.
14) Our Treatment is Strength- and Interest-Based
Mental health and addiction treatment programs have a long history of focusing on young people’s deficits, problem behaviors and pathologies. The most current research by psychologists, psychiatrists, educators and others clearly demonstrates that a strength based approach can yield dramatically better long term results than those of a deficit-based approach. At the foundation of Paradigm Treatment’s strength based approach is the belief that young people and their families are resilient, competent people who possess unique talents, skills and interests. Building on strengths allows youth to have more frequent opportunities for success. Likewise, we are committed to helping young people find value in approaching their lives differently by pursuing well-being through health, pre-existing interests and through the development of new interests. Such an approach affords the treatment team with opportunities to utilize each adolescent’s natural abilities and attractions as an efficient and effective path for engagement and positive change.
15) We Don’t Engage in “Either/Or” Treatment
There is a popular trend for treatment programs to identify as using a “Disease Model,” aka “12 Step” or a “Medical Model” based on western medicine at the exclusion of social models. While each of these models has helped tens of thousands of people achieve positive results for any number of issues, an honest assessment suggests that each has failed many people too. It is for this reason that we prefer an approach to treatment that provides participants with access to both models and more. Experience has taught us that the greater the number of modalities you have to work with, the greater your odds of finding the right fit for each youth. More often than not, the right fit isn’t any single model. Rather, it is a combination of multiple approaches designed to address each young person’s unique challenges and strengths.
16) Our Treatment is Collaborative in Nature
At Paradigm Treatment, we believe that meaningful treatment requires collaboration. While we provide valuable expertise, we also recognize that young people and their families are most often the best experts on themselves. You know your strengths, interests and challenges. As such, we ask that you be full partners in the creation and implementation of your own individualized treatment plan.
We also welcome the opportunity to collaborate with any therapist or treatment professional with whom a youth may already be engaged. Physicians, teachers, mentors, coaches or any other persons who have a vested interest in the well-being of an adolescent may be involved with the consent of both the teen and their parents. Such collaborations frequently allow us to achieve treatment goals more expeditiously and help to create smoother transitions to post treatment life.
17) Our Treatment is Holistic
“Holistic” is a term that has come to mean many different things to different people. This has not diminished the importance of treating the whole adolescent with specialized concentration in key areas. Our treatment couples the best of traditional modalities and alternative therapies to meet the age specific needs of every teen. Our program is designed to address each individual’s Emotional Health, Physical Health, Family Health, Social Health, Spiritual Health and Educational Needs. Each of these has the ability to impact the other and must be given the full consideration that it deserves. To learn more, we invite you to visit our treatment program page to learn why we are much more than a simple teen rehab.