Parents will also discuss the belief system behind the child’s issues, and a list of prevalent issues will be generated. Questions commonly asked can include:
- Does your child place blame on others? Is it always someone else’s fault?
- Are their issues with the opposite sex? Has their ever been sexual acting out, or inappropriate use of social media?
- Are drugs or alcohol involved?
- How is the child’s school performance?
- Has the child even become violent or aggressive, either verbally or physically?
- Are peer relationships appropriate? Is the child able to make and keep friends?
- Is the child using the computer appropriately or are they addicted to gaming activities?
- Is the child able to accept feedback of redirection?
- Is depression or anxiety a factor? Is the child refusing to go to school?
The results of these questions are critical in determining the best clinical fit, and often are contrary to what a parent might expect. For example, the parent of a teen girl that is boy-crazy, sending provocative photos online and putting herself in dangerous situations may assume a girls-only facility would produce the best results.
Often a co-ed facility is going to produce better outcomes for this particular issue set. This is because the student needs to actually practice interactions with males and create some muscle memory of positive interactions- otherwise the interventions and coping skills learned are all just hypothetical. We would also potentially look for a program with equine therapy for this family, as equine therapy is a way of discussing personal boundaries and boundary safety without bringing people into the conversation. After the child has learned about boundaries, and that all healthy, safe relationships have set boundaries, we can then start discussing relationship with males.
It’s also important to understand the child’s belief system in determining the right fit. For a child that blames others as their go-to coping mechanism, we may need to consider more active participant type programs such as wilderness therapy or a working ranch program. For a child that understands their issues and is ready to work on them, a therapeutic or emotional growth boarding school may be best.
Prevalent issues may also include response to prior treatment, as well as a host of other factors. One outcome from this factor is to generate a list of treatment goals rooted in the child’s current belief system and prevalent issues.
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